Stille, stomme getuigen… (Silent, dumb witnesses..,), A Gallery Named Sue, The Hague

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I was greeted by this lion carrying a sansevieria, made by Ignace Cami, when I visited the exhibition Stille, stomme getuigen… (Silent, Dumb Witnesses…) at A Gallery Named Sue, to write a review for the Villa La Repubblica blog. The exhibition is part of the show Vormidable, also on show at Lange Voorhout (see pictures here) and Museum Beelden aan Zee, with works by Flemish sculptors.

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The works are all very much suited to be shown in the intimate setting of the gallery apartment, like this film installation by Ruben Bellinkx about four turtles who are each tied to a leg of the same table and make the table move, in that way showing a moving sculpture and a special experience of it.

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Jonas Vansteenkiste shows the dangers of the security of dream houses and

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a heap of houses also seem to be fit to light the fire in the hearth.

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Anton Cotteleer (who also showed work in The Hague last year, as you can see here) is well represented in this exhibition, amongst others by this

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goose keeper, or rather goose holder which

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seems to be falling on a table, dashing all hopes for an agreeable decoration.

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An earlier work by Cotteleer is about the dubious kitsch that

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embellishes Flemish lives, which he presents in almost postmodern museum-like way.

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The intimacy of the gallery strongly adds to the appearance of the works and

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even the Karel Appel (a kind of surprise combination the gallery is very good at) on the wall might make you feel at home in an art loving place. But

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next to that colourful painting is a building by Vansteenkiste which seems to be multiplying like a diatom and

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there are two heads on a table by Cotteleer, decorative and colourful like the painting, or

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are they?

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Cami uses two sansevieria leaves for a kind of fossilised crusaders’ sword, mixing typically west-European (or Flemish) heraldry with more petty-bourgeois Flemish symbolism.

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Passing the jackdaw by Dutch artist Noortje Zijlstra (one of the gallery’s artists) i was leaving this very well arranged and somewhat absurdist exhibition

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greeted again by Cami’s failed-heroic Flemish lion and Flemish sansevieria (very Flemish but both deriving from Africa).

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

See more pictures and the full review (in Dutch) here.

Bertus Pieters

Vormidable, Contemporary Flemish Sculpture, Lange Voorhout and Kloosterkerk, The Hague

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The present edition of the annual sculpture exhibition (under the auspices of Museum Beelden aan Zee) at the Lange Voorhout is a far better one than those of the last few years, in spite of it looking quite modest. The theme is sculptures from the Dutch speaking part of Belgium and it’s titled Vormidable (don’t mind the Dutch pun; vorm = form, shape).

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There is a good variety of different aspects which seem to add to each other without giving the idea of a showcase of different and unrelated things. That’s quite an achievement, regarding the restricted possibilities for a sculpture show in this most lofty avenue.

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On one end the exhibition opens (or ends) with a guardian angel by Johan Tahon. As with some other works of Tahon the angel is double headed. One could say that shows the split of each human being in a material and a spiritual personality. Tahon’s spirituality

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is followed by representation in Wesley Meuris’ Entrance Kit for Sculpture Garden III. The information panel says: “Meuris’s intention is to show

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that the link between past and present has been lost.” I think the opposite might as well be true, but it is undoubtedly a work in its proper place.

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Sofie Muller’s Jesse might easily become one of the audience’s darlings. And in this case darlings shouldn’t be killed.

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The boy with his trace of flowering begonias may even remind you of Hansel (from Gretel) who left a trace of pebbles to find his way home.

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Leon Vranken deconstructed a decorated pedestal with wood

V 09 Leon Vranken

which may remind you of the transience of all seemingly stable things. And then,

V 10 Luk Van Soom
V 11 Luk Van Soom

far from the sea, there is Luk Van Soom’s high wave, both beautiful and dangerous.

V 12 Luk Van Soom
V 13 Luk Van Soom

Now it becomes clear why we need Tahon’s guardian angel.

V 14 Fred Eerdekens

Fred Eerdekens’ Landscape seems to be a bit

V 15 Fred Eerdekens

out of place at the Lange Voorhout in the shade of the green trees.

V 16 Tinka Pittoors
V 17 Tinka Pittoors

Tinka Pittoors’ White Migrant (Harry) seems to be a bit out of place here too.

V 18 Leo Copers
V 19 Leo Copers

For those who want to repent publicly there is Leo Copers’ VIPAG (Vrijwillige Individuele Publieke Automatische Gevangenis,

V 20 Leo Copers
V 21 Leo Copers

Voluntary Individual Public Automatic Jail). I haven’t seen anybody jailing him or herself publicly yet, but

V 22 Leo Copers
V 23 Leo Copers

the idea itself is a wonderful work about the absurdity of morals in our times of blaming and shaming.

V 24 Philip Aguirre y Otegui
V 25 Philip Aguirre y Otegui
V 26 Philip Aguirre y Otegui

Probably not accidentally near the prison is a fallen dictator by Philip Aguirre y Otegui. The dictator wasn’t on a very high plinth, so as a symbol of fallen power the sculpture is quite obscure.

V 27 Philip Aguirre y Otegui
V 28 Philip Aguirre y Otegui

Also obscure is his anonymity, one could think of any leader of the present or the past seeking the pinnacle of the lowest in human character.

V 29 Renato Nicolodi

Next to the dictator appropriately stands Scrinium 01 by Renato Nicolodi, an architectural model that

V 30 Renato Nicolodi

may remind you of the cold sternness of dictatorial architectural aesthetics of the 20th century.

V 31 Peter De Cupere
V 32 Peter De Cupere

According to the accompanying text the smell around Peter De Cupere’s Earth Car should remind us of the smell of the Tuscan countryside (more on Peter de Cupere on VND here) .

V 33 Peter De Cupere
V 34 Peter De Cupere

Well, it isn’t really an advertorial for Tuscany; the smell is almost sickening. But for the remainder it is again an installation in the best absurdist traditions (which is of course positive).

V 35 Caroline Coolen
V 36 Caroline Coolen

There is a sense of absurdity in Caroline Coolen’s Shepherd too (more on Caroline Coolen on VND here and on Villa La Repubblica here). The shepherd may remind you of the idealized shepherds of the 18th century in a time when high culture stood far from nature and reality,

V 37 Caroline Coolen

his fragmented state working both humorous and painful and his fragmented dog underscoring his predicament (according to the information panel it is a fox that could be a victim or a culprit). Another work by

V 38 Caroline Coolen
V 39 Caroline Coolen
V 40 Caroline Coolen
V 41 Caroline Coolen

Coolen is also fragmented and seems to be caught in a whirlwind, almost complementing Van Soom’s baroque high wave.

V 42 Peter Rogiers
V 43 Peter Rogiers
V 44 Peter Rogiers

Absurdism remains prevalent in Silver Cakespoons by Peter Rogiers. Few sculptures are as appropriate for this site as this strangely balancing tree.

V 45 Nick Ervinck
V 46 Nick Ervinck

LUIZAERC by Nick Ervinck was designed on a computer and printed with a 3D printer. Although the making process of a work like this is interesting (and i’m sure we’ll see a lot more 3D printing in future sculpture)

V 47 Nick Ervinck

the result isn’t much more than a big plasma-like doodle got out of hand and the opposition with the decorated pedestal is nice but nothing special.

V 48 Johan Creten

It is back to the sea again with Johan Creten’s humanized ray Octo in which different aspects are combined: the official monument on a pedestal, the showing of stuffed animals from the sea, the

V 49 Johan Creten
V 50 Johan Creten

idea of a sea monster, the upright stance of a human being, the human portrait, the dull lustre of a ray’s egg washed ashore and the patina of bronze.

V 51 Johan Creten
V 52 Johan Creten
V 53 Johan Creten

Creten is also responsible for Le grand vivisecteur, an owl with a seat which is an instantaneous public favourite and a good end to a well balanced public exhibition.

V 54 Johan Tahon
V 55 Johan Tahon
V 56 Johan Tahon
V 57 Johan Tahon
V 58 Johan Tahon

For those who are present before 4 pm there is more to be seen by Johan Tahon in the Kloosterkerk.

V 59 Johan Tahon
V 60 Johan Tahon
V 61 Johan Tahon
V 62 Johan Tahon
V 63 Johan Tahon

As you can see, Tahon’s sculptures are quite photogenic in the church.

V 64 Johan Tahon

There is also a video where you can see Tahon at work and where he is interviewed.

“I’ve got almost none of my own sculptures”

V 65 Johan Tahon

“I do have them in plaster, but i have no bronze casts of my own work”

V 66 Johan Tahon

“That’s all in rich people’s homes”

V 67 Johan Tahon

“I can’t afford having my own works in bronze”

V 68 Johan Tahon

“Which is a pity really”

V 69
(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

Grandeur, Contemporary sculpture from France; Lange Voorhout, The Hague

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Claes Oldenburg made monumental pieces of junk food in the nineteen sixties. Hamburgers, hotdogs, ice-cream, you name it, he made it. Vincent Olinet works a bit in the same vein.

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Olinet’s work must be popular. Who doesn’t like the riches of a royal cake?

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But it must be a bit of a joke, opening the parade of French sculpture on the Lange Voorhout under the banner of Grandeur. Well, it would have been a real joke if all the Lange Voorhout was full of birthday cakes, on the pavements, on the lawns etc.

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P1017940 Emmanuelle Lainë (2)

P1017940 Emmanuelle Lainë (3)

P1017940 Emmanuelle Lainë (4)

What kind of sculpture is this? Well, any object can be a sculpture. But this is meant to be two photographs of two installations by Emmanuelle Lainé. Nice, but what is it doing here?

P1017951 Yushin U Chang

P1017951 Yushin U Chang (2)

P1017951 Yushin U Chang (3)

Fine discrete work made on the spot by Yushin U Chang.

P1017960  Emmanuelle Lainé

P1017960  Emmanuelle Lainé (2)

Happily there is also a real and fine sculpture by Lainé on show, adjusted to the local context.

P1017968 Bruno Peinado

Bruno Peinado’s Sans titre / Globule Ubiquity Vibrations (Why do artists give a work a title while it has no title?) is quite nice at night, but by daytime it’s a bit of a dull affair.

P1017972 Bruno Peinado

Another Sans titre with a title, even with a pun in the title.

P1017982 Laurent Le Deunff

P1017982 Laurent Le Deunff (2)

P1017982 Laurent Le Deunff (3)

P1017982 Laurent Le Deunff (4)

P1017982 Laurent Le Deunff (5)

These Mattresses by Laurent Le Deunff are really interesting, but again, what are they doing here? They’re not given the opportunity to surprise.

P1017991 Guillaume Castel

P1017999 Guillaume Castel

Works by Guillaume Castel.

 

P1018009 Marie-Hélène Richard (2)

P1018009 Marie-Hélène Richard (3)

Marie-Hélène Richard made an in itself quite unobtrusive work on the spot. By giving it this special attention it becomes part of this parade of articles. While it could have played a role of quietly being there in combination with other works.

P1018009 Cyrille André

P1018018 Cyrille André (2)

P1018018 Cyrille André (3)

P1018018 Cyrille André (4)

P1018018 Cyrille André (5)

P1018018 Cyrille André (6)

Cyrille André, a sculptor of figures and animals presents us with a falconer and his eagle and with five more eagles. “André examines in this work the complex relationship between mankind and nature (…)” says the information panel. What if André just likes sculpting eagles?

P1018036 Vincent Ganivet (2)

P1018036 Vincent Ganivet (3)

P1018036 Vincent Ganivet (4)

P1018036 Vincent Ganivet (5)

P1018036 Vincent Ganivet (6)

Interesting work by Vincent Ganivet and

P1018045 Julien Prévieux

a more or less minimalist work by Julien Prévieux, which in fact is less minimalist than it looks like.

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Stéphanie Cherpin shows two interesting works.

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Vincent Mauger.

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The more you are near the other end of the parade the more monumental the works become. Hanging sculpture by Samuel Yal.

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Next time, Lilian Bourgeat, make some furniture where people can actually sit on! (But i like the shadows it’s casting…)

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Adel Abdessemed’s Headbutt (or maybe rather Zidane’s Headbutt?) is the opening work at the other side of Lange Voorhout, and as such the pendant of the strawberry cake by Olinet. It is popular amongst soccer fans and tourists alike and it’s big, so it’s probably in the right place. But

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in the mean time the question is if the concept of these annual presentations

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should be changed. Apart from the fact that i fail to understand what

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is so French about this and what it has to do with Grandeur, the

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simple parade of artistic objects, where every sculpture has its own domain, with

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information panels, which invite to read and learn the interpretation of the curators,

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is, to say the least, a bit boring. Why not make it more adventurous

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and integrate the works of art more with the whole Lange Voorhout and with each other?

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Why not surprise people and let them discover things, instead of having them

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reading information panels? Sculptures, some of them quite interesting in themselves, become harmless

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items in a parade of French artistic produce. Why are the works showcased like in a huge

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trade fair in a way that consumers can make their own choice, while

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reading the advertising texts of the curators? Sculpture is not a choice, sculpture is a fact…

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters