New Territory; Kasper Sonne at West gallery, The Hague

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I visited Kasper Sonne’s exhibition New Territory shortly after its opening at Gallery West.

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But as West’s own professional photographer happened to make pictures at that moment,

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it wasn’t a good idea to make pictures myself.

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So i had a short look around and

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promised to return later.

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As it happened, circumstances made it quite some time later.

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But happily it was just as interesting as it promised to be when visiting the first time.

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The exhibition tries to show, or to make happen the new territory of the mind that evolves when opposites meet and defy each other’s logic.

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The stones you see, are lava stones, coming from the depths of Mother Earth, but they are painted with spray paint.

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The two big white canvasses in the front room of the gallery, two artificial constructs, ready to be interpreted as something cultural and artistic, were burnt; one of the basic natural ways of destruction.

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Something comparable was made to happen with two blue paintings and acid. Strictly speaking these works are neither art nor something natural.

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But showing them in a “clean” way in this gallery forces the visitor to a new mindset, or a New Territory.

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Where two different logics are combined,

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the absurd is never far away

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That was already clear in the video with the carpet cleaner, in fact a loop taken from a commercial, and the noise, which doesn’t come from the cleaner.

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But in the side room Sonne shows three video’s, two of them with texts only.

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It’s Hegel’s dialectics.

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But if art turns into philosophy, it is an absurd philosophy.

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While in the middle video a perfect sphere falls and breaks into splinters.

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Hidden behind a veil is something very different:

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a work by Vincent Ganivet.

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He made a sculpture for the Grandeur exhibition at the Lange Voorhout and took the opportunity to make a small work for West.

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No glue or mortar were used in making this charming little sculpture.

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But back to Sonne.

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The stones are in all rooms of the gallery and together they are one work (Vulcan).

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As such these stones are probably visually his strongest work. Parts of the inner Earth, usually haphazardly strewn about the earth, they are now

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carefully arranged in a clean gallery, in a way that they direct your movements in the rooms and determine the way you are looking at the things around you.

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It’s New Territory.

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(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bertus Pieters

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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