The exhibition lets the works speak for themselves without bothering much about names and titles (so i stick to that same principle in this case), but to regular visitors they will be recognisable or even familiar.
In the mean time i hope to see and hear more of future initiatives by LhGWR, maybe even in this village of pomp and rubbish.
According to the exhibition text the cardinal question is “How can we analyze mechanisms of power and abuse both from the past and the present, towards the future?”
As usual the way to find an answer is more interesting than the answer itself.
It results in an interesting exhibition with works varying from very expressive to very hermetic.
The works by the Koreans reflect, as far as it is manifest, on the victim role of Korean women during the Japanese occupation and the Korean War.
With such a heavy and still open historic trauma it is probably difficult not to reflect on.
As such the danger is that too little attention is given to the present position of women in war, or even at war, and to a diversion from the victimhood that is too narrow a focus to assess the role of women (or others) in war.
Most works are interesting, but some need more explanation.
For instance, the untitled video work by Min Cheol-hong looks quite wonderful but what is the connection with the issue?
Even one of the most beautiful works in the show, Bouquet of Memories by Kim Su-hyang, surely has more to say than just itself.
The Russian-born French sculptor Ossip Zadkine (1888/90-1967) has a special relationship with the Netherlands, in particular with Rotterdam, where his monument The Destroyed City, placed in 1953, became the ultimate modernist war monument (click here to see some pictures of the monument in situ).
Zadkine is clearly the proverbial artist of the second quarter of the 20th century with a lot of expressionism and cubism and a touch of Modigliani in his portraits.
As such he was an inventive craftsman and a prolific artist, and there is a lot to be admired in the show.
However, his prolific output also makes his work a bit predictable which becomes clear in this exhibition of one hundred works (!), crammed into this otherwise very spacious museum.
The presentation is more or less chronological in a kind of makeshift galleries and more loosely arranged in the left over open space, an approach that tries to bring some order in this forest of sculptures.
As such the presentation lacks good sightlines which might have expressed the special qualities of certain works in dialogue with each other.
What lyrical power the individual works may have, is destroyed by this massive, wholesale approach.
However, for the aficionados who just want to see a lot of Zadkine this is probably their best chance.
Probably the best word to describe the works of the present exhibition at Maurits van de Laar’s Gallery is ‘awkward,’ but in a very positive way.
One could also define it as radical theatricality; the crumpling of her subjects by Marjolijn van der Meij (1970), the exaggeration of her scenes by Shary Boyle (1972), the intensifying of the interaction between her actors by Susanna Inglada (1983) and the firm anachronising of the present day and the First World War by Cedric ter Bals (1990).
In the front gallery especially Van der Meij steals the show with her crumpled Arcadian kitsch presented on shiny silk, extremely over-the-top in a way that it becomes extremely down-to-earth again.
In the lower part of the gallery Ter Bals makes a colourful carnival of death, destruction and reincarnation.
Office building Casuariestraat corner Bleijenburg.
Built during the first half of the 1970s, it is a typical example of modernist property development architecture.
It is anonymous and simple in its concept, not designed for a certain public function, but as a skeleton to earn money with.
In spite of that there is a quaint kind of elegance in the façade with its regular relief-like vertical ribs.
It’s a pity the surface of the concrete has got a tan; originally whitish grey, now it is like essentialist modernity’s old age (also with the somehow very postmodern quasi-old fashioned lanterns, placed more recently on the pavement).