Jean van Wijk and Rien Monshouwer, Le Détour; Kadmium, Delft

Rien Monshouwer

Rien Monshouwer (1947) and Jean van Wijk (1953), two old hands in the trade from The Hague, exhibit at Kadmium gallery in Delft.

Rien Monshouwer
Rien Monshouwer
Jean van Wijk

Near the place where William I of Orange (1533-1584) unwillingly left a hole in the wall and in time, Monshouwer and Van Wijk are also creating space and time but, happily, they are still actively doing so.

Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk

Monshouwer shows paintings, text drawings and a small sculpture.

Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk

The sobriety of his work is in stark contrast with the sheer inexhaustible array of objects, computer prints and installations by Van Wijk.

Jean van Wijk
Rien Monshouwer
Rien Monshouwer

While Monshouwer’s abstractions reflect on the social and aesthetic implications and relics of modernism in urban housing, Van Wijk’s work drags you into the space in between the walls, inside and outside, freely narrowing or widening the gap as it pleases.

Rien Monshouwer

Rien Monshouwer
Rien Monshouwer

It is as if space itself re-imposes its rule over architecture and the landscape, creating a kind of architecture of the vacuum.

Rien Monshouwer
Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk

While Van Wijk corrupts every sense of measurement and as such invents new shapes for space, Monshouwer re-assesses the world of modern urban measurement and the abstract remnants it leaves in the mind as a remembrance of the ideals of modernism in the microcosm of the city.

Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk

Not without a tour de force these seemingly incompatible spirits are drawn together in the exhibition, challenging the viewer.

Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk

Quite successfully so, as both seem to reinforce each other’s qualities.

Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk

Although it’s wonderful to see works by both artists in Delft, it is a bit strange that they are not household names in The Hague itself.

Rien Monshouwer

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all pictures courtesy to the artists and Kadmium, Delft

Bertus Pieters

 

VILLA NEXT DOOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADVERTISING ON THIS PAGE!!

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Studio visit #7: Pim Piët

It was already quite some time ago that Pim Piët (1954) and i agreed to meet in his studio. We often meet at exhibitions here in town.

It is quite difficult not to meet at any vernissage in The Hague as we are both always eager to know what is going on and what is on show.

Last winter he had a presentation at De Spanjaardshof, the building where he and many others have their studios. It was a small (the space itself isn’t that big) but impressive installation with painting, panels creating alternative, more intimate space, a standing bell and sound.

It was a tranquil and reflective installation, great to see and experience during those dark winter days.

Others might have made it into a woolly, quasi-mystical scene, but that is far from what Piët aims at. For a long time he has been using words in his paintings, often just single words.

Words don’t just have a meaning, they also have a shape. The shape intermingles with the meaning and both define his paintings.

A bit like words defining a poem and its shape.

Of course colour is also a defining factor in his paintings. As for the sound, there has been a good co-operation between him and composer Anna Mikhailova(1984) for the last few years.

Piët’s word paintings, often rhythmic, have a quality that allows, even welcomes music and sound, not just for a background but as an equal partner.

As such his co-operation with Mikhailova has proven to be a very fruitful one. Mikhailova in turn has a very good feeling for what Piët wants in his pictures.

Maybe surprisingly, when we saw each other in his studio we hardly talked about his individual works.

We did talk about the marvellous light in the studio, about the general conditions for making art and about different tendencies in making exhibitions, but i guess his works, covering the walls and part of the floor, quite spoke for themselves. Piët’s work is, as it is for almost all artists, a labour of love.

Labour was one of the aspects of life we discussed.

As for many artists Piët has earned a living with other, non-artistic labour. He purposely didn’t choose for a more ambitious or intellectual job, he needs his intellectual capacities for his art work. On the other hand even the most unintellectual jobs need a sense of purpose and dedication if they are really useful.

We agreed however that even this sense of purpose and dedication is denied to workers these days as efficiency is aiming at higher profits to generate more money for shareholders instead of aiming at a better and meaningful life for workers and a better service to the public.

One can even see it in the way young artists have to work in this country.

We were discussing this with Piët’s wonderful works around us and his materials and books as witnesses of what purpose and dedication can really bring in life.

For those who fear we ended on a bit of a pessimistic note: we didn’t. I think for both of us seeing and making art is too fascinating to become pessimistic about.

As to me it was a very inspiring afternoon. Thank you Pim!

© Villa Next Door 2019

Content of all photographs courtesy to Pim Piët.

Bertus Pieters

 

VILLA NEXT DOOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADVERTISING ON THIS PAGE!!

Façades of The Hague #89

Façade of a block of apartments, Valkenboskade. Due to the Industrial Revolution the number of inhabitants of The Hague in 1913 had tripled since 1875. Areas of polder and geest were bought from The Hague’s then southern neighbour Loosduinen, which were later annexed by The Hague.

Valkenboskade is in that area and these houses were built just before the First World War. They were designed for the middle classes. This façade has exceptionally refined modernist ornamentation. It must have looked very modern for its time.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017

Bertus Pieters

 

Façades of The Hague from #72 onwards: https://villanextdoor2.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/

Façades of The Hague #1 – 71: https://villanextdoor.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/

Studio Visit #6: Melle de Boer

 

Last Monday i visited Melle de Boer (1972) in his studio in Billytown. I had seen pictures of his latest paintings on facebook and i was eager to see the real thing.

It took some time but at last we met and we spent the afternoon talking about art and – of course – about painting.

De Boer took up painting again last autumn. You may know him, apart from his great work as a songwriter and singer, as a wonderful draughtsman.

In his drawings his lines are self confident on one hand but on the other hand always in search of the unexpected.

They are cartoonlike. The figures, signs and sometimes the words always find their own way in the white space of the paper following their own logic, and they often have a somewhat surrealist sense of humour.

Why he has taken up painting again, he told me, was, as i interpret it, more or less a matter of soul searching.

The way he uses the figurative in his drawings, using humour as part of his way of expression, could also be interpreted as a way of hiding from what keeps him really artistically busy in his mind. Also, painting is technically more of a challenge and it offers you more of a struggle, both technically, artistically and mentally.

He decided to paint non-figurative representations, so as to be busy with the material, the composition and its expression, free of any interpretation of recognisable shapes or situations, free from references to the real world, not to be distracted

We agreed painting is difficult. As soon as you start painting there is a heavy weight of traditions on your back and shoulders which you have to bare, ignoring it, condemning it, admiring it. But the main point is: there is the paint itself.

Apart from the colours it can be glossy or matte, it can be transparent or opaque, it can be thick or thin, it can be exciting or just bland, it can surprise you or it can be terribly unsurprising.

Finding a balance is a matter of a lot of trying and not being afraid. One’s biggest mistake may turn into one’s most brilliant idea and the other way round.

Brilliant ideas are to be mistrusted when painting anyway. We also agreed that there is no way of being totally abstract or non-referential.

After all, even a simple geometric shape like a square has a meaning in one way or another. We looked at some works he has been busy on. We talked about the monumentality of smaller and bigger paintings.

One greyish painting has, in red, the name of Georg Trakl, the great pre-WWI Austrian poet of whose work De Boer is a great admirer.

Simply describing it, it is a grey painting with some blackish lobes and of course that name written in red, but when you walk around it, you see the different structures of the paint, the ideas proposed, rejected and becoming part of the painting. Any painting artist may recognise these aspects and they keep on fascinating both maker and viewer.

The main problem in painting (as it is in art in general) remains how to surprise oneself without imposing one’s will on the painting or one’s own mind.

De Boer is too much of an artist not to have himself surprised. His hand, like in his drawings, does not shy away and is always in search of the unexpected.

The paintings show a world full of tension, a clash of positive and negative, toughness and sillyness. Personally i can’t wait to see his paintings shining in a show. It would be a new chapter in De Boer’s work (as it already is).

And there is of course also Henk & Melle’s new cd We Are All Rockstars, a title that says it all. Thanks Melle, it was an inspiring afternoon!

© Villa Next Door 2019

Content of all photographs courtesy to Melle de Boer.

Bertus Pieters

 

VILLA NEXT DOOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADVERTISING ON THIS PAGE!!

Liao Zhixin, After Translation; SinArts Gallery, The Hague

I went to SinArts Gallery to see Liao Zhixin’s  (1990) present exhibition After Translation to write a review for Villa La Repubblica. Click here to read the review (in Dutch).

As i have written quite extensively about this show in VLR, i leave you here just with some impressions without comments, of course with the recommendation to go and see it all for yourself. It is this show’s last week!

A hole in the wall connects you to another exhibition elsewhere. However,when i visited that place was closed, so, alas, there was nothing to be seen

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Liao Zhixin and to SinArts Gallery, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

 

VILLA NEXT DOOR 2 IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADVERTISING ON THIS PAGE!!

Lennart Lahuis, Le Mal du Pays; Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague

I went to Dürst Britt & Mayhew to see Lennart Lahuis’ (1986) present exhibition Le Mal du Pays to write a review for Villa La Repubblica. Click here to read the review (in Dutch).

As i have written quite extensively about this show in VLR, i leave you here just with some impressions without comments, of course with the recommendation to go and see it all for yourself.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Lennart Lahuis and to Dürst Britt & Mayhew, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

 

VILLA NEXT DOOR 2 IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADVERTISING ON THIS PAGE!!

Façades of The Hague #88

How do you design a villa? “Well, you add some balconies, some dormers, even two quasi-medieval lancet windows, a turret, and… oh well, they say it shouldn’t be too expensive; right, then we make the sides very boring indeed, after all, it’s the façade that counts!”

That is what the architect of this villa with five apartments in Nieuwe Parklaan must have thought. The building is traceable back to the 1930s.

Some important details that gave some unity to the whole façade have been changed: the pointed gable on the left and the balcony had no boarding (they used to be brick features). The Roman arched windows top right were originally open and part of a balcony (quite a specific detail of the façade).

Details of the windows have been changed as well, making them probably more practical but less elegant. On the whole, the little style the façade had, has been removed by now.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017

Bertus Pieters

 

Façades of The Hague from #72 onwards: https://villanextdoor2.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/

Façades of The Hague #1 – 71: https://villanextdoor.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/

Less and More

As you may have noticed, reporting in Villa Next Door has become less frequent. That has two main reasons. The first is that i’m concentrating more on writing (in Dutch) these days, as i feel not enough is written about art. Writing, to me, has proven to be a more creative process. Alternating with viewing art it deepens my understanding of what i see, and not just in art. I hope, of course, that reading will stimulate the same process with you. However, writing costs time. The second reason is that reporting by camera about exhibitions in (and sometimes outside) The Hague is one thing, but Villa Next Door is a one man’s business. I must admit it’s nice to show on a blog something of my excitement while seeing exhibitions, but processing all the pictures for Villa Next Door is, although a critical, not a very creative process, which, even so, costs a lot of time. So there will be less Villa Next Door and more Villa La Repubblica the coming time. I apologise to my non-Dutch readers for that. The good news is that Villa Next Door will be continued though less regularly and, as to the artists and gallerists, even less democratically.

© Villa Next Door 2019

 

Bertus Pieters

https://villalarepubblica.wordpress.com/