When he started teaching by the end of the 1970s, there was a kind of split between traditional craftsmanship and (traditionilised) conceptualism at the Academy, and there was little room for individual artistic development.
Both sides took themselves extremely seriously and Giezen, as a newcomer, didn’t seem to fit in very well.
He appealed to the inventiveness and imagination of his students, which was quite unusual at the time (and which is still, or again, a sensitive point at the Royal Academy and in education in general).
He didn’t care very much for technique or aesthetics, contrary to what we had learned so diligently.
“Make a chair!” he told us, for our first assignment.
Students who were all thumbs, like me, were initially shocked, but soon it became clear that it was nowhere necessary at all to construct a piece of furniture.
His ways of seeing and working didn’t influence me immediately, but later on they did so undeniably.
As a teacher he was easy going, accessible, good humoured and never imposing himself as the master who knows all.
That is also how his work looks like.
Giezen was very inquisitive about the playful en inventive aspects of humanity, again, not interested in technique or aesthetics, and extremely uninterested in financial and eternity values.
The small sculpture used to stand in front of the museum’s entrance, but was recently removed to stand more near his fellow sculptures, pointing towards the museum (as can be seen in the last pictures).
Last weekend three-hour sessions were held by different instrumentalists each in one of five different locations, dealing each with one of five so-called mental disorders: ADHD, anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder and autism.
Whether it was percussionist Klára van de Ketterij (ADHD) running around a collection of drums and other percussive instruments, cellist Jan Willem Troost (anxiety disorder) grappling with his instrument and his environment, or electric guitarist Santiago Lascurain (depression) in his bathtub with dirt, they all showed an extremely meticulous dedication to what they were doing within the sheer unbreakable walls of their supposed conditions, for three whole hours.
The performance by clarinettists Enric Sans Morera and Jorge López García (bipolar disorder) and the one by trumpeter Justin Christensen (autism) were even quite similar in ideas of expression: experiments with water and plastic in combination with the unexpected properties of their instruments.
In the case of the depression performance, the expression was almost too literal, with the performer covering himself in black mud, and even while the guitar was only playing a slowly transforming sound by itself, one could call it a melodramatic performance.
In the anxiety act the public was invited to use a triangle now and then, but what influence that had on the performance was hard to see.
Was it an invitation to ease the tensions with the sound of the triangle or an invitation to be cruel to the performer with an unexpected sound?
A confronting perspective is, of course, the fact that sufferers of these so-called disorders have to cope with it every day and night in all circumstances and not just for three hours.
In the mean time one must be completely un-self-reflective or even narcissistic (!!) not to realise that we all have bits of these disorders in ourselves, in spite of the fact that most of us are thought to be ‘normal’.
They do not just confuse our brains, but may also make us cope with confusing or disturbing situations or stimulate dedication and creativity.
The fact that autism can be most associated with all five acts, is maybe because art itself needs complete dedication both to the whole and to the detail and complete surrender to the performance, whether one is making music or a painting or whatever.
As for the five acts, as said they each lasted three hours which is quite a superhuman effort by the performers.
They performed for three hours for four days, and must have practiced and prepared for many hours.
That in itself and the co-operation between the composer, the performers, the five art platforms and everybody technically and psychologically involved is a great job.
In spite of that it should be said that none of the performances were artistically interesting enough to follow for three hours (or maybe that depends on one’s own disorder?).
Also the question asked by the composer “Can we find compassion in order to expand our concept as a society of what is ‘in order’?” may be a relevant question generally, but do these acts stimulate any answers or reflections on the subject?
And if they do, are they doing so implicitly or too explicitly?
Either the question may be too wide-ranging, or the performances need more (yes even more!) aesthetic reflection.
Block of three white plastered houses with apartments in eclectic style, designed by Johannes Petrus Christiaan Swijser (1809-1885), built around 1860, Kazernestraat corner Nieuwe Schoolstraat.
J.P.C. Swijser, who originally started out as a carpenter and a contractor, was a very active architect in The Hague, designing many apartment blocks, villas and schools and also co-designing the royal stables.
Many features of the façade of the block are original, including the doors.