Peter Zwaan, Skins; HOK Gallery, The Hague

There is only one big purpose in nature: staying alive at all cost, even if the time span of life itself may vary from just a few hours to more than a millennium.

The main methods nature uses seem to be coincidence and chance. Everything around us happens to be as it is.

Mind you, if evolution had – again, by chance – taken another route, forced by circumstances, we might have looked and felt quite differently (or we might not have existed at all).

In fact nature’s toolbox gives almost infinite possibilities and variations of how we, living beings, look like and what attracts and repels us to make us mentally function in life.

As human beings we can even play a bit with that toolbox and with artificial materials. Peter Zwaan (1968) makes works that give you an idea of evolution-gone-wrong.

Paper becoming skin, beer cans growing skin with birthmarks and hair or the idea of fish fingers taken quite literally, Zwaan makes it all and shows it in a retrospective at HOK Gallery.

Especially on a hot summer day in the tiny gallery – of barely 120 square feet –,  you may doubt if you smell your own sweat or that of Zwaan’s works.

Zwaan takes the fun quite seriously which makes his works both attractive and repulsive.

After seeing Zwaan’s work, drinking from a beer can won’t be the same experience anymore.

The show also proves that a retrospective doesn’t necessarily need a lot of space and hundreds of works.

Also in that respect HOK gallery and Zwaan have succeeded in making a good and imaginative show.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Content of all photograph courtesy to Peter Zwaan and HOK Gallery, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters



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