Art in corona times #17. Danielle Dean, Continental Private Road; 1646, The Hague

To be honest i was disappointed about Danielle Dean’s  present show at 1646. A reason may be that Dean couldn’t be present to build up the show, as would have been usual under ‘normal’ circumstances, or that my expectations were too high. Also the works on show looked somehow unfinished.

They have at least the potential to generate more meaning. In the front room of the gallery Dean shows some work about Fordlândia, the disastrous, devastating and ill-fated project by the Ford company in the Brazilian Amazon jungle in order to break the British monopoly of world rubber trade in the 1920s. She combines that story of violent racism and imperialism with the working conditions of the present day company.

However, the different components of the work fail to become more than just an illustration of the story. The front gallery also shows advertising for the Lincoln Continental car of 1965, a model produced by the Ford company. It shows the car parked in front of some supposedly private woodland where the owner of the Lincoln is checking her mailbox.

The same woodland, without the car, the lady and the letterbox, but with the private road sign, is the starting point for an animation in the main gallery space. That animation is visually the most interesting part of the show. Important is of course the detail of the private road sign.

However, imaginative and haunting as the animation is, one cannot see much more than a somewhat Jungian dream-like situation in it. Do go and take a look for yourself, as you may feel  differently about the show.

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© Villa Next Door 2020

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Danielle Dean and 1646, Den Haag.

Bertus Pieters


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