Art in corona times 69. Cecilia Vissers, Far North; Galerie Helder, The Hague

Presently Cecilia Vissers has a solo exhibition at Helder in The Hague (your last chance to see it is over this weekend!).

Her work is a mix of regularity and intuition, of soft curves and cool metals, of both the force of nature and the preciseness of letters or hieroglyphs.

Just like hieroglyphs her works may consist of only one piece or of more parts.

Whether a single piece work or a combination, her works indeed have the obviousness of a word, in spite of the limited number of shapes she works with.

There is however more to them.

They are not just shapes, they are objects with a surface, such that they will only fully reveal their meanings when you slowly move along them or when the daylight itself slowly moves.

In the present exhibition she shows works of anodised aluminium – in which the aluminium may turn orange –, of hot rolled steel, and prints made of metal shapes, in which – like in a wood block – the surface plays a strong role.

Still the idea of a word, a statement of civilisation within nature, dependent on both light and metal, makes these precise works very precious.

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© Villa Next Door 2021

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Cecilia Vissers and Galerie Helder, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

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Art in corona times 68. Zhang Shujian, Face; PARTS-Project, The Hague

Visiting the exhibition Face with works by Zhang Shujian (1987) at PARTS-Project i decided to write an article about it for Villa La Repubblica. Click here to read the article (in Dutch).

As i have written quite extensively in VLR about the show, i leave you here with some more pictures and some details, which can be seen as additional to the VLR article.

Click here to read the article in Villa La Repubblica (in Dutch)

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© Villa Next Door 2021

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Zhang Shujiang, CLC Gallery Venture, Beijing, owners of the works and PARTS-Project, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

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Façades of The Hague #131

Façade of a house with apartments, Dunne Bierkade.

Originally built around 1700 it has undergone some changes which have given it today’s stylistically rather odd facade, with a plastered top-floor and its remarkable window frames.

© Villa Next Door 2021

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/

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Art in corona times 67. Nour-Eddine Jarram, The Wait; Galerie Maurits van de Laar, The Hague

Dreams are usually deceptive and aspirations may be dashed by changing perspectives.

As such we are all in the same shaky boat, wherever your roots lie.

Another thing is that we are all shaped by our experiences, which give us a wide pallet of remembrances, feelings, emotions and ideas.

However, one can’t simply expect that everybody is able or willing to share this wide range of experiences.

It is almost impossible to give answers to questions like: how did it smell in your school, how did the sun burn on your skin in summer or, more horrible, what was it you felt would be lost when you nearly drowned in the sea?

Still, all these unknown experiences shape the most inner self and the way they are shaped are dependent on even earlier experiences and the culture with which one has learned to cope with them and give meaning to them.

All that makes a person and stays within him or her.

It seems Nour-Eddine Jarram (1956) in his present show at Galerie Maurits van de Laar tries to show different aspects of this process of shaping the self.

It is an exhibition full of drama.

Especially where Jarram reflects on migration to Europe, where he doesn’t really pay attention to the human suffering, but rather to how people survive by who and what they are.

It is however not all about these stories of misfortune, he also shows a variety of people who try to pretend and others who can’t pretend, and still others who are forced to pretend.

In the mean time ideas and spirituality roam in between, as if to show that the pictures are visions of spirituality rather than everyday reality, albeit in the tiny far-off shape of a shark’s dorsal fin.  

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© Villa Next Door 2021

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Nour-Eddine Jarram and Galerie Maurits van de Laar, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

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Art in corona times 66. Harry Markusse, Berliner Luft; Daniele Galliano, Bella mostra; Livingstone Gallery, The Hague

Harry Markusse

On Livingstone Gallery’s ground floor are at the moment two very different shows.

Harry Markusse
Harry Markusse

One is with works by Harry Markusse (1990) recently made on the occasion of his stay at Livingstone’s residence in Berlin.

Harry Markusse

It must have been a very special experience to be in Berlin during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Harry Markusse

It inspired him to make works with wavy patterns.

Harry Markusse

He usually works improvising on the canvas, which results in two kinds of works, more or less structural works with two colours, and compositions with specific point and counterpoint in its volumes.

Harry Markusse

As afterthoughts there are parts of discarded but reworked works collected as a kind of in-depth collages in plastic boxes.

Harry Markusse

Altogether this looks like an interesting, almost frivolous, development in Markusse’s work, which was usually lively anyway, but also with straight lines, sharp edges and sharp corners.

Daniele Galliano

In the other exhibition space Daniele Galliano (1961) shows amongst others this marvellous work called Zombie (Morti viventi); a work made before the Corona crisis, but one would almost think it is foretelling something of its atmosphere.

Daniele Galliano

There are recent and older works by Galliano on show.

Daniele Galliano

There is a strong sense of both remembrance and of a kind of parallel world in his works.

Daniele Galliano

This parallel world shows a kind of ghost-like alternative for what can be perceived as reality.

Daniele Galliano

Sometimes quite subtle, sometimes quite less so.

Daniele Galliano
Daniele Galliano

It is as if he works with a camera which obstinately but intriguingly  changes the picture, showing the spirits of things and people.

Daniele Galliano

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© Villa Next Door 2021

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Harry Markusse, Daniele Galliano and Livingstone Gallery, Den Haagt

Bertus Pieters

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Art in corona times 65. Yuk Kan Yeung & Antonius Nijssen, Verstilling (Stillness) – The Bliss of Solitude; Kadmium, Delft

Yuk Kan Yeung

There is a ‘soft’ emancipation going on in works by artists from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Chinese diaspora.

Yuk Kan Yeung
Yuk Kan Yeung

Of course this is not about the big investors’ art, but about ‘smaller’ art which tries to reshape its Chineseness in dialogue with the rest of the cultural world, with the strong conviction that neither tradition alone, nor radical rejection of it will bring something original.

Yuk Kan Yeung
Yuk Kan Yeung

Yuk Kan Yeung’s (1959) works are wonderful examples of that idea.

Yuk Kan Yeung
Yuk Kan Yeung
Yuk Kan Yeung

In the case of Yeung the use of porcelain and calligraphy may seem obvious for an artist with Chinese roots.

Yuk Kan Yeung
Yuk Kan Yeung

However, folding the very delicate porcelain into something characteristic without the idea of making a vase, a plate or a cup, and using calligraphy to let the porcelain breathe, so to speak, is quite a different story.

Yuk Kan Yeung
Yuk Kan Yeung

Presently Yeung shows porcelain objects and works on paper at Kadmium in a duo show with works by Antonius Nijssen (1955-2018).

Yuk Kan Yeung
Antonius Nijssen

His works may be described as geometric abstract.

Antonius Nijssen
Antonius Nijssen

One might even think about the so-called North Atlantic light, once observed by Willem de Kooning who had seen that light from both sides of the Ocean. However, Nijssen was quite a different painter.

Antonius Nijssen
Antonius Nijssen
Antonius Nijssen

Amongst others he has made some very interesting objects/paintings, with right angles in them.

Antonius Nijssen
Antonius Nijssen

In these works Nijssen makes the colours shine to compete with the shapes and shadows.

Antonius Nijssen
Antonius Nijssen

He seems to be less delicate with colours in these objects than in some of his ‘normal’ paintings, making them bright and playful but also reflective.

Antonius Nijssen
Antonius Nijssen

Being lucky to have had a private view of this – indeed – quiet exhibition, i hope Kadmium (closed at the moment because of Covid-19 restrictions) will be open to the public again soon.

Antonius Nijssen

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© Villa Next Door 2021

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Yuk Kan Yeung, the estate of Antonius Nijssen and Kadmium, Delft

Bertus Pieters

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Façades of The Hague #130

Due to a navigational mistake and bad weather the British RAF bombed residential areas and the northern entrance of the city centre of The Hague on 3 March 1945, just two months before the end of the German occupation..

It was hard for a city that had just survived one of its cruellest winters in terms of sheer cold and hunger.

Many lost their homes and the city centre itself lost part of one of its poshest streets, Korte Voorhout  

In fact the whole plot in between Korte Voorhout, Schouwburgstraat, Casuariestraat and Prinsessegracht was damaged and partly in ruins.

It is characteristic for a small city like The Hague that they were the ruins and damaged buildings of a court of justice, a theatre, a church, a jail, the Royal Dutch Automobile Club (KNAC) and a clinic, amongst others.

After the war the government wanted to have a new ministry, preferably a double one, of Justice and Finance, but decision making was stalled.

Only in the 1970s the present Ministry of Finance (Ministerie van Financiën) was built.

The huge building can be seen as symbolic for the power of the Ministry of Finance within the government.

More than ever it became clear that any political idea had a price tag, especially when society became socio-economically more and more sophisticated.

The building was designed by state architect Jo Vegter (1906-1982; who was not just responsible for modernist building but also for the restoration of quite a few old Frisian churches) and his assistant Mart Bolten (1916-2002) in strikingly modern brutalist style.

When in 1977 i went to study at the Royal Academy, just a few steps away from the Ministry, it was still a remarkably forbidding concrete palace.

The outlook of the concrete itself was only softened a bit by the prints of wood structure in it.

It was the impressive fortification of the state’s financial power.

Any Minister of Finance residing in that building must have had the idea of being a king in both a palace and a fortification.

In fact the inside of the building was a lot softer than that.

As art students we could see that, when the ministry offered rooms to show some of our graduation works, as the Royal Academy had a notorious lack of space at the time.

Enlightened civil servants would walk around amongst the works of these students who were training for a financially completely irresponsible future.

I’m not quite sure if the civil servants were really interested, but to them it was undoubtedly a nice diversion just before the summer break.

Coming to think of it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if the Ministry would again give some space to students, who, for instance, would like to graduate with a performance or something like that.

Preferably with participation (obligatory!) of the audience.  (Surely, it would be beneficial to the dialogue between art and society if students were able to show their works in both public and private institutions and in public space around the Royal Academy. But that’s probably easier said than done)

Although the building had a very modernist outlook, it was technically outdated within a few decades.

There were no double glazed windows and the whole inner climate had to be completely renewed to make the building more cost-effective.

The normal Dutch reflex in such cases is to abandon the building, keep the workers in a temporary but even worse place for years, and make plans to build a new and far more prestigious architectural colossus somewhere else.

Usually, making plans will cost quite a while, sometimes years, but in case of this building it was decided it was to be refurbished, and reused.

The uniqueness of the building played a role in that decision too.

It was decided that the original design would be maintained.

However, a lot of postmodern glass was used to give the building a more open character.

Also the courtyard has been opened to the public.

Redesigning was done by Meyer and Van Schooten architects.

The official entrance at Korte Voorhout has been made more welcoming with colours by monumental artist Jan van der Ploeg (1959).

But don’t be mistaken: any political novelty may fall when civil servants in this palace strongly advise their minister that costs and benefits of the idea are not at all in balance, if the minister didn’t already have that idea.

After all, the philosophy is still that money should be spent on those who have the power to spend a lot themselves, while some drops of their honey will then trickle down to those living in the mud.

However, with different social and political crises at the same time, and a review of the Dutch civil service, that might become less normal than it sounds. Let’s hope so, or at least, let’s hope for the better.

© Villa Next Door 2021

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/

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Art in corona times 64. Ton van Kints & André Kruysen, What’s on; Galerie Ramakers, The Hague

Ton van Kints

Galerie Ramakers presently shows works by Ton van Kints (1955) and André Kruysen (1967). In Villa La Repubblica i wrote an article about one of the sculptures on show by Kruysen, Click here to read the article (in Dutch).

André Kruysen
Ton van Kints

Kruysen shows new works.

André Kruysen
André Kruysen

As i’ve written quite extensively about one of the presented sculptures by Kruysen in VLR, i leave you here with some pictures of the other works on show.

André Kruysen
André Kruysen

For one reason or another the works by Kruysen fit very well with Van Kints’s.  

André Kruysen
Ton van Kints

Works by both artists show a craftsmanship with a kind of what-you-see-is-what-you-get mentality.

André Kruysen
André Kruysen

However, what you get are not just the materials but also the ideas and the individual characters of the works.

Ton van Kints
Ton van Kints

With both artists this creates a kind of tension between the pragmatism of their practice and the eloquence of the characters they create.

Ton van Kints
Ton van Kints

Van Kints shows the sequel to his so called 1+1 series in which he has piled up older works to make new ones. 

André Kruysen
André Kruysen

The way he piles them up differs per work, rendering new characters.

André Kruysen
André Kruysen, Ton van Kints

Sometimes they work as reliefs, sometimes they are more fully fledged pieces of sculpture.

Ton van Kints
Ton van Kints

In the sequel he has added bee-queen cells (which are usually built by bees on the lower edges of their combs), as Van Kints has become a keen beekeeper.

Ton van Kints, André Kruysen
Ton van Kints

This adds an interesting new element to the new series.

Ton van Kints
Ton van Kints

The combs are extremely small pieces of natural architecture.

Ton van Kints
Ton van Kints

As such they fit in very well with the works, at the same time they are a kind of foreign body, as if the works have been colonised.  

Ton van Kints
Ton van Kints

For those who find visiting galleries is still a bit risky under the present circumstances, i added a few more pictures than i would usually do.

Ton van Kints
André Kruysen

Still i recommend wholeheartedly to go and see these works for youself.

André Kruysen
André Kruysen

Click here to read the article about André Kruysen’s work in Villa La Repubblica (in Dutch)

André Kruysen

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© Villa Next Door 2021

Contents of all photographs courtesy to the artists and Galerie Ramakers, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

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Art in corona times 63. Marcel Wesdorp, Wandering in a Digital Adventure; Galerie Helder, The Hague

With this monumental, vast turquoise print Marcel Wesdorp arguably made one of his most tender works so far.

He has turned one of the most merciless interventions of nature, crudely appropriated by man, into an almost hallucinating ocean of mystery and oblivion.

This one and other recent works by Wesdorp are presently on show along older works at Galerie Helder.

He leads the viewer from algorithmic landscapes to compositions made with satellite recordings.

A tireless seeker for the sublime, Wesdorp uses the most advanced digital means, where others would use these techniques only for rational data.

As such he combines the wonders of the world with the wonders of the mind.

It is a small show, but a good medicine against the narrow-mindedness of these days.

However, you have to hurry as next Saturday will be the last day of the exhibition.

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© Villa Next Door 2021

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Marcel Wesdorp and Galerie Helder, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

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Art in corona times 62. Oskar Nilsson & Han Qin, Spirited Away; SinArts Gallery, The Hague

Oskar Nilsson

Swedish artist Oskar Nilsson used to make works drenched in death and the macabre.

Oskar Nilsson

It is as if somebody or something told him to cut it all, as now his works look like sweet dreams.

Oskar Nilsson

It is a matter of from being over the top on the dark side to being over the top on the sunny side.

Oskar Nilsson

What remains is a fairytale-like atmosphere where little white ghosts – apparently in love – sit on cut off tree trunks amid fragrant flowers bending in the wind.

Oskar Nilsson

It is all so sweet that it is almost too eerie in its own right.

Han Qin

At SinArts Gallery – in an exchange with Galerie With Tsjalling in Groningen – Nilsson’s work is coupled with works on paper by Han Qin, a Chinese artist living in France.

Han Qin

At first sight the works of the two artists go well together in their colourfulness.

Han Qin

However, Han Qin’s works appear to be more diverse both in what they look like and in their underlying meanings and emotions.

Han Qin

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© Villa Next Door 2021

Contents of all photographs courtesy to the artists, SinArts Gallery, Den Haag and Galerie With Tsjalling, Groningen

Bertus Pieters

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