The present show at Stichting Ruimtevaart (Space Travel Foundation) is based on an artistic conversation of four artists who met each other in 1973 at the former Vrije Academie (Free Academy) in The Hague.
By that time the Vrije Academie was the more progressive institution, compared to the then quite conservative Royal Academy (KABK) of The Hague.
However, there is no place for nostalgia in the show.
Each artist has his/her own way of working and thinking and in fact, their works have nothing to do with each other.
In spite of or maybe even due to that, it has become a very accessible exhibition.
I leave you here with a few aspects of the exhibition without comments, as i’ve written already extensively about the show in VLR; and, of course, with the strong recommendation to go and see the show for yourself.
Although the reasons for its closure are understandable, the fact itself is disturbing as it is not the first high quality art gallery in The Hague that ceases to exist. During the last few years Twelve Twelve Gallery, A Gallery Named Sue and Galerie Nouvelles Images also stopped, which is quite a loss for the extremely important diversity of what this city has on offer artistically.
Of course i wish all the former gallerists the best and i still hope to see more of the works by the artists they represented but the artistic impoverishment is quite saddening. As for Hoorn & Reniers: it represented quite young artists, especially painters both Dutch and from the German speaking countries, which was an enormous enrichment of the international scope of The Hague.
What remains is to be very grateful for what the gentlemen presented in their gallery.
Thirteen artists who graduated this year from different departments of the Royal Academy in The Hague (KABK) are exhibiting their work at Haagse Kunstkring (HKK).
They were free to make their own exhibition co-operatively and (as it looks like) in full respect for each other’s work.
It has become a well staged, even quite coherent show.
That in itself is quite surprising considering the very personal content of some the works.
The works on show vary from the relatively simple intervention by Maja Pop Trajkova, which creates, amongst others, a special space for Katarina Juričić’s work, to the sophisticated machinery by Louis Braddock Clarke of which, admittedly, i personally understand not even half, but which gives listening to the world quite another dimension.
Two artists are as lucky as to have a single space for their own.
Catherine Ostraya has the rarely used attic to show her performance (as i was a bit early only a countdown for the action was on show) and Linhuei Chen has the gallery’s kitchen and part of the staircase where she gives a compelling account of the constantly changing position of an artist and a mother raising a family in a foreign country.
Technically speaking the back space of the gallery is probably the most challenging as it contains more or less monumental and very different works by four artists.
There are the stereoscopic encounters with nature by Sophia Wester, the colourful altars for the feminine by Pien Kars, the omnipresence of the giant hogweed by Erik van Schaften and the cyanotypes (a technique which seems to gain popularity again amongst artists) of plastic waste from the sea by Suzette Bousema.
Of course all four works have something to do with nature and archaeology but still the results are quite distinct.
The combination is however quite successful.
One could even claim the works by both Filippo Maria Ciriani and Stella Hyunji Kim are about archaeology, the first photographing the small mining town of Kelmis in German speaking eastern Belgium (just south of Dutch Vaals) and its surroundings, a mining place where they are prospecting again for riches, and the latter looking for what seemingly destructive burning can in fact recreate out of what we once owned.
Both Huaxin Zhang and Moe Kim are trying to create a new kind of authenticity, Zhang extracting a kind of softness from local carpentry in textile, and Moe Kim in a more individual way with her familiarity with artificial light of the high tech world she is used to, processed in textile.
I didn’t visit the show with the intention to make a report about it, but the young artists made such a wonderful effort that i couldn’t resist showing you some aspects; if you want to see the real thing however, you have to hurry, as next Sunday is the last day of the show (it was opened yesterday).
Surely it is a cliché to say life is a mystery and that we don’t live long enough to solve it.
However, assuming that life is indeed a mystery, the most mysterious part of it is undoubtedly us, the human race itself.
We imagine ourselves to be free, but in the mean time we have our rituals and our ways of thinking to try and guarantee us that freedom, while at the same time we are caught by time, space and life itself and all its limitations.
Dirk Zoete (1969), who presently shows his work at Galerie Maurits van de Laar, shows the human being in its restricted life, as it puts on a mask of culture and character, as if to mislead anything that could have power over it, including other human beings.
Imagine you enter the gallery and they are silently trying to defuse you.
How would you react?
I’d strongly give you the advise to give it a try and to see how much you have in common with them!
Some artists of the gallery were invited to make a temporary monumental work on the walls.
Near the windows Bob Bonies (1937) made an apparently simple, but in fact quite sophisticated work, while Ien Lucas (1955) made such an unobtrusive work on the opposite wall, that one would almost think it is a common feature of the gallery.