Ingrid Simons, Dämmerung (Twilight); Livingstone Gallery, The Hague

Ingrid Simons (1976) presently shows paintings at Livingstone Gallery.

She mainly paints landscapes.

Although the landscape seems to be just a vehicle for expressive painting with sometimes heavy impasto in abstract compositions, she retains the depth of a landscape in her works.

She is especially fascinated by the blue hour just before sunrise and the twilight after sunset.

At the gallery is also a new book for sale about her work, with a text by amongst others Rick Vercauteren and an introduction by yours truly.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Ingrid Simons and Livingstone Gallery, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters


Klaas Gubbels, Tafels, Tables, Tische, Tavoli; Livingstone Gallery, The Hague

The still-life has always been a genre of thought and reflection.

Klaas Gubbels, at 85, shows some works at Livingstone Gallery in which especially the table, the base of many a still-life, plays an important role.

The different parts of his still-lives make an abstract composition on one hand, but also become new characters on the other hand.

It all depends on the way he paints them.

The way of painting – the brushwork, the colours, the proportions – always dictates the compositions and the meaning.

In the end these are not just depictions of tables and what may be on and around them, they are abstract works of painterly thought.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Klaas Gubbels and Livingstone Gallery, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

Jeroen Eisinga, Expeditie Eisinga; Electriciteitsfabriek, The Hague

Nightfall (2018)

For those who missed it (and for those who didn’t) here are some pictures of Expeditie Eisinga (Eisinga Expedition) in the Electriciteitsfabriek (the Power Plant).

Any work shown in this impressive industrial building has to compete with it.

So, works shown in this building – which is still waiting for the artist who is able to tackle its demanding and overwhelming character – must be monumental and must preferably move and make, if possible, some noise.


Six works by Jeroen Eisinga (1966) were indeed competing with the Carceri-like experience of the old power plant.

Sehnsucht (2002)

Little else can be said than that his last work Nightfall, which got the main stage, is indeed a masterpiece.

The video, lasting nearly an hour and screened more than life size, gives a bitterly cold impression of sheep in a snow storm at an ice hole with dead sheep.


At the same time it is a very recognisable scene of mourning and consolation.

Personally i was very much moved by it.

Gerdinand & Corline (1996)
Gerdinand & Corline
Gerdinand & Corline
Gerdinand & Corline
Gerdinand & Corline
Nightfall and Gerdinand & Corline
Gerdinand & Corline

Four other great films were shown in the main hall of the building, two of them, Gerdinand & Corline and The Sixth Sense, from the 1990s, with less concentration on just one scene.


As a scene, Sehsucht (Desire) showing the decay of a dead zebra, is not that original (a decomposing zebra was already shown in Peter Greenaway’s 1985 film A Zed & Two Noughts), but the setting on a black and white chequered floor, its successive sequences from three positions, and the relatively ‘slow’ movement of the film make it quite special.

The Sixth Sense (1994)
The Sixth Sense
The Sixth Sense
Springtime (2010-11)
Nightfall, Springtime and The Sixth Sense

Of course Eisinga’s famous bees movie Springtime was there as well.

Soysambu (2002-19)

The colour movie Soysambu was shown in a smaller room and has quite a different character.


It is more or less the ‘making of’ movie of Sehsucht and is as such the most controversial film of the six, with a bewildering mix of European and African sentiments ending with the almost ritual burning of the zebra carcass; but it is also a film about Europeans in Africa, busy with logistics, money, technique doing something while Africans are helping.


But helping what?


Still, watching  the whole film, it turns from a documentary to a more moving level, just by documenting.

Nightfall and Springtime

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all the photographs courtesy to Jeroen Eisinga and the Electriciteitsfabriek, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

Towards the end of a break

Hendrick ter Brugghen, Fluteplayer, 1621

Dear Villa watchers/readers, i decided to extend my holidays as the weather is improving a bit and i must say i like the feeling of not being pressed.

Orazio Gentileschi, Judith, a Servant and Holofernes’ Head, 1620s

What does your editor do when not visiting art exhibitions?

Simon Vouet, David & Goliath, around 1621

Well, visiting art exhibitions, i guess.

Caravaggio, Medusa, 1598/9

There were and are some interesting shows these days.

Valentin de Boulogne, TheCrowning with Thorns, 1620s

In England the brexit crisis is quickly gaining momentum, in this country a narcissistic  appendix has won the elections, but in the mean time i saw more important things.

Spadarino, Christ showing his Wounds, 1625/35

Not in the least in the Centraal Museum in Utrecht where i visited the much touted exhibition Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe. I am usually not an enthusiastic visitor of the Centraal Museum as i always find it a bit gloomy and depressing, in spite of its interesting collections.

Orazio Gentileschi, The Crowning with Thorns, 1610/15

Happily the caravaggists exhibition had nothing of that spirit.

Gerard van Honthorst, The Liberation of St peter, 1616/18

Great painting was presented in a grand way.

Medieval reliquary

As i had some time left in Utrecht i also visited the exhibition of the Münster Cathedral Treasure at Museum Catharijneconvent.

Medieval reliquary
Medieval reliquary

Highlight was the collection of medieval gold and silver reliquaries which were very well presented, although i must admit i am not a great fan of gold and silver objects, but it is the medieval awe and wonder these objects evoke i am really interested in.

Cornelis van Cleve, Mary with Child, mid 16th century
Rembrandt van Rijn, The Baptism of the Man from Ethiopia, 1628

The museum also tries to profit a bit from the upcoming Rembrandt mania this year by showing some smaller works from its own collection by masters from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, amongst which a very early work by the master himself.

Henrick Douwerman, St. Christopher, around 1525
Anonymous, Theodosia Altar, around 1545, Gueldres
Anonymous, Christ and his Disciples in the Garden of Getsemane, around 1440, probably Worms
Anonymous, Christ and his Disciples in the Garden of Getsemane, around 1440, probably Worms
Anonymous, St. John under the Cross, around 1200, Meuse region
Anonymous, St. Lambert Triptych, 1470/80, Utrecht
Anonymous, St. Lambert Triptych, 1470/80, Utrecht

The presentation of its own collection of medieval objects is probably the best one can think of, with some great pieces, including the loan from the Parisian Musée du Moyen Âge, the 15th century Saint Lambert triptych.

King and former general Horemheb and the god Horus (14th century BC)
The goddess Sekhmet of both disease and healing (14h century BC)
Feet of a lost sculpture (around 600 BC)
Small statue (around 600 BC)
Detail of a mummy coffin (700-300 BC)

A lover of Old Egyptian art and aesthetics, i visited the Gods of Egypt exhibition at the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden.

Ptahmose, vizier of Amenhotep III, 14th century BC (relief from the 13th century BC)

However, the educational aspect and the presentation of the objects and statues were so uninspiring that i preferred a stroll around the museum’s own Egyptian collection.

Wall of the chapel of the tomb of Hetepherachty (around 2400 BC)
Wall of the chapel of the tomb of Hetepherachty (around 2400 BC)

Even so i have my doubts about the presentations of these antiquities.

Donkeys on a threshing floor (around 2400 VC)
King Horemheb and his wife (1335-1320 BC)

What does the museum want? Does it want to show the aesthetics of the objects? Does it want to tell their stories? Does it want to be educational?

Canope (jar with intestines of the deceased; 14th century BC)
Queen Hatshepsut’s royal steward Senemut and Princess Neferure (1479-1458 BC)

I am sure it wants all of that at the same time, but there is a kind of scientific objectiveness in the presentation that seems to deny the aesthetic specificity of these objects and their different contexts (both the archaeological, the historical and the present day).

Holidays 033 Egypt
Probably Queen Nefertiti (around 1340 BC)

Generally, how true is the story that Old Egypt was the great ancestor of our own present-day Western culture and that it should be appropriated as such? Why are antiquities other than Egyptian, Greek and Roman stored in another museum in Leiden? And how does this idea affect the quasi-objective presentation of the museum?

In between i visited Rotterdam Zoo, designed by Sybold van Ravesteyn (1889-1983) it was built around 1940.

Sumatran tiger

It still contains many buildings and decorations of Van Ravesteyn’s design in which modernism and neoclassicism were combined.

Sacred ibis
Spotted hyena
Reticulated giraf
Pelicans in the rain

While the former Rotterdam zoo was only open to a small elite, the then new zoo opened to the general public, so the people had to be uplifted with both science, mildly modern neoclassical architecture and art.

Later on i visited Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle to see the exhibition Freedom , an exhibition compiled by critic and art historian Hans den Hartog Jager with fifty works by fifty Dutch artists of the last fifty years. There is more to be said about this interesting show, so i’ll reserve that for a more elaborate review in Villa La Repubblica (in Dutch) later next month. The building itself has been expanded with a strange and somewhat disturbing tumour on its roof.

Part of ‘The Unexpected Return of Blinky Palermo from the Tropics’ by the artists’ collective Seymour Likely

Apart from being remarkable from the outside, from the inside it has created a lot of unpractical and intrusive space. But then, of course, the swelling has to elevate Zwolle far above its provincial roots. And naturally one can make a striking exhibition even in a murky shed.

‘Peanut Butter Floor’ by Wim T. Schipper

Alas, that didn’t happen at the Stedelijk Museum in Schiedam in the exhibition Manzoni in Holland.

‘This Way Brouwn’ by Stanley Brouwn

One can regard Piero Manzoni’s (1933-1963) tins with the artist’s shit as reliquaries just as the medieval reliquaries at Museum Catharijneconvent, but in Schiedam the museum doesn’t succeed in evoking the special euphoria of Manzoni’s time.

Cylinders containing lines of deifferent lengths by Piero Manzoni

The exhibition has the atmosphere of a musty antique shop, it is an auction of grandfather’s estate.

‘No. 7’ by Heinz Mack

The novelty of Manzoni’s works and his contemporaries doesn’t come to life and any link with present day Dutch art seems to have been avoided at all cost.

Detail of an Achrome by Piero Manzoni

Such while this period has had an enormous effect on Dutch art making and appreciation today.

‘Lichtballet’ (Light Ballet) by Otto Piene

Manzoni in Holland is nothing more than nostalgia, a missed opportunity.

‘Fabricator’ by Marisa Rappard
‘Nameless Streets #1’ by Lennart Lahuis
‘Undressed Days’ by Femmy Otten

More interesting were the presentations of new acquisitions and….

Funda Gül Özcan
Neo Matloga
Neo Matloga
Lonneke van der Palen
Holidays 062 Lonneke van der Palen
Lonneke van der Palen
Neo Matloga

….of works by the contenders for the Volkskrant Visual Arts Award, Funda Gül Özcan, Neo Matloga and Lonneke van der Palen.

Jan Pieters
Jan Pieters

To end this holiday report in a more or less nepotistic way here are two paintings by my brother which i saw in Spijkenisse where he is taking part in a group show.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of photographs courtesy to all artists, owners, museums and galleries involved.

Bertus Pieters

Harold de Bree, SSIXS; HOK Gallery, The Hague

Harold de Bree (1966) presently shows some works on copper at HOK gallery, The Hague’s smallest commercial gallery.

As usual there is a military link to De Bree’s work.

In the background you’ll hear short wave radio codes spoken and other sinister radio noises which are clearly not meant to be understood by a nosy listener.

That is probably also the best way to appreciate these copper works: copper as a conductive metal on which codes are splashed and painted, even engraved, on which the changing light also brings a kind of sinister visible noises.

Codes disguised as neat abstract paintings.

But i must admit i like the paintings apart from all that.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Content of all photographs courtesy to Harold de Bree and HOK Gallery, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

Katrein Breukers & Lily Lanfermeijer, I Laughed “To Hell With Them” I Said; Billytown, The Hague

In Billytown’s Kitchen Katrein Breukers and Lily Lanfermeijer have created a crime scene.

Reminiscences of what might have happened are there, but to reassure you, there are no traces of bloodshed.

The scene is based on amongst others detective stories and the Cluedo detective game.

Some aspects may refer to earlier events, but you may as well find yourself in your own detective story.

And, as said before, there is nothing to worry about.

© Villa Next Door 2019

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

Bertus Pieters

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, There is only one art … L-if-E; Billytown, The Hague

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (1950) seems to be a bit of a blind spot in modern and postmodern art history.

Genesis P-Orridge is generally seen as one of the founders of Industrial music with his bands Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV.

Already by the end of the 1960s he founded the artist’s collective COUM Transmissions.

Genesis P-Orridge has been active ever since, preferably in co-operation with likeminded people, to seek the extremes of existence and indeed of aesthetics in music, art and design.

Billytown has given Grauzone a platform to organise a retrospective exhibition about Genesis P-Orridge’s work.

Art historically long overdue though the exhibition might be, the relatively peaceful white cube-like presentation which isolates every individual work from its context may not fully confront the visitor with the overwhelming impact of the aesthetics of the work and life of the artist and his many collective projects.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Genesis Bereyer P-Orridge, Grauzone and to Billytown, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters