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



Less and More

As you may have noticed, reporting in Villa Next Door has become less frequent. That has two main reasons. The first is that i’m concentrating more on writing (in Dutch) these days, as i feel not enough is written about art. Writing, to me, has proven to be a more creative process. Alternating with viewing art it deepens my understanding of what i see, and not just in art. I hope, of course, that reading will stimulate the same process with you. However, writing costs time. The second reason is that reporting by camera about exhibitions in (and sometimes outside) The Hague is one thing, but Villa Next Door is a one man’s business. I must admit it’s nice to show on a blog something of my excitement while seeing exhibitions, but processing all the pictures for Villa Next Door is, although a critical, not a very creative process, which, even so, costs a lot of time. So there will be less Villa Next Door and more Villa La Repubblica the coming time. I apologise to my non-Dutch readers for that. The good news is that Villa Next Door will be continued though less regularly and, as to the artists and gallerists, even less democratically.

© Villa Next Door 2019


Bertus Pieters

bye bye twelve twelve

Anna Fafaliou

Well, there you are, another fact of life:

Gert Scheerlinck

Seyran Kirmizitoprak

Twelve twelve gallery closes its doors.

Jeroen Blok

Joran van Soest

It was still a young gallery and full of energy.

Katleen Vinck

Marin de Jong

In spite of its small space it always featured very diverse artists, always well presented and with much dedication and devotion to both content and aesthetics and to both artists and viewers.

Rutger van der Tas

Sam Lock

I’m sure i won’t be the only one who’s going to miss that.

Sam Lock

Saskia Tannemaat

However, Twelve twelve’s Silvia Bakker is still young and full of good ideas, so i am sure we can regard the gallery as just a stepping stone to a next level.

Saskia Tannemaat

Tamara Dees

A big thank you to Silvia and to the artists whose work she presented in the gallery!

Tamara Dees

Gert Scheerlinck

Hope to meet you all again soon!

Wycliffe Mundopa

© Villa Next Door 2019

Content of all photographs courtesy to all artists and Twelve twelve gallery, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters