Maria Lassnig, Ways of Being; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Körperbewusstsein (Body Consciousness), 1949

I went to see the retrospective exhibition of works by Maria Lassnig (1919-2014) at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam to write a review for Villa La Repubblica. CLICK HERE TO READ THE REVIEW (in Dutch).

Zwei Formen übereinander (Two Forms on Each Other), 1952

I leave you here with this non-representative selection of works, as i’ve written already quite extensively about the show in VLR.

Tachismus 4 (Tachism 4), 1958
Napoleon und Brigitte Bardot, 1961
Selbstporträt als Astronautin (Self-portrait as an Astronaut), 1968-69
Stilleben mit Apfelsäge (Still Life with Apple Saw), 1969
The Murder of ML, 1973
Selbstporträt mit Maulkorb (Self-portrait with Muzzle), 1973
Self-portrait with Butterflies, 1975
Die Atommütter (The Atomic Mothers), 1984
Jungfrau mit Stier (Virgin with Bull), ca.1988
Raketenbasis, Missiles I und II (Missile Base, Missiles I and II), 1989
Wangen-, Stirn- und Kinnsensationen (Cheeks, Forehead and Chin Sensations), 1996
Nasenfilter (Nose Filter), 1998
Die Illusion von meiner Tierfamilie (The Illusion of my Animal Family), 1999
Zwei Arten zu sein, Doppelselbstporträt (Two Ways of Being, Double Self-portrait), 2000
Ideenfischer (Idea Anglers), 2001
Die Trauer (The Mourning), 2003
Die unschuldige Blick (The Innocent Gaze), 2008
Vom Tode gezeichnet (Drawn by Death), 2011 (detail)

Bertus Pieters

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to all owners of the works, the estate of Maria Lassnig and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

 

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Petra Strahovnik and Ensemble Modelo62: disOrders 1, Through the Looking Glass; Trixie, The Grey Space, Haagse Kunstkring, PARTS Project, Galerie Helder, The Hague

Klára van de Ketterij at Trixie

Through the Looking Glass is the first part of the two-year disOrders project by composer Petra Strahovnik and performed by members of the Ensemble Modelo62.

Klára van de Ketterij at Trixie

Last weekend three-hour sessions were held by different instrumentalists each in one of five different locations, dealing each with one of five so-called mental disorders: ADHD, anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder and autism.

Klára van de Ketterij at Trixie

Having seen them all at Trixie, the Grey Space in the Middle, Haagse Kunstkring, PARTS Project and Galerie Helder, I must admit it leaves me with the idea that all performances were more or less autistic.

Klára van de Ketterij at Trixie

Whether it was percussionist Klára van de Ketterij (ADHD) running around a collection of drums and other percussive instruments, cellist Jan Willem Troost (anxiety disorder) grappling with his instrument and his environment, or electric guitarist Santiago Lascurain (depression) in his bathtub with dirt, they all showed an extremely meticulous dedication to what they were doing within the sheer unbreakable walls of their supposed conditions, for three whole hours.

The Grey Space

The performance by clarinettists Enric Sans Morera and Jorge López García (bipolar disorder) and the one by trumpeter Justin Christensen (autism) were even quite similar in ideas of expression: experiments with water and plastic in combination with the unexpected properties of their instruments.

Jan Willem Troost at The Grey Space

In the case of the depression performance, the expression was almost too literal, with the performer covering himself in black mud, and even while the guitar was only playing a slowly transforming sound by itself, one could call it a melodramatic performance.

Jan Willem Troost at The Grey Space

In the anxiety act the public was invited to use a triangle now and then, but what influence that had on the performance was hard to see.

Jan Willem Troost at The Grey Space

Was it an invitation to ease the tensions with the sound of the triangle or an invitation to be cruel to the performer with an unexpected sound?

Santiago Luscarain at Haagse Kunstkring

A confronting perspective is, of course, the fact that sufferers of these so-called disorders have to cope with it every day and night in all circumstances and not just for three hours.

Santiago Luscarain at Haagse Kunstkring

In the mean time one must be completely un-self-reflective or even narcissistic (!!) not to realise that we all have bits of these disorders in ourselves, in spite of the fact that most of us are thought to be ‘normal’.

disorders
Santiago Luscarain at Haagse Kunstkring.

They do not just confuse our brains, but may also make us cope with confusing or disturbing situations or stimulate dedication and creativity.

Santiago Luscarain at Haagse Kunstkring

The fact that autism can be most associated with all five acts, is maybe because art itself needs complete dedication both to the whole and to the detail and complete surrender to the performance, whether one is making music or a painting or whatever.

Enric Sans Morera & Jorge López García at PARTS Project

As for the five acts, as said they each lasted three hours which is quite a superhuman effort by the performers.

Jorge López García at PARTS Project

They performed for three hours for four days, and must have practiced and prepared for many hours.

Enric Sans Morera at PARTS Project

That in itself and the co-operation between the composer, the performers, the five art platforms and everybody technically and psychologically involved is a great job.

PARTS Project

In spite of that it should be said that none of the performances were artistically interesting enough to follow for three hours (or maybe that depends on one’s own disorder?).

Justin Christensen at Galerie Helder

Also the question asked by the composer “Can we find compassion in order to expand our concept as a society of what is ‘in order’?” may be a relevant question generally, but do these acts stimulate any answers or reflections on the subject?

Justin Christensen at Galerie Helder

And if they do, are they doing so implicitly or too explicitly?

Justin Christensen at Galerie Helder

Either the question may be too wide-ranging, or the performances need more (yes even more!) aesthetic reflection.

Justin Christensen at Galerie Helder

©Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to all performers and art spaces.

Bertus Pieters

 

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Façades of The Hague #90

Block of three white plastered houses with apartments in eclectic style, designed by Johannes Petrus Christiaan Swijser (1809-1885), built around 1860, Kazernestraat corner Nieuwe Schoolstraat.

J.P.C. Swijser, who originally started out as a carpenter and a contractor, was a very active architect in The Hague, designing many apartment blocks, villas and schools and also co-designing the royal stables.

Many features of the façade of the block are original, including the doors.

The block is a municipal monument.

© Villa Next Door 2019

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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Carel Visser, Genesis; Museum Beelden aan Zee, Den Haag

Scrapbook

I visited Museum Beelden aan Zee to write a review for Villa La Repubblica about the present exhibition with works by Carel Visser (1928-2015). Click here to read the review (in Dutch)

Scrapbook

It’s a serious  lack of education if you’ve never heard of Carel Visser.

Rainbow, 1980

In that case make sure to take the shortest way to Beelden aan Zee to see this show soon!

Water, 1981

I leave you here with some pictures as i’ve written quite extensively in VLR about the show.

Landscape, 1982
Untitled, 1994
Architectural cactus, 1953
Cactus, 1953
Cactus, 1953
Inchworms, 1954
Insect, 1950
Sculpture with shells, 1982
Boris, 1995
Flying fish, 1993
Flying fish, 1993
Skeleton, 1953
Skeleton, 1953
Mating birds, 1953
Pyramid, 1982
Two birds, 1954-1994
Chocolate box, 1993
Little horse, 1951
Dromedary, 1952-1953
Slaughtered hare, 1952
Mammuth, 1995
Charlie I, 1985
Breakfast plate, 1986
Speedy Six, 1988
Sagging, 1990
Fruit bowl with shoulder blades, 1988
Untitled, 1982
Female swimmer, 2001
Two sisters, 1992
Woman, 1950
Man with glove, 2004
Two sisters, 1999
Untitled, 1971
Double step pyramid, 1948
Auschwitz, 1957
Open cube, 1969
Vol de nuit, 1956
Removal, 1957-1999
Ship with lamp, 2000
Untitled, 1999
Traveling, 1992

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to the owners of the works and Museum Beelden aan Zee, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

 

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Jean van Wijk and Rien Monshouwer, Le Détour; Kadmium, Delft

Rien Monshouwer

Rien Monshouwer (1947) and Jean van Wijk (1953), two old hands in the trade from The Hague, exhibit at Kadmium gallery in Delft.

Rien Monshouwer
Rien Monshouwer
Jean van Wijk

Near the place where William I of Orange (1533-1584) unwillingly left a hole in the wall and in time, Monshouwer and Van Wijk are also creating space and time but, happily, they are still actively doing so.

Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk

Monshouwer shows paintings, text drawings and a small sculpture.

Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk

The sobriety of his work is in stark contrast with the sheer inexhaustible array of objects, computer prints and installations by Van Wijk.

Jean van Wijk
Rien Monshouwer
Rien Monshouwer

While Monshouwer’s abstractions reflect on the social and aesthetic implications and relics of modernism in urban housing, Van Wijk’s work drags you into the space in between the walls, inside and outside, freely narrowing or widening the gap as it pleases.

Rien Monshouwer

Rien Monshouwer
Rien Monshouwer

It is as if space itself re-imposes its rule over architecture and the landscape, creating a kind of architecture of the vacuum.

Rien Monshouwer
Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk

While Van Wijk corrupts every sense of measurement and as such invents new shapes for space, Monshouwer re-assesses the world of modern urban measurement and the abstract remnants it leaves in the mind as a remembrance of the ideals of modernism in the microcosm of the city.

Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk

Not without a tour de force these seemingly incompatible spirits are drawn together in the exhibition, challenging the viewer.

Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk

Quite successfully so, as both seem to reinforce each other’s qualities.

Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk
Jean van Wijk

Although it’s wonderful to see works by both artists in Delft, it is a bit strange that they are not household names in The Hague itself.

Rien Monshouwer

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all pictures courtesy to the artists and Kadmium, Delft

Bertus Pieters

 

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Studio visit #7: Pim Piët

It was already quite some time ago that Pim Piët (1954) and i agreed to meet in his studio. We often meet at exhibitions here in town.

It is quite difficult not to meet at any vernissage in The Hague as we are both always eager to know what is going on and what is on show.

Last winter he had a presentation at De Spanjaardshof, the building where he and many others have their studios. It was a small (the space itself isn’t that big) but impressive installation with painting, panels creating alternative, more intimate space, a standing bell and sound.

It was a tranquil and reflective installation, great to see and experience during those dark winter days.

Others might have made it into a woolly, quasi-mystical scene, but that is far from what Piët aims at. For a long time he has been using words in his paintings, often just single words.

Words don’t just have a meaning, they also have a shape. The shape intermingles with the meaning and both define his paintings.

A bit like words defining a poem and its shape.

Of course colour is also a defining factor in his paintings. As for the sound, there has been a good co-operation between him and composer Anna Mikhailova(1984) for the last few years.

Piët’s word paintings, often rhythmic, have a quality that allows, even welcomes music and sound, not just for a background but as an equal partner.

As such his co-operation with Mikhailova has proven to be a very fruitful one. Mikhailova in turn has a very good feeling for what Piët wants in his pictures.

Maybe surprisingly, when we saw each other in his studio we hardly talked about his individual works.

We did talk about the marvellous light in the studio, about the general conditions for making art and about different tendencies in making exhibitions, but i guess his works, covering the walls and part of the floor, quite spoke for themselves. Piët’s work is, as it is for almost all artists, a labour of love.

Labour was one of the aspects of life we discussed.

As for many artists Piët has earned a living with other, non-artistic labour. He purposely didn’t choose for a more ambitious or intellectual job, he needs his intellectual capacities for his art work. On the other hand even the most unintellectual jobs need a sense of purpose and dedication if they are really useful.

We agreed however that even this sense of purpose and dedication is denied to workers these days as efficiency is aiming at higher profits to generate more money for shareholders instead of aiming at a better and meaningful life for workers and a better service to the public.

One can even see it in the way young artists have to work in this country.

We were discussing this with Piët’s wonderful works around us and his materials and books as witnesses of what purpose and dedication can really bring in life.

For those who fear we ended on a bit of a pessimistic note: we didn’t. I think for both of us seeing and making art is too fascinating to become pessimistic about.

As to me it was a very inspiring afternoon. Thank you Pim!

© Villa Next Door 2019

Content of all photographs courtesy to Pim Piët.

Bertus Pieters

 

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Façades of The Hague #89

Façade of a block of apartments, Valkenboskade. Due to the Industrial Revolution the number of inhabitants of The Hague in 1913 had tripled since 1875. Areas of polder and geest were bought from The Hague’s then southern neighbour Loosduinen, which were later annexed by The Hague.

Valkenboskade is in that area and these houses were built just before the First World War. They were designed for the middle classes. This façade has exceptionally refined modernist ornamentation. It must have looked very modern for its time.

© Villa Next Door 2019

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/

Studio Visit #6: Melle de Boer

 

Last Monday i visited Melle de Boer (1972) in his studio in Billytown. I had seen pictures of his latest paintings on facebook and i was eager to see the real thing.

It took some time but at last we met and we spent the afternoon talking about art and – of course – about painting.

De Boer took up painting again last autumn. You may know him, apart from his great work as a songwriter and singer, as a wonderful draughtsman.

In his drawings his lines are self confident on one hand but on the other hand always in search of the unexpected.

They are cartoonlike. The figures, signs and sometimes the words always find their own way in the white space of the paper following their own logic, and they often have a somewhat surrealist sense of humour.

Why he has taken up painting again, he told me, was, as i interpret it, more or less a matter of soul searching.

The way he uses the figurative in his drawings, using humour as part of his way of expression, could also be interpreted as a way of hiding from what keeps him really artistically busy in his mind. Also, painting is technically more of a challenge and it offers you more of a struggle, both technically, artistically and mentally.

He decided to paint non-figurative representations, so as to be busy with the material, the composition and its expression, free of any interpretation of recognisable shapes or situations, free from references to the real world, not to be distracted

We agreed painting is difficult. As soon as you start painting there is a heavy weight of traditions on your back and shoulders which you have to bare, ignoring it, condemning it, admiring it. But the main point is: there is the paint itself.

Apart from the colours it can be glossy or matte, it can be transparent or opaque, it can be thick or thin, it can be exciting or just bland, it can surprise you or it can be terribly unsurprising.

Finding a balance is a matter of a lot of trying and not being afraid. One’s biggest mistake may turn into one’s most brilliant idea and the other way round.

Brilliant ideas are to be mistrusted when painting anyway. We also agreed that there is no way of being totally abstract or non-referential.

After all, even a simple geometric shape like a square has a meaning in one way or another. We looked at some works he has been busy on. We talked about the monumentality of smaller and bigger paintings.

One greyish painting has, in red, the name of Georg Trakl, the great pre-WWI Austrian poet of whose work De Boer is a great admirer.

Simply describing it, it is a grey painting with some blackish lobes and of course that name written in red, but when you walk around it, you see the different structures of the paint, the ideas proposed, rejected and becoming part of the painting. Any painting artist may recognise these aspects and they keep on fascinating both maker and viewer.

The main problem in painting (as it is in art in general) remains how to surprise oneself without imposing one’s will on the painting or one’s own mind.

De Boer is too much of an artist not to have himself surprised. His hand, like in his drawings, does not shy away and is always in search of the unexpected.

The paintings show a world full of tension, a clash of positive and negative, toughness and sillyness. Personally i can’t wait to see his paintings shining in a show. It would be a new chapter in De Boer’s work (as it already is).

And there is of course also Henk & Melle’s new cd We Are All Rockstars, a title that says it all. Thanks Melle, it was an inspiring afternoon!

© Villa Next Door 2019

Content of all photographs courtesy to Melle de Boer.

Bertus Pieters

 

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Liao Zhixin, After Translation; SinArts Gallery, The Hague

I went to SinArts Gallery to see Liao Zhixin’s  (1990) present exhibition After Translation to write a review for Villa La Repubblica. Click here to read the review (in Dutch).

As i have written quite extensively about this show in VLR, i leave you here just with some impressions without comments, of course with the recommendation to go and see it all for yourself. It is this show’s last week!

A hole in the wall connects you to another exhibition elsewhere. However,when i visited that place was closed, so, alas, there was nothing to be seen

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Liao Zhixin and to SinArts Gallery, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

 

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Lennart Lahuis, Le Mal du Pays; Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague

I went to Dürst Britt & Mayhew to see Lennart Lahuis’ (1986) present exhibition Le Mal du Pays to write a review for Villa La Repubblica. Click here to read the review (in Dutch).

As i have written quite extensively about this show in VLR, i leave you here just with some impressions without comments, of course with the recommendation to go and see it all for yourself.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Lennart Lahuis and to Dürst Britt & Mayhew, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

 

VILLA NEXT DOOR 2 IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADVERTISING ON THIS PAGE!!