Art in corona times 102. The end of ‘Art in corona times’. What next?

Art in corona times 1. 2 May 2020, SinArts Gallery

From May 2nd 2020 onwards i started categorising photo reports about exhibitions in Villa Next Door under the header Art in corona times.

Art in corona times 4, 15 May 2020, Topp & Dubio
Art in corona times 7a, 4 June 2020, A.R. Penck, Kunstmuseum, The Hague
Art in corona times 11, 23 June 2020, Mazen Ashkar, 1646
Art in corona times 18, 29 July 2020, Janice McNab, Stroom
Art in corona times 23, 19 August 2020, Caravaggio, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

By that time the corona restrictions were already intensely experienced by the arts sector. These days Covid-19 is still there but the heaviest lockdown measures have been lifted, so Art in corona times will be history for the time being. Art in corona times started with a visit to SinArts Gallery . I hadn’t seen Alex Lebbink, SinArts’ gallerist, for quite some time and he had organised time slots for individual visitors. The idea was that the corona measures would be very temporary and that i would use the label Art in corona times for a few postings, just to see how galleries and other art platforms were doing during the crisis and after that it would be more or less business as usual. However, that proved to be quite naive. Corona became a way of life in which the arts were not seen as an essential need in life. At first artists and other professionals were more or less empathetic to that idea, but as the crisis went on and on, the government’s sheer lack of interest for the arts became a thorn in the flesh of many an art professional, especially after the health minister’s remark that if you cannot go to the theatre you might as well stay at home and see a dvd, as if there was no difference between the two. Last week i posted Art in corona times 101 with some extra footage of the interesting exhibition about Aad de Haas at the Chabot Museum in Rotterdam and that was the last one under the corona banner.

Art in corona times 29, 17 September 2020, Steamboat, Trixie
Art in corona times 34, 28 September 2020, Jessica de Wolf, Artist Support Fair, Quartair
Art in corona times 37, 13 October 2020, Robbin Heyker’s Birding Club, featuring Arjan Dwarshuis
Art in corona times 43, 7 November 2020, Simphiwe Ndzube, Nest, The Hague
Art in corona times 48, 30 November 2020, Sjimmie Veenhuis, …ism

For those who want to have an idea of what was on show during the pandemic Art in corona times is easily locatable in Villa Next Door.

Art in corona times 52, 14 December 2020, Ellen Yiu, A Finger in Every Pie, Royal Academy students’ pre-graduation show

Lockdowns etc are over now but that doesn’t mean the worries about this or any other virus are gone.

Art in corona times 56, 20 February 2021, Ingrid Rollema, PIP Den Haag
Art in corona times 59, 14 March 2021, Paul van der Eerden, Romy Muijrers, Galerie Maurits van de Laar
Art in corona times 64, 9 April 2021, André Kruysen, Galerie Ramakers
Art in corona times 68, 30 April 2021, Zhang Shujian, PARTS Project
Art in corona times 75, 11 June 2021, Marion van Rooi, Jan Wattjes, Luuk Kuipers, Quartair

Covid-19 may return with a more dangerous version, and an altogether new and equally or more dangerous virus may come. The question is not if it will come, but when it will come. The bird flu virus being one of the most obvious contenders in the real viral world. Another worry in the aftermath of corona is the questionable urge of authorities to control everything and everybody, if possible with modern technology. This urge is understandable as authorities of any political colour try to influence social processes for the benefit of society as a whole. However, even before the Corona crisis it has already been proven that this urge to control has turned against citizens, as a holy faith in the objectivity of modern technology, market forces and a reduction of the state to a kind of control device has replaced a democracy in which different opinions in society play a role. Villa Next Door is not the place to make a deep analysis about society, politics, the free market, modern technology, the influence of debilitating conspiracy theories, and a considerable chunk of society that rather believes in so-called alternative facts than in real facts, that prefers evil tales to science. However this is the framework – as i see it – in which art is made, seen and presented today in this country, and i want to be clear about the context in which i give you my reports about exhibitions and art in this blog. After all, you don’t have to agree, but you should know. Another worry is the new situation with the war in Ukraine. One might suggest i should replace Art in corona times with Art in war times. However, the Netherlands are at the moment not at war with any other country. Also, it should be said that another devastating war is going on in Yemen for seven years now. Although this is principally a civil war, it has become internationalised, with other countries in the Middle East intervening. The conflict in Ukraine may have a global significance, or rather, it will have, even if the war itself remains physically limited to Ukraine. That, together with the devils unleashed during the Corona crisis, will bring us interesting but also ominous times. So, in the mean time, i repost some pictures here of some highlights of Art in corona times.

Art in corona times 81a, 12 July 2021, Joseph Palframan. Royal Academy, The Hague
Art in corona times 82b, 26 August 2021, Farkhondeh Shahroudi. Sonsbeek 20-24, Arnhem
Art in corona times 88, 27 September 2021, Yaïr Callender, Kadmium, Delft
Art in corona times 95, 17 December 2021, Casper Verborg, Galerie Helder
Art in corona times 97, 21 January 2022, Yesim Akdeniz, Dürst Britt & Mayhew

Hope to see you soon in real life or in this blog, stay healthy and sane, and keep your eyes open!

Art in corona times 101, 16 February 2022, Aad de Haas, Chabot Museum, Rotterdam

Now that you’ve come here, you might as well subscribe to Villa Next Door (top right of the page)!

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© Villa Next Door 2022

Contents of all photographs courtesy to all artists, galleries, art platforms, museums and owners of the works.

Bertus Pieters


Art in corona times 55. Pedro Neves Marques & Zahy Guajajara, Ywy, Visions; 1646, The Hague

When entering 1646 you hear people talking in a non-European, strange language.

There are no subtitles or voice-overs, you just hear the rhythms, sounds and emotions and some excitement.

Alas, although it is an intriguing start of an exhibition, due to the present lockdown you cannot visit it.

I was invited by 1646 to have a look.

The show was opened just before the lockdown and so it has been barely visible to the public.

So the show will be missed. 

Ywy, Visions is a project by Pedro Neves Marques from Portugal and Zahy Guajajara from Brazil and several people and institutions who co-operated in the project.

Main protagonist in the project is android character Ywy.

While strolling, looking and listening in the gallery, you get a sense of estrangement rather than of clarity.

The estrangement may come from the strange language, heard in the beginning, and from the science-fiction idea of an android.

In a film Ywy (played by Zahy Guajajara) talks to you.

She is standing in the middle of a field of genetically manipulated maize.

What she tells you covers a lot of what we have to deal with on a daily basis: the integrity of our food and consumer products and the way they are produced; the way we look at gender (Ywy seems to be presented as a woman, but an android is almost by definition genderless); the way we look at nature and how it is exploited for our commercial needs, and indeed how countries were occupied and colonised for those needs; the way we look at the future and how constructions of the past play a decisive role in it, whether we like it or not; the way we accept globalisation while forgetting how many languages there are, each containing its own culture, history and knowledge.

The quotations on the wall in combination with the other three works bring a lot together and you may even identify with Ywy in spite of not speaking her language (most people in the world won’t understand your language or dialect either, even if you speak a “world language”).

In the end the differences between the sexes, skin colours, languages, cultures should only play a role in as much as they have the potential of making the planet worth living in for all and everything.

The exhibition itself is exemplary for an international artistic co-operation, surpassing languages, ethnicities and continents.

The four parts of the show – a sound installation, a presentation of digital drawings  (in co-operation with Hetamoé), a video, and quotations on the wall – are well balanced and intriguing in their combination.

It is a pity that chances of seeing this show are limited, but on the other hand it also shows the importance of what cannot be seen.

Now that you’ve come here, you might as well subscribe to Villa Next Door (top right of the page)!

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© Villa Next Door 2021

Contents of all photographs courtesy to the artists and 1646, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters


Art in corona times #17. Danielle Dean, Continental Private Road; 1646, The Hague

To be honest i was disappointed about Danielle Dean’s  present show at 1646. A reason may be that Dean couldn’t be present to build up the show, as would have been usual under ‘normal’ circumstances, or that my expectations were too high. Also the works on show looked somehow unfinished.

They have at least the potential to generate more meaning. In the front room of the gallery Dean shows some work about Fordlândia, the disastrous, devastating and ill-fated project by the Ford company in the Brazilian Amazon jungle in order to break the British monopoly of world rubber trade in the 1920s. She combines that story of violent racism and imperialism with the working conditions of the present day company.

However, the different components of the work fail to become more than just an illustration of the story. The front gallery also shows advertising for the Lincoln Continental car of 1965, a model produced by the Ford company. It shows the car parked in front of some supposedly private woodland where the owner of the Lincoln is checking her mailbox.

The same woodland, without the car, the lady and the letterbox, but with the private road sign, is the starting point for an animation in the main gallery space. That animation is visually the most interesting part of the show. Important is of course the detail of the private road sign.

However, imaginative and haunting as the animation is, one cannot see much more than a somewhat Jungian dream-like situation in it. Do go and take a look for yourself, as you may feel  differently about the show.

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© Villa Next Door 2020

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Danielle Dean and 1646, Den Haag.

Bertus Pieters


Art in corona times 11. The Ongoing Conversation #7 (and Unlocked/Reconnected); 1646, Page Not Found, Stichting Ruimtevaart, The Hague

Mazen Ashkar

Doing a Master in Artistic Research is not an easy matter, as what is “artistic” and what is “research?”

Mazen Ashkar

Mazen Ashkar

Generally too many artists are claiming to be researching.

Georgie Brinkman

While art can be the result of inner or outer research – or one may need to research in order to make art –, stressing the research in art means the research itself is emphatically part of the art you show.

Georgie Brinkman

However, in the end it is just the materiality of what you show that should make the difference.

Georgie Brinkman

As a viewer you don’t give a damn if a work of art is the result of any research; that only starts to matter if, as a viewer, you become part of the research.

Daphne Monastirioti

To engage the viewer you need all the conventional conditions and techniques.

Daphne Monastirioti

There is the material object you want to show, there is the space you want to show it in, there are the acoustics of the space and there is time, the space of time you want to engage the viewer in.

Daphne Monastirioti

Whether you are good at Mid-Atlantic English non-speak or not, doesn’t make any difference.

Carmen Roca Igual

When showing your work as an artist, you are in fact artistically naked, you can hide almost nothing, and even if you do, the hiding itself becomes part of your artistic nakedness.

Carmen Roca Igual

That counts for any artist, whether you are a conventional painter or a maker of intricate video installations.

Carmen Roca Igual

(Well, that was Dad’s sermon, i guess)

Serene Hui

Ten students of the Royal Academy’s Master Artistic Research department showed their work last weekend.

Serene Hui

Under the title The Ongoing Conversation 1646 usually co-operates with the Academy to give the MA students a platform.

Serene Hui

This time 1646 expanded the co-operation with its neighbours Page Not Found and Stichting Ruimtevaart which worked out very well.

Leonie Brandner

At 1646 itself Mazen Ashkar, Georgie Brinkman, Daphne Monastirioti and Esther Arribas presented their works.

Leonie Brandner

There are no pictures of Arribas’ work here as she had organised a digital performance with sound, however, her website gives you some idea of what she is up to.

Leonie Brandner

1646 is also taking part in the national artistic online Unlocked/Reconnected show, with a work by Carmen Roca Igual (scroll up for pictures), which came out a bit shallow in combination with the works of the students, apart from its less than perfect presentation with too much reflections on the video screen.

Lena Longefay

Serene Hui showed her work in Page Not Found, and works by Leonie Brandner, Lena Longefay, Giath Taha, Juliana Martínez Hernández and by Leos were on show at Ruimtevaart.

Lena Longefay

Referring to what i preached before, i must say not all exhibiting students really engage you in their artistic research, although all do make interesting works.

Lena Longefay

One of the most interesting works was shown by Giath Taha.

Giath Taha

The work looked quite simple and open in the beginning, but looking at it in a darkened room made it haunting and even a bit spooky.

Giath Taha

A work about space, presence and absence, it engages the viewer completely.

Giath Taha

At least that is what happened with me.

Giath Taha

Another very interesting presentation was Serene Hui’s at Page Not Found. (scroll up for pictures of her work)

Juliana Martínez Hernández

In her work different ideas come together, from the manipulation of Google’s algorithms to truth and fake behind language in a post-truth society.

Juliana Martínez Hernández

The different voices filled up the space from different speakers, making it also a work about time and space, while the book titles of the shop seemed to illustrate the whole work.



Generally i admire the way these mostly international students have coped with the present situation, cut off from their friends, families and homes (some may have been in that situation already before) and finding themselves in a world that is suddenly less international in many ways.


© Villa Next Door 2020

Contents of all photographs courtesy to all artists, 1646, Page Not Found and Stichting Ruimtevaart, Den Haag.

Bertus Pieters


Art in corona times 6. Hoogtij #61 (High Tide Festival #61), The Hague

Usually Villa Next Door doesn’t pay much attention to events like Hoogtij (Dutch for ‘High Tide’). Hoogtij is a seasonal Hague event – always on a Friday night – in which most commercial and non-commercial galleries in the city are open to the public. Gallerists and artists are present and there are always many special events. Due to the circumstances this couldn’t take place yesterday night, so the organisation decided to go online. 22 venues took part in this edition.

So i sat down in front of my computer to see everything. Most of the material can still be seen on the internet. A special event was an interview by Marie Jeanne de Rooij with Jane Huldman, sister, mother and grandmother to many an artist in The Hague.

It is a warm blooded interview, recommended for those who are interested in modern and contemporary art history of The Hague and the nitty-gritty of, amongst others, the Dutch art subsidy system. The interview is in Dutch and  it is not subtitled.

I hopped alphabetically through The Hague in order not to miss anything, so i started at …ism which showed Museum Guards, in which the inhabitants of …ism perform as guards of their own house and collection, staring at you blankly in their own paradise.

1646 has a delightful presentation by Afra Eisma  of her exhibition Feline Whispers which had to close down because of the corona crisis, but which can now be experienced digitally.

Undoubtedly hers is one of the most moving Hoogtij presentations.

Victoria Kieffer’s presentation at Aether Haga is interesting for its content, but why didn’t she present it in French with English subtitles and with more creativity in the visual materials?

Baracca gives a trailer, or rather an announcement of its 2015 project Inside Job, which can be seen on Yvo van der Vat’s YouTube channel. It will take you more than an hour to see the whole movie.

At De Helena Hanna de Haan and Rik Buter have been working on a charcoal wall drawing, improvising on and reacting to each other’s work.

At Dürst Britt & Mayhew gallerist Jaring Dürst Britt shows you around in its first lustrum exhibition Vèf Jaaaah, with works by all the gallery’s artists. If you switch to the gallery’s Facebook and Instagram pages you can see Alexander Mayhew talking about the different works of art (in English). I reported about the exhibition here.

Galerie Maurits van de Laar presents a tour by artist and curator of its present exhibition Christie van der Haak.

As Christie has been a much valued teacher at the Royal Academy in The Hague she will be to many – like Jane Huldman – a kind of sister, mother and grandmother of the arts. It is a wonderful presentation in Dutch. I reported about the exhibition here.

At the Grafische Werkplaats (Graphic Studio) Nina van Dijk and Cedric ter Bals show you around (in English) in the exhibition Slechte verhalen fikken niet (Bad Stories Don’t Burn) while Christiaan Schoonenberg presents his own story.

All done in a wonderfully spontaneous way (at least, that is how it looks like).

At Heden artist Thijs Jaeger presents his work Four Horse Men, a small but intriguing work based on the Apocalypse. The presentation is in Dutch.

At HOK gallery, one of the very smallest in The Hague, Harold de Bree opens his own exhibition Borderlines.

His presentation is in English and there is even champagne!

At Maldoror Gallery Roeland Langendoen and Elsbeth Verheul show paintings.

Maldoror is one of the easiest accessible of the lot as it is just a shop window.

Malieveldwerk is at the Malieveld where on Saturdays you may find one or more artists experimenting. The short video is from 2013 (when snow was still a common winter feature in this country) in which the experiments are announced by Topp & Dubio. The announcement is in Dutch.

Projektruimte West end (West End Project Space) shows you around in an exhibition of paintings, drawings, photographs and objects featuring cats.

A must see for any cat lover or even not-cat lover.

Quartair presents the interactive exhibition It takes some extra clicks to get there, but it is fun.

Refunc is one of the very few venues which are digitally much better than in real, as far as i am concerned.

Those who need a reflective moment about space are well served by Henk Hubenet at Ruimtevaart with the short but fine video Circumstanced.

See Lab, itself located in far off Scheveningen, which makes it difficult to physically take part in Hoogtij, can be accessed now online with a presentation of the digital project Walking with Unimals by the artists of Pointer Studio. The project is presently on show ‘in real’ at See Lab.

In a very short presentation gallerist Alex Lebbink shows you the way to his SinArts Gallery.

It takes some extra clicking to SinArts’ own website to see the very interesting and worthwhile presentations of four artists and their works. Alex interviewed them all in English and it is a good way to get acquainted with their work. There are some short but beautiful video works and a recording of an impressive performance readily accessible as well.

Peter van Beveren’s The Archives has no short video. Why not? Surely all those books look interesting and intriguing enough, don’t they?

With a very short teaser Trixie announces its upcoming exhibition focus loslaten | ontspannen (let loose focus | relax) which takes place in June and for which you can apply in advance for a visit.

West Den Haag in “Onze Ambassade” (“Our Embassy” –  the former American Embassy) shows some slides of the four exhibitions it has at the moment.

Z Extra: Raamproject (Window Project), shows a short preview of a project by artist Yvette Teeuwen. Together with painter Casper Verborg – Yvette outside and Casper inside – they make a drawing on a window (at Heden). After some time a passer-by is also allowed to take part.

To end the evening i watched the short movie Dusk of the Harmonious Garden by Shen Wei, one of SinArts’ artists. A perfect and peaceful work to finish with!

Although these video presentations can never match the atmosphere and uniqueness of the usual Hoogtij events they are a good sign of life of the artists community in The Hague, and, as such, more venues could have taken part. Just to give a sign of life. Another good message is that most of the exhibitions are still on show “in real” and can be visited under conditions, so inquire at the websites of the galleries how you can visit them.

Click here to see all the Hoogtij presentations on its YouTube channel.

© Villa Next Door 2020

All photographs are stills / screen shots from the different presentations; courtesy to the artists, venues and the makers of the videos.

Bertus Pieters



Bernice Nauta, Hello Echo; 1646, The Hague

I visited 1646  to write a review about Bernice Nauta’s (1991) present exhibition for Villa La Repubblica. Click here to read the review (in Dutch).

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.

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

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Bernice Nauta and her friends and to 1646, Den Haag.

Bertus Pieters