Art in corona times 37. Robbin Heyker’s Vogelclub (Robbin Heyker’s Birding Club), featuring Arjan Dwarshuis; Kifl the Kid Salon, Billytown, The Hague

Those who know me, know that i am not enthusiastic about either sports or religious gatherings, yet, i did take part in something like that in an event, a spin-off of the Kifl the Kid Salon, presently at Billytown (Click here to see an earlier report about the Kifl the Kid Salon) .

At Kifl the Kid Salon spontaneous events are being organised and one of them was Robbin Heykers Vogelclub (“Robbin Heyker’s Birding Club”), featuring Arjan Dwarshuis, the man who saw 6852 different bird species in 2016 during a world trip.

The event was in two parts; a film evening featuring Arjan’s Big Year, in which you can see Dwarshuis crisscrossing the world, watching and counting birds, anything feathered in between ostriches and hummingbirds.

The second part was a birding excursion at Meijendel, the coastal dunes near The Hague, led by Dwarshuis.

It was an exceptionally good morning to see bird migration, described by Dwarshuis as “just as spectacular as the big game migration in Eastern Africa,” except that few people in this country seem to be aware of that.

With a moderate south-eastern wind, conditions were very good according to Dwarshuis, which proved to be true.

Dwarshuis surely made us – a small bunch of artists and art-bugs for whom looking and seeing (watching) are cardinal activities – see loads of birds, especially in the sky, but also in the scrubs and in the water, usually unseen, even by artists and the like.

It was indeed extraordinarily exceptional, especially in the beginning of the morning when the sky was full of thousands of migrating birds.

What did we see?

Well, we saw: redwing (loads), fieldfare (loads), song thrush (loads), mistle thrush, blackbird, robin, stonechat, chaffinch, brambling, hawfinch, greenfinch, siskin,

goldfinch, linnet, redpoll, reed bunting, tree sparrow, great tit, blue tit, long-tailed tit,

jackdaw, carrion crow, jay, magpie, starling (double loads), treecreeper, wren,

goldcrest, firecrest, chiffchaff, blackcap, Cetti’s warbler, dunnock, grey wagtail, pied wagtail,

house martin (just one), sky lark, great spotted woodpecker, green woodpecker,

wood pigeon, stock dove, kingfisher, kestrel, sparrow hawk, goshawk,

buzzard, great white heron, grey heron, spoonbill, herring gull, common gull, black-headed gull,

lesser black-backed gull,  common snipe, coot, mallard, tufted duck, pochard, red-crested pochard,

great crested grebe, little grebe, greylag goose, white-fronted goose, pink-footed goose,

cormorant, and i probably missed out a few.

Without being a conspiracy thinker, one can easily state that that very morning the sky was full with the of spectacular phenomenon but unseen by those who are not woke.

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© Villa Next Door 2020

Contents of all photographs courtesy to all participants and Billytown, The Hague; special thanks to Robbin Heyker and Arjan Dwarshuis.

Bertus Pieters

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Art in corona times 28. Suzie van Staaveren & Jan Dirk Adams, Kifl the Kid Salon; Billytown, The Hague

Billytown is always in search of how to tackle space and how to present art.

The question of how to make an exhibition is usually just as important as the exhibition itself.

It has done so under different circumstances and usually with interesting and vital results.

Apart from the major artistic presence of the Billytown artists themselves, this is what makes the club special.

It is a downright shame that this is not recognised by nerdy art committees and authorities.

Especially because Billytown seems to have found its place at last in an unlikely spot that would be seen as a problem by any other gallery.

It is a space that is open to the world and as such it is potentially and with patience one of the most inclusive places in town, more so than the daft experts seem to notice.

That becomes clear again in Kifl the Kid Salon, set up by Suzie van Staaveren (1991) and Jan Dirk Adams (1995).

They created the base for an environment where people can become part of the exhibition and where their own sleeping artistry is stimulated.

Yes, there are works on show by Van Staaveren and Adams, but they don’t shout for attention.

They rather stimulate the appreciation of being there.

Other artists and non-artists also leave their marks.

In the mean time (the Covid-19 crisis was a blessing in disguise as it gave the work more time to unfold) different spontaneous events, some private, others open to anybody, have been made possible, a birthday party, a cinema evening, food tasting.

The salon is trying to move outside as well, in order to communicate more with passers-by.

As for yourself, just go there and take your time, have a drink, read a book, have a conversation, look at the art around you, look at yourself.

I was there on a lazy summer afternoon and it felt a bit like the terrace of a small family driven hotel in the tropics.

What you meet here are clearly the ideas of a younger generation about art and society, and the “social sculpture,” if you wish.

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© Villa Next Door 2020

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Suzie van Staaveren, Jan Dirk Adams and all potential and possible others, and Billytown, Den Haag.

Bertus Pieters

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Atelier Oh Nee, Glory Collision; Billytown Kitchen, The Hague

Artists’ initiative from Leiden Atelier Oh Nee (Studio Oh No) presents Glory Collision in Billytown’s Kitchen.

The idea is to present art by different artists in a collective installation inspired by a kickboxing school.

This results in works hanging from the ceiling like punching bags.

Those who expect the smell of adrenaline and sweat or the sounds of banging and aggressive physicality will find a colourful playfulness without sound or smell instead.

 

It is this playfulness that tries to lure the viewer into looking at the objects from different angles and to be in very close contact with them.

The floor, though based on kickboxing practice, provides a welcoming softness and warmth that absorbs the sounds of the visitor’s footsteps and movements.

In spite of the collective’s somewhat negative sounding name, its presentation is quite catching and engaging.

© Villa Next Door 2020

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

Bertus Pieters

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Anders Dickson, Maja Klaassens, Clémence de La Tour du Pin, Kim David Bots – Hinkypunk; Billytown, The Hague

A place like The Hague was partly built on sandy dunes, but a lot of its suburbs were once marshes.

Indeed a great part of the two Holland provinces and many other areas were once marshland.

Marshes and peaty wetlands have become rare in Europe.

Their misty mysticism with strange sounds and misleading witte wieven, banshees, dangerous, dark waters, deceptive will-o’-the-wisps or hinkypunks was once respected, but later on these areas were exploited and drained, efficiently made useful for our insatiable needs.

At Billytown Anders Dickson (1988), Maja Klaassens (1989), Clémence de La Tour du Pin (1986) and Kim David Bots (1988) co-operated to give an impression of this lost marshy mysticism, but without getting one’s feet wet.

For once Billytown has been obscured a bit from the outer world by some worn textile and indeed from itself by a wooden fence that seems to have stood there already for ages.

Strange sounds and scents that both attract and repel will invite you to discover all kinds of strange objects, installations, pictures and creatures.

Modern marshes are also disrespectfully used as dumping places for all kinds of garbage, but, in spite of what you might think of it, the creatures and things of the peat seem to feast on it, celebrating their own downfall.

What else can one do?

© Villa Next Door 2020

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

Bertus Pieters

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

The Ballroom; Billytown, The Hague

There is presently a moving bike with a burning candle on its saddle in Billytown.

It turns, moves and makes noise like a spoilt child, constantly trying to catch your attention.

Or is it the embodiment of thinking and creativity, trying to find a way out of the grids, structures and obstacles of life, society and the mind?

As such it could well be the noisy candle-barer of all the works in the present exhibition.

The Ballroom is a show constantly in flux and in the making.

Works may be changed or moved.

Although the exhibition has had an official opening, its end may well be its real opening at the same time.

No names or titles are added, but the works are all made by Billytown’s own artists and are all up to discussion.

One work may be more constant than the other.

The tables can be used for anything, from eating and drinking from, to discussing matters, or just to have a moment of sitting down and looking around.

The works are by Rachel Bacon, Melle de Boer, Kim David Bots, Afra Eisma, Robbin Heyker,

Paul de Jong, Bram De Jonghe, Maja Klaassens, Marius Lut, Bernice Nauta,

Nishiko, Robbert Pauwels, Iede Reckman, Suzie van Staaveren and Marieke van ‘t Zet.

© Villa Next Door 2019

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

Bertus Pieters

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

Lieven Hendriks & Thomas Trum, Modern Pictures for Modern Rooms; Billytown, The Hague

Lieven Hendriks

Modern Pictures for Modern Rooms was an exhibition in London in 1936 showing art buyers how to live with modern painting in a modern interior.

Lieven Hendriks

Thomas Trum

It happened to be the same year Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times was released;1936 was in the middle of the world wide economic crisis.

Lieven Hendriks

Lieven Hendriks

In Modern Times people are struggling to take part in the rat race for survival in times of modernism, while in London a gallery tried another strategy to sell modernist art to survive the crisis in a country with a predominantly conservative taste.

Lieven Hendriks

More than 80 years later we live in a post-postmodern era but we still feel the tremors of the great social, economic and artistic modernist age that was the 20th century.

Lieven Hendriks

Rianne Groen – who closed down her gallery in Rotterdam only recently – co-operated with Billytown – the Hague platform that constantly struggles for new perspectives – to make a new Modern Pictures for Modern Rooms show with Lieven Hendriks (1970) and Thomas Trum (1989), in which she tries to take a fresh look at what decoration means in the context of art in daily life of the post-postmodern present.

Lieven Hendriks

Billytown’s space is hardly the place to create a cosy living room, but with some adaptations a place with familiar elements which suit a former school building was created as an environment for Hendriks’ and Trum’s works.

Lieven Hendriks

Abstraction (which historically became the hallmark of modernism) is clearly a principle of Trum’s lively material improvisations, while Hendriks brings back abstraction into hyper-reality with his trompe l’oeil paintings.

Lieven Hendriks

Thomas Trum

With its big windows the art doesn’t just seem to give context to Billytown’s space but also to the reality of street life outside the gallery.

Thomas Trum

Thomas Trum

Trum’s monumental One Purple Line seems to become part of the square outside Billytown.

left: Lieven Hendriks, right: Thomas Trum

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Lieven Handriks, Thomas Trum and Billytown, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

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Melle de Boer, De laatste romantische schilder (The Last Romantic Painter); The Kitchen, Billytown, The Hague

Schneeige Nacht!
Ihr dunklen Schläfer
Unter der Brücke
Von Zerbrochener Stirne
Tropft kristallner Schweiß euch

(Snowy night! / You dark sleepers / Under the bridge / From your broken foreheads / Crystall sweat drips) Georg Trakl (1887-1914), Fragment 11

As you have seen in this blog (and if you haven’t, subscribe to Villa Nex Door!) Melle de Boer (1972) and your blogger met in his studio last spring to discuss his new paintings and painting in general.

Little did i know that an exhibition of his new paintings would follow so soon in Billytown’s Kitchen.

Its title The Last Romantic Painter may sound both tongue in cheek and pathetic, but that doesn’t mean this show isn’t serious stuff.

It might be tempting to compare De Boer’s paintings to his drawings and his work as a singer-songwriter, but let’s not do that, as there are no drawings or songs in this exhibition.

His paintings try to strike a balance between the escape from reality (whatever that is, in any guise or disguise) and the embrace of the reality of painting.

Many details of the works may work associative, on the other hand they are pure paint and brushstrokes etc.

In these paintings the nights may be snowy, the foreheads may be broken or the sweat may even be crystal, but in the end the paint dictates its own way of thinking.

I was quite happy seeing this exhibition, also knowing that the best has yet to come.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Melle de Boer and Billytown, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

VILLA NEXT DOOR IS NOT REPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADVERTISING ON THIS PAGE AND REGRETS ANY IRRITATION IT MAY CAUSE!

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

Manor Grunewald, Laura Jatkowski & Ricardo van Eyk, Be My Billy; Billytown, The Hague

Manor Grunewald

At first sight one may not think of Manor Grunewald (1985), Laura Jatkowski (1990) and Ricardo van Eyk (1993) as partners in a group show.

Manor Grunewald

Manor Grunewald

Manor Grunewald

Manor Grunewald

However, in Billytown’s new gallery space they seem to be the perfect trio to open a potentially challenging program of exhibitions.

Laura Jatkowski

Laura Jatkowski

Laura Jatkowski

Laura Jatkowski

The emphasis of the show is characteristically on the merging of making and thinking and its spatial consequences.

Left to right: Manor Grunewald, Laura Jatkowski, Ricardo van Eyk

Ricardo van Eyk

Ricardo van Eyk

Ricardo van Eyk

All three artists focus both on the overall impression of their works as well as on the details.

Ricardo van Eyk

Ricardo van Eyk

Ricardo van Eyk

Conceptual thinking is mixed with the possibilities of the used materials, in Jatkowski’s case even acoustics and video.

Laura Jatkowski

Front: Laura Jatkowski; back: Manor Grunewald

Left to righ, Ricardo van Eyk, Laura Jatkowski

Front: Laura Jatkowski; back: Ricardo van Eyk

The day i visited to make these photos the autumn weather was grey and gloomy, which made it next to impossible to make some clear pictures in spite of the building’s  big windows.

Front: Laura Jatkowski; back: Ricardo van Eyk

Ricardo van Eyk

Ricardo van Eyk

Left to right: Manor Grunewald, Ricardo van Eyk, Laura Jatkowski

On the other hand, it gave the works and the space a more monumental and concise character.

Left to right: Ricardo van Eyk, Manor Grunewald

Laura Jatkowski

Laura Jatkowski

Laura Jatkowski

On the whole it is a very promising first show in a new chapter of Billytown’s existence.

Laura Jatkowski

© Villa Next Door 2018

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

Bertus Pieters