Art in corona times 76. Shigeo Arikawa, Parade of Pumpkins; Galerie Helder, The Hague

Our eyes and brains seem to co-operate as a perfect team.

Our eyes can cover a wide panorama in around and in front of us, and our brains immediately give the interpretation of what we can see in terms of our tasks of survival.

However, as you can see in Shigeo Arikawa’s (1982) present show at Galerie Helder, as soon as some change in your vision occurs, your perception becomes blurred, and you need your personal experiences  and feelings – the tools that are always there even when you think they are not – to re-interpret what you are seeing.

In his most recent works Arikawa gives you a helping hand if you are able to read his lips.

However apart from that, there is in these works also a wonderful lyrical, almost dreamlike aspect, but, well, that is of course my interpretation. Go and have a look yourself to have your own!

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© Villa Next Door 2021

Contents of all photographs courtesy Shigeo Arikawa and Galerie Helder, Den Haag

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Art in corona times 69. Cecilia Vissers, Far North; Galerie Helder, The Hague

Presently Cecilia Vissers has a solo exhibition at Helder in The Hague (your last chance to see it is over this weekend!).

Her work is a mix of regularity and intuition, of soft curves and cool metals, of both the force of nature and the preciseness of letters or hieroglyphs.

Just like hieroglyphs her works may consist of only one piece or of more parts.

Whether a single piece work or a combination, her works indeed have the obviousness of a word, in spite of the limited number of shapes she works with.

There is however more to them.

They are not just shapes, they are objects with a surface, such that they will only fully reveal their meanings when you slowly move along them or when the daylight itself slowly moves.

In the present exhibition she shows works of anodised aluminium – in which the aluminium may turn orange –, of hot rolled steel, and prints made of metal shapes, in which – like in a wood block – the surface plays a strong role.

Still the idea of a word, a statement of civilisation within nature, dependent on both light and metal, makes these precise works very precious.

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© Villa Next Door 2021

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Cecilia Vissers and Galerie Helder, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

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Art in corona times 63. Marcel Wesdorp, Wandering in a Digital Adventure; Galerie Helder, The Hague

With this monumental, vast turquoise print Marcel Wesdorp arguably made one of his most tender works so far.

He has turned one of the most merciless interventions of nature, crudely appropriated by man, into an almost hallucinating ocean of mystery and oblivion.

This one and other recent works by Wesdorp are presently on show along older works at Galerie Helder.

He leads the viewer from algorithmic landscapes to compositions made with satellite recordings.

A tireless seeker for the sublime, Wesdorp uses the most advanced digital means, where others would use these techniques only for rational data.

As such he combines the wonders of the world with the wonders of the mind.

It is a small show, but a good medicine against the narrow-mindedness of these days.

However, you have to hurry as next Saturday will be the last day of the exhibition.

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Contents of all photographs courtesy to Marcel Wesdorp and Galerie Helder, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

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Art in corona times 46. Stephan van den Burg, Zaida Oenema, Positioning; Galerie Helder, The Hague

Stephan van den Burg

Our visual world doesn’t just exist of shapes and proportions.

Zaida Oenema
Zaida Oenema

There is an amazingly vast micro-world in between, of shapeless structures, snippets, changing light, whirling things, feelings and thoughts.

Zaida Oenema

The world of shapes and proportions is in fact torn apart by this micro-world.

Zaida Oenema
Stephan van den Burg

Artists like Stephan van den Burg (1974) and Zaida Oenema (1980), presently showing their works at Galerie Helder, are trying to get to grips with all this noise and jammer, in both a playful and a conjuring way.

Stephan van den Burg

Van den Burg is, of course, a master of the pencil, that almost seismographic artist’s and craftsman’s material, both precise and sensitive.

Stephan van den Burg
Stephan van den Burg

With each of his works he seems to give you a small insight of a cosmos which may expand almost infinitely in your mind.

Zaida Oenema

Oenema uses different materials.

Zaida Oenema
Zaida Oenema

In some recent works her materials are plywood, pigments and epoxy resin, but they look like whimsically blobbed pieces of shiny tiles.

Zaida Oenema

They show a kind of slow solidifying movement.

Zaida Oenema
Stephan van den Burg

The works of the two artists are an excellent match, which makes for an interesting exhibition.

Stephan van den Burg

The show has been prolonged because of the present situation, so there is no reason not to go and see these wonderful works. 

Zaida Oenema

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Contents of all photographs courtesy to Zaida Oenema, Stephan van den Burg and Galerie Helder, Den Haag.

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Art in corona times 30. Bas Wiegmink & Sigrid van Woudenberg, Come into my World; Galerie Helder, The Hague

Bas Wiegmink

The present duo-exhibition at Galerie Helder of works by Bas Wiegmink (1977) and Sigrid van Woudenberg (1967) proves that it is hard to be a counterpart to Van Woudenberg’s drawings.

Bas Wiegmink

Bas Wiegmink

It is not that Wiegmink doesn’t try hard.

Sigrid van Woudenberg

Sigrid van Woudenberg

In his colourful works there seems to be a constant struggle between culture and nature, between the ratio and the dexterously unpredictable mind.

Sigrid van Woudenberg

Sigrid van Woudenberg

His works look like dreams of blurred perfection.

Bas Wiegmink

Bas Wiegmink

However in Van Woudenberg’s works, maybe because she sticks to black and white on paper, the human ratio seems to have been given up already.

Bas Wiegmink

Bas Wiegmink

Her works have an almost intoxicating quality under which even the most toxically colourful works by Wiegmink seem to succumb.

Sigrid van Woudenberg

Sigrid van Woudenberg

All together this is a very tempting duo-show to open the new cultural season, in spite of a second Covid-19 wave.

Sigrid van Woudenberg

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Contents of all photographs courtesy to Bas Wiegmink, Sigrid van Woudenberg and Galerie Helder, Den Haag.

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Art in corona times 12. In & Out (and Unlocked/Reconnected); Galerie Helder, The Hague

Cian Yu Bai

Galerie Helder presently has a show case of its artists, amongst whom two new ones.

Cian Yu Bai

Cecilia Vissers

One of them is Cian-Yu Bai (1984), whose works are partly based on memory but work out like beautiful improvisations.

Cecilia Vissers

Cecilia Vissers

The other new artist is Cecilia Vissers (1964) whose work may remind you of hardcore Minimalism.

Cecilia Vissers

Cecilia Vissers

However there is much elegance in her compositions and the rough but soft looking surfaces make her work quite rich and interesting.

Inez Smit

Of the presented works by the other artists i only show a few as Helder will change some of the works during the exhibition.

Inez Smit

Stephan van den Burg

As such the gallery has found its own way to reconnect with its audience.

Elka Oudenampsen

David Engel

It also takes part in the national artistic Unlocked/Reconnected project with a very homely work by Stephan van den Burg (1974). (scroll up to see his work)

Melle Aussems

Melle Aussems

It is good to see the gallery reopened and indeed to see some known works as well as new works.

© Villa Next Door 2020

Contents of all photographs courtesy to all artists and Galerie Helder, Den Haag.

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Remembrance; Galerie Helder, The Hague

David Engel

Galerie Helder has decided to close its doors for the time being because of the Covid-19 virus.

Bas Lobik

It won’t organise the planned finissage of its present exhibition Remembrance with works by David Engel (1973), René Korten (1957) and Bas Lobik (1965).

Bas Lobik

Bas Lobik

The trio of artists find themselves happily together in this show about both the freedom and the framework that materials offer.

Bas Lobik

David Engel

Engel’s objects are wall sculptures made of multiplex, but seemingly with none of the rigidity of the material.

David Engel

David Engel

By bending his material he has pushed it to its limits and has given it with paint and shadows a striking sense of lyricism.

René Korten

René Korten

Lobik’s works may remind you a bit of Morris Louis’ (1912-1962) later paintings.

René Korten

David Engel

They share the mystery of what paint does when given its freedom within the boundaries of gravity.

David Engel

Bas Lobik

However Lobik’s paintings, by their nuanced details, will force you to take a close look and maybe to find yourself lost in them.

Bas Lobik

David Engel

This sense of giving space to paint itself and to its properties, is also strongly present in Korten’s works.

David Engel

René Korten

He combines this free flowing capacity with elements of geometry in sometimes stark contrast, almost as a metaphor for the interaction of nature and culture.

René Korten

René Korten

As such it is a pity this exhibition, which may even invite to reflect on the present situation, will not be visible for those who planned to see it in its last days.

Bas Lobik

Bas Lobik

On the other hand it is interesting to see how exhibitions unexpectedly become statements of the human condition.

René Korten

René Korten

In the case of this exhibition it has become a statement of lyricism within the framework of material and natural properties.

René Korten

© Villa Next Door 2020

Contents of all photographs courtesy to all artists and Galerie Helder, Den Haag.

Bertus Pieters

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Ton Kraayeveld, Labyrinth; Galerie Helder, The Hague

Ton Kraayeveld (1955) presently shows works at Galerie Helder.

It is not a big exhibition.

There are four more or less monumental works, a few smaller paintings and some drawings, but their great quality makes well up for their small number.

The exhibition seems to be composed around the four bigger works of which each shows a different aspect of Kraayeveld’s art.

The drawings appear to tell quite a different story.

Where the paintings are quite controlled, the drawings have a more expressive outlook.

Some of them are re-workings of (much) older drawings.

However, when looking at them closely, they show the same idea of constantly balancing between order and chaos, both in their compositions and in their ideas.

In Kraayeveld’s works there may be artistic and literary connotations of the modern and postmodern world, with sometimes peculiar contradictions.

In Kraayeveld’s works these contradictions translate into compositional contradictions, which gives them a slight sense of absurdism.

This is a compact showcase of Kraayeveld’s wonderful artistry.

Be sure to go and see it, as this is the last week of the exhibition.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Ton Kraayeveld and to Galerie Helder, Den Haag.

Bertus Pieters

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Een nieuwe lente, een nieuw beeld (A New Spring, a New Vision); Galerie Helder, The Hague

Channa Boon

Under a somewhat anachronistic title former teacher at the Royal Academy in The Hague Jan van der Pol has been given the opportunity at Galerie Helder to make an exhibition with some former students of the Academy.

Rob Knijn

Rob Knijn

Eva Klee

For a change Van der Pol didn’t choose young and promising but midlife and – as we may hope – midcareer.

Eva Klee

Rob Knijn

Rob Knijn

Channa Boon (1967), Eva Klee (1970), Rob Knijn (1966) and Arianne Olthaar (1970) are very different artists indeed and it is as if Van der Pol has tried to create a very wide ranging ensemble, reaching to the stars as well as to the intimacy of a home and walking the tightrope between reality and imagination (which is what art is usually about).

Arianne Olthaar

Eva Klee

Olthaar shows a combination of the past and present in a scruffy space, once glittering and trendy, awaiting its final demolition, while Knijn, in some recent works, brings the world of stars and almost dreamy abstraction back to the reality of a framed painting on a wall, although even that doesn’t seem to be real reality.

Eva Klee

Rob Knijn

Channa Boon

Boon distorts reality with reality itself, blurring the already shaky line between reality and interpretation, while Klee defines the home as a small secluded clay space where the mind shapes its own raw bulbous forms, the human spirit as a clay pitcher.

Rob Knijn

Eva Klee

Eva Klee

It is a short running but interesting exhibition, coinciding with the opening of the graduation festival at the Royal Academy and The Hague Contemporary Art Weekend, only on show over the weekend.

Channa Boon

© Villa Next Door 2019

Content of all photographs courtesy to all artists and Galerie Helder, Den Haag

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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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