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

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

Bertus Pieters

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Art in corona times 95. Bas Wiegmink & Casper Verborg, Resending Voice; Galerie Helder, The Hague

Bas Wiegmink

Painting is an ongoing tradition, full of wonder, space and colour.

Casper Verborg

As such it is still one of the most basic of artistic disciplines.

Bas Wiegmink

Presently Bas Wiegmink (1977) and Casper Verborg (1981) show their different visions on painting in Galerie Helder.

Casper Verborg

Wiegmink confronts three dimensional modern architecture and perspective with organic life, often creating a dreamlike unearthly atmosphere.

Casper Verborg

Verborg refers to, what one might call “the real world” with “real” persons. In a very big diptych he refers to two fragments by Monet in the Musée d’Orsay.

Casper Verborg

The impressionistic green has been replaced by a glowing red, while the open interpretation of Monet’s painting has been continued.

Casper Verborg

Verborg’s painting barely fits in the gallery.

Bas Wiegmink

The confrontation of the two painters is interesting as they show different interpretations of space; space in perspective, and space in colour.

Bas Wiegmink

Personally i greatly enjoyed the exhibition which brings a sense of wonder and warmth in these chilly times.

Bas Wiegmink

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Contents of all photographs courtesy to Bas Wiegmink, Casper Verborg and Galerie Helder, Den Haag

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

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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

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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

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

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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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