Art in corona times 54. A Kocsma; Stichting Ruimtevaart, The Hague

Ida van der Lee

The present corona lockdown has made it extremely difficult to show art to the public.

Alex Jacobs, Ellemieke Schoenmaker
Elizabeth de Vaal

An online presentation cannot compete with the real thing.

Elizabeth de Vaal

It is not possible for the viewer to lose oneself in the proper thing, with its own measures, techniques, shapes, colours etc.

Manon Bovenkerk

Elizabeth de Vaal of the Post 15 Foundation – which facilitates residencies in the village of Pécsbagota, Hungary – has found a partial solution by inviting people personally and responsibly to see the A Kocsma exhibition, currently at Stichting Ruimtevaart.

Isabel Ferrand

Happy to receive her invitation, i visited Ruimtevaart some days ago.

Lotte van Lieshout

The show with works by some twenty-nine Dutch artists (all former residents) was made on the occasion of the twelve-and-a-half years anniversary (in Dutch that’s called a “copper jubilee”) of the foundation and the Pécsbagota residency near the city of Pécs.

Maarten Schepers
Ton Kraayeveld

An advantage of a personal invitation was that Elizabeth could tell me everything about the history of the Pécsbagota residency, which is in a tiny village in the south of Hungary.

Harold de Bree

Quite a few Dutch artists have resided there since 2007.

Hieke Luik

There are also ties with the University of Pécs, Hungarian artists and art students.

Sjef Henderickx

Dutch artists have an opportunity to work in a place far from the madding crowd, in a rather better climate than the Dutch, and in a small village community which is by now used to having these artists hanging around.

Channa Boon

It gives a good chance for an artist to see his/her own work and practice in different circumstances and as such to reflect on his/her own qualities, i think.

Marjolijn van der Meij
Simone ten Bosch

Here are some pictures of details of what is on show.

Ewout van Rijn

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 2020

Contents of all photographs courtesy to the artists, Stichting Post 15 and Stichting Ruimtevaart, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters


Art in corona times 34. Artist Support Fair, Geen bloem zonder wortel (No Flower Without a Root); Quartair, The Hague

Lambert de Jong

What a good event this was, last weekend at Quartair!

Petra van der Schoot

Rik Buter

Caro Rambonnet

It stressed the exceptional position of The Hague in the field of the arts, but it also indicated that that doesn’t happen just like that.

Bertus Gerssen

Marjolijn van der Meij (with a nod to George Stubbs)

Less than thirty years ago The Hague was a provincial backwater.

Ton Schuttelaar

Annemieke Louwerens

Bringing it where it is now, has taken a lot of energy.

Sogo Show

Ingrid Rollema

However, art life in The Hague is still very vulnerable.

Nies Vooijs

Zeger Reyers

Main point is that it should be recognised that the development of a blossoming artistic life in The Hague is up to its artists and its artists’ initiatives and not to the local authorities’ hobbies.

Machiel van Soest

Rens Krikhaar

Geeske Harting

Therefore it is heart warming to see artists trying to take back the initiative.

Mekhila Harrison

Riet Vooijs

Of course this can only be a beginning, and in itself the event was modest in almost everything.

Paul de Jong

Jordan Herregraven

Tejo Philips

175 works of art were put up for sale, each for E300 or less, and so the works on show were small.

Erik-Jan Ligtvoet

Erik-Jan Ligtvoet

However, what it lacked in dimensions, it won in diversity.

Harold de Bree

Gino Anthonisse

This diversity is one of the best assets of art life in The Hague.

Hein van Liempd

Wieteke Heldens

Here i show you thirty of the works i found most interesting and best photographable.

Zahar Bondar

Topp & Dubio

A very personal choice of course, but that’s the risk of reading Villa Next Door.

Jeannette Slütter

Ilona Senghore

Jessica de Wolf

By the way, while writing these words, extra measures were announced by the government to cope with the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, so, the title of the open letter that accompanied the event Don’t forget the artists! has become even more urgent.

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© Villa Next Door 2020

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

Bertus Pieters


Art in corona times 10. Harold de Bree, Borderlines; HOK Gallery, The Hague

Tiny HOK-gallery has reopened with new work by Harold de Bree (1966).

De Bree took his copper plates, or rather printed circuit boards used in computers, to the border of the two Koreas, on the South Korean side.

He prepared them with paint and went to see what he could do with them in a heavily militarised border zone like the Korean where he also visited many old battlefields from the Korean War (1950-1953).

In the end they became a kind of dialogue between the landscape and the prepared plates themselves.

It wasn’t possible to take photographs of the landscape, while just making compositions with found objects from the military zone was too superficial.

So De Bree used found objects to scratch the landscape – the hills but also the dams that were built on both sides of the border – into the copper plates.

As such he made a series of works that are open to a wide range of interpretations.

They defy the ban on publicly showing certain details of the border area.

On the other hand the surface of the works are blurred and only the graphic lines of the hilltops and the dams impose themselves as abstract lines.

To make the experience complete, you are allowed to be alone for ten minutes with the works in the gallery on Saturdays or you may see them by appointment.

Any way you choose, they are good works to see in real as they change by any change of light, becoming copperplates of both defiance and acquiescence.

© Villa Next Door 2020

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Harold de Bree and to HOK Gallery, 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



Christie van der Haak and guests: Different than Usual; Galerie Maurits van de Laar, The Hague

Hélène Penninga

Well, there you are: i proposed to publish only a few pictures as a teaser for what i think you should really go and see.

Christie van der Haak

Christie van der Haak

Jos de l’Orme

Jos de l’Orme

But then, when selecting pictures for this post, i was overcome by the same kind of drunkenness you get when seeing this exhibition, and here are far more pictures than i wanted to publish intially.

Katia Borghesi

Katia Borghesi

Peter Vos, Ellen van Dijk

Source of this drunkenness is Christie van der Haak (1950), or rather her work.

Peter Vos

Peter Vos

Ellen van Dijk

She invited sixteen guest artists to show their works against the backdrop of her own wall decorations at Galerie Maurits van de Laar.

Ellen van Dijk

Marjolijn van der Meij

Marjolijn van der Meij

Hélène Penninga

At the opening one of the artists called it a dialogue, which i think is the right idea.

Christie van der Haak

Pim Piët

Pim Piët

But it is also a declaration of love for the works of these very different artists and even for art in general.

Diederik Gerlach

Christie van der Haak

Christie van der Haak

Most of them are no artists of the gallery, some of them are household names (at least in The Hague), some of them are quite unknown here behind the dunes, which makes the show all the more interesting.

Diederik Gerlach

Anya Belyat Giunta, Elise Hageman

Anya Belyat Giunta

Elise Hageman

Generally, Van der Haak’s decorations give an extra dimension to the works of the other artists.

David Pedraza

Theun Govers

Marcel Zalme, Reinoud van Vught, Harold de Bree

It stresses their peculiarity, or even their mystery, if you wish.

Marcel Zalme

Reinoud van Vught

Harold de Bree

It is as if everything takes place within one big frame story which leads you to all kinds of different narratives and temperaments, all glowing with their own characteristics.

Nynke Koster

© Villa Next Door 2020

Contents of all photographs courtesy to all artists and Galerie Maurits van de Laar, Den Haag.

Bertus Pieters


Harold de Bree, SSIXS; HOK Gallery, The Hague

Harold de Bree (1966) presently shows some works on copper at HOK gallery, The Hague’s smallest commercial gallery.

As usual there is a military link to De Bree’s work.

In the background you’ll hear short wave radio codes spoken and other sinister radio noises which are clearly not meant to be understood by a nosy listener.

That is probably also the best way to appreciate these copper works: copper as a conductive metal on which codes are splashed and painted, even engraved, on which the changing light also brings a kind of sinister visible noises.

Codes disguised as neat abstract paintings.

But i must admit i like the paintings apart from all that.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Content of all photographs courtesy to Harold de Bree and HOK Gallery, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters