Although the reasons for its closure are understandable, the fact itself is disturbing as it is not the first high quality art gallery in The Hague that ceases to exist. During the last few years Twelve Twelve Gallery, A Gallery Named Sue and Galerie Nouvelles Images also stopped, which is quite a loss for the extremely important diversity of what this city has on offer artistically.
Of course i wish all the former gallerists the best and i still hope to see more of the works by the artists they represented but the artistic impoverishment is quite saddening. As for Hoorn & Reniers: it represented quite young artists, especially painters both Dutch and from the German speaking countries, which was an enormous enrichment of the international scope of The Hague.
What remains is to be very grateful for what the gentlemen presented in their gallery.
Undeniably Gögel is a painter in the German tradition (which is a much longer and richer tradition than most Dutch art viewers seem to realise).
Painting itself in Europe is an act in which tradition weighs heavily on one’s shoulders.
So if you really want to be a good painter you must take that for granted, whether you like it or not.
Gögel seems to be well aware of that; he survives it and builds his own work on top of it.
His work has very much matured since it was last seen in this city about a decade ago.
Some echoes of the Neuen Wilden of around 1980 are clear in this exhibition, also in his combining of the figurative and the abstract.
But there is a big difference as the sense of life has changed radically since the 1980s.
Today we live in a post-almost-everything culture in which Gögel has chosen to fly the banners of painting, not to be stubbornly traditional or to vehemently jump on the brakes of time, but clearly because it is (probably at least to him) the self-evident way of expression.
The German aspect is especially in the constant battle between content and composition, between imagination and expression.
There are some exceptionally fine portraits on show, but the exhibition on the whole has a lot more to offer, so it is warmly recommended as far as i’m concerned.