Art in corona times 3. Jan Wattjes, White Noise & Ryan Mendoza, Welcome in America; Livingstone Gallery, The Hague

Jan Wattjes (wall), Raquel Maulwurf (floor)

In January i attended the opening at Livingstone Gallery of its present exhibitions of works by Jan Wattjes (1981) and Ryan Mendoza (1971).

Jan Wattjes
Jan Wattjes

By now that seems ages ago, so i decided to see under which conditions i could visit the gallery.

Jan Wattjes
Jan Wattjes

I had already seen that the exhibition had been extended over the month of May.

Jan Wattjes
Jan Wattjes

There were no other restrictions for a visit than the usual ones under the circumstances.

Jan Wattjes

Not having seen each other since the pre-corona era, we had of course lots to discuss, as both the gallerist and me don’t need much stimulus to talk.

Jan Wattjes

In March the gallery had taken part in VOLTA, New York and some of the works shown there still stood packed in the gallery, three works by Raquel Maulwurf (1975) making a good counterpoint to Jan Wattjes’ wonderful pentaptych.

Adriaan Rees

Wattjes’ paintings in which both surface and space play an important – even monumental – role, contrast with some other works also on show which more or less deal with the human condition of the artist.

Ryan Mendoza

In the adjoining space are some paintings and drawings by Mendoza on show.

Ryan Mendoza
Ryan Mendoza

Talking about the human condition of the artist, Mendoza’s works are especially about the human condition of man in general and in America in particular.

Ryan Mendoza
Raquel Maulwurf, Ryan Mendoza

Mendoza’s works share the space with Maulwurf’s bathtub, part of her exhibition last winter.

Jan Wattjes

© Villa Next Door 2020

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

Bertus Pieters


Adriaan Rees, The White Album; Livingstone Gallery, The Hague

Adriaan Rees (1957) works both in the Netherlands and in China.

That has a clear impact on his work as can be seen in his impressive porcelain works.

One of them, This is my country I, is currently on show in a small presentation of his work in Livingstone Gallery.

Chinese mountains, Dutch landscape, porcelain, paint and the seasons are combined in one big, fragmented installation.

The idea of wandering in the World comes back in his reminiscences of Caspar David Friedrich’s (1774-1840) paintings.

At the moment Rees also has an exhibition in Museum Beelden aan Zee.

However, to be able to relate intimately with Rees’ work this modest but not unassuming presentation at Livingstone shouldn’t be missed.

The works are still on show there this week.

© Villa Next Door 2020

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Adriaan Rees and Livingstone Gallery, Den Haag.

Bertus Pieters


Raquel Maulwurf, Night Fall; Livingstone Gallery, The Hague

Carbon is our friend and foe.

It is the main substance of the material with which Raquel Maulwurf (1975) makes her drawings with which she gives the viewer an almost sublime experience.

The carbon in her charcoal and black chalk creates the darkness of the universe in which stars or whole galaxies light up, or the nocturnal rolling waves of a deep ocean without any signs of life.

However, she also shows the material itself which is being burned to give us heat and light.

Carbon as it is mined as coal, has taken thousands or even millions of years to be formed, while we may change it into smoke and ashes in less than a day, and polluting our environment when doing so.

Also charcoal, Maulwurf’s main material, is the result of burning wood, destruction by fire.

This dualistic quality is also in her present show at Livingstone Gallery where she shows installations and both monumental and smaller drawings in an impressive ensemble.

© Villa Next Door 2020

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Raquel Maulwurf and Livingstone Gallery, Den Haag.

Bertus Pieters


Ingrid Simons, Dämmerung (Twilight); Livingstone Gallery, The Hague

Ingrid Simons (1976) presently shows paintings at Livingstone Gallery.

She mainly paints landscapes.

Although the landscape seems to be just a vehicle for expressive painting with sometimes heavy impasto in abstract compositions, she retains the depth of a landscape in her works.

She is especially fascinated by the blue hour just before sunrise and the twilight after sunset.

At the gallery is also a new book for sale about her work, with a text by amongst others Rick Vercauteren and an introduction by yours truly.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Ingrid Simons and Livingstone Gallery, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

Klaas Gubbels, Tafels, Tables, Tische, Tavoli; Livingstone Gallery, The Hague

The still-life has always been a genre of thought and reflection.

Klaas Gubbels, at 85, shows some works at Livingstone Gallery in which especially the table, the base of many a still-life, plays an important role.

The different parts of his still-lives make an abstract composition on one hand, but also become new characters on the other hand.

It all depends on the way he paints them.

The way of painting – the brushwork, the colours, the proportions – always dictates the compositions and the meaning.

In the end these are not just depictions of tables and what may be on and around them, they are abstract works of painterly thought.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Klaas Gubbels and Livingstone Gallery, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

Manfred Schneider, Helio Trope Sleep; Livingstone Gallery, The Hague

Livingstone Gallery has a modest but interesting presentation of an installation and mainly text works by Manfred Schneider (1959).

The phrases in the text works seem to be a hotchpotch of disconnected profundities and ironic remarks, splinters of the human condition.


Of two bigger paintings one has phrases in the first-person singular and the other in the third-person singular, commenting artists’ life.


Modest as the exhibition is, the idea of language and its meaning and feeling expands from the purely visual language of the installation, along the paintings to a video in which jokes about artists are told in two different ways.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Manfred Schneider and to Livingstone Gallery, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

Aaron van Erp, The Drawings 1998-2018; Livingstone Gallery, The Hague

Livingstone Gallery presently celebrates Aaron van Erp (1978) and especially his drawings.

Some of the drawings are made on brown wrapping paper which gives Van Erp the opportunity to extra accentuate white and some bright colours, a bit like Jheronimus Bosch in the dark scenes of his apocalyptic fantasies.


Aaron van Erp 05a

However Bosch’s monsters have turned into common present day, somewhat balding men, accompanied by the achievements of postmodern leisure society.

Aaron van Erp 06a


Constant struggle, violence and self-inflicted disaster seem to be the only aim of day to day consumer life, presented by Van Erp with a strong sense of humour and without bitterness.

They are the laughing nightmares of painting and drawing history.

Additional to the drawings there are some paintings on show as well in which Van Erp puts his subjects in a sometimes hallucinating light and dark.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Content of all photographs courtesy to Aaron van Erp and Livingstone Gallery, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

Roger Wardin, A Perfect Storm; Livingstone Gallery, The Hague

Presently German painter Roger Wardin (1971) has an exhibition at Livingstone Gallery.

His works start with abstract painterly blots and spots over which he composes landscapes.

It is a fact that even in the most abstract paintings only one prominent horizontal line will give the depth of a landscape.

In Wardin’s paintings, with near-literary German theatricality, the abstract elements become a living, almost pregnant atmosphere in which it is difficult to see which is the real backdrop of his scenes: the trees, the sea, the horizon or the smudge and stains of the paint.

It is the last week of this show, so you have to hurry if you haven’t yet seen it.

© Villa Next Door 2018

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Roger Wardin and Livingstone Gallery, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters