Art in corona times 13. focus loslaten | ontspannen (let loose focus | relax); Trixie, The Hague

Let loose focus | relax

 

I don’t know. Maybe it’s the generational divide. I brought my camera to Trixie, in case there would be something to make pictures of. But there wasn’t anything worth photographing without becoming cynical. And i don’t want to become cynical about something i still believe was made with some kind of attention and care. I was offered some camomile tea and i walked around with it, looking at the kitsch hanging on the walls. Then some music started which didn’t make me feel “encouraged to self reflect while visiting the space,” as the invitation stated. Indeed, self reflecting i was thinking, what the heck am i doing here? I had come to a place with things that didn’t interest me, with a bunch of people that were busy amongst themselves, which reminded me of the 1970s. To be short: i felt obsolete and so i left the place.

Maybe you’ll have another and more precious experience than i had if you pay focus loslaten | ontspannen a visit which is still possible Friday and over the weekend. (opened 16.00 – 22.00 hrs; because of Covid-19 measures you have to send them an e-mail to tell when you would like to come; tea and waffles are present)

© Villa Next Door 2020

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

Bertus Pieters

VILLA NEXT DOOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADVERTISING ON THIS PAGE!!

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 stay-go.nl. 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

VILLA NEXT DOOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADVERTISING ON THIS PAGE!!

 

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

 

VILLA NEXT DOOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADVERTISING ON THIS PAGE!

An Indefinite Terrain; Trixie, The Hague

Brigitte Louter

The invitation read: “A confrontation of a man with speeding uprise of technology and existing in the sarcastic post-postmodern world has led to the condition when one no longer finds it bearable to exist in the society overpowered by the hyper real. With the explosion of digital media one finds it hard to relate back to their own body, land, nature. A longing for not the past, but the times when mind, body and nature weren’t in mutually abusive relationships has crystalized in the very essence of this exhibition. By relating on natural materials and strong storytelling the selected artists attempt to claim back what’s theirs – the physicality of their body; the authenticity of their touch, breath, brushstroke; the utter connection to planet Earth and earthly beings.”

Brigitte Louter
Brigitte Louter
Brigitte Louter

Come on, folks! Not again this stumbling, quasi-international language! Either write it in poetry or just say what you want.

Brigitte Louter
Emma van Noort

An Indefinite Terrain was a very short running exhibition last weekend at Trixie.

Iliada Charalambous
Iliada Charalambous
Iliada Charalambous

The general mood was one of defiance, challenging present day society which keeps you constantly busy with its obtrusive and indeed unnecessary requirements.

Iliada Charalambous; background, left to right: Debbie Young, Emma van Noort, Brigitte Louter
Debbie Young

Here were six artists, Katerina Sidorova, Iliada Charalambous, Gijsje Heemskerk, Debbie Young, Emma van Noort and Brigitte Louter, who tried to recapture their independent minds against the odds.

Iliada Charalambous
Iliada Charalambous
Emma van Noort
Emma van Noort

Former show room Trixie seems to be just the right place for it.

Emma van Noort
Katerina Sidorova

The show itself, as well as many of the works, were characteristically makeshift, as if exhibiting, and indeed making art, has become a matter of hit and run in these post-postmodern times.

Gijsje Heemskerk
Gijsje Heemskerk
Gijsje Heemskerk

In itself that is fine as it shows developments and basic ideas.

Gijsje Heemskerk
Gijsje Heemskerk

The danger is that works become too transient to be really meaningful.

Top to bottom (sic): Iliada Charalambous, Katerina Sidorova
Katerina Sidorova
Debbie Young

And if it is hit and run, i’d suggest to hit harder as i’m sure you can!

© Villa Next Door 2019

Content of all photographs courtesy to the artists and Trixie, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters