The Thomas Huber solo show at Akinci reminds me a little of the Atelier van Lieshout one at Grimm, which I reviewed here last December – if anything because they both revolve around the construction of an imaginary city. But while AVL's was a three-dimensional, all-encompassing experience, Huber's is more of an old-fashioned dip in metaphysical landscapes, à la de Chirico. The Zurich-born artist invites the viewer to visit his urban creation either through the contemplation of immersive paint... [more]
The sky is falling. Bubbles, heavy with pigment, descend from the rafters and settle into an expansive yet cluttered composition, a field of polychrome pathways and possibilities. These sixty-eight technicolor spheres, some more than four meters in diameter, disrupt your sense of scale. Are you a giant witness to some rare celestial phenomenon, some interplanetary cluster? Or are you miniature, a Lilliputian lost in an explosion of fluorescent birthday party balloons? Your wanderings uncover a rack o... [more]
Honestly, I've never been a big fan of Cobra and their brand of playful semi-figuration, although that is primarily due to me not really being a painting guy (to stay within the movement, I'd take one of Robert Jacobsen's primitivism-infused industrial artifacts over a Karel Appel painting any day). As geographically de-centered as the group of artists involved was (Copenhagen-Brussels-Amsterdam, hence the name), their legacy lives on in Amstelveen's Cobra Museum. And, it turns out, the movement... [more]
Clutching cups of tea from thermos flasks to warm our hands on a cold evening in a classroom-like space at NASA (New Art Space Amsterdam), I and roughly thirty others listened to a Dutch film maker expressing his love for a 19th century anarchist. Cees Hin, one of the evening’s speakers, had grown great affection for Voltairine de Cleyre. Especially after googling her name and seeing her eyes – her words had apparently made less of an impression on him than her looks. De Cleyre (1866 - 1912),... [more]
Spanish-born artist Libia Castro and Icelandic-born Ólafur Ólafsson investigate the subjects of universal injustice, inequality, and power relations employing a variety of media in their quest to highlight imbalances in present-day political, social and economic realities. Asymmetry at TENT Rotterdam is the Rotterdam Berlin-based duo’s first retrospective in the Netherlands. Curated by Adam Budak, the show features work spanning a ten-year work period including video installations, sound and sculp... [more]
The scraped urban aesthetics of the former Soviet bloc seem to be ubiquitous in contemporary art right now. I guess there's nothing quite like a pale concrete block standing against the sky to satisfy our taste for minimalism and tickle our romantic nerves at the same time. But in Elian Somers' work at SMBA wild greenery is perhaps even more prominent than the built environment.
In her Border Theories series, the Dutch photographer – and architecture graduate – depicts three Russian cities th... [more]
The first time I encountered Jan De Cock's lacquered steel frames and wooden planks was at Repromotion, the artist's 2010 solo show at Galerie Fons Welters. I remember wandering across the gallery space for a while, looking not as much at the sculptures as through them, since they framed and expanded each other in an intricate game of perspectives and shapes. Such fractalization of the room intrigued me and, as I took several pictures, I grew further fascinated by my own reframing of De Cock's wo... [more]
With the dull smell of hired carpet and the overkill of artificial smiles, art fairs can be the kind of places where, if it wasn't for the rare chance that you may bump into Will Ferrell, you'd rather shoot yourself in the appendix than waste your time by hanging around.
But then there's this one. The art fair in Rotterdam is coming up and, as a welcome breath of fresh air, the city is about to show us some good old-fashioned character with which we can feed, instead of deplete our tender souls.... [more]
I’ve had a soft spot for Art Rotterdam ever since the first time I attended. Pausing to drink a coffee (Illy no doubt) and consolidate notes on what I’d so far seen, I looked out one of the former Holland America Line Cruise Terminal’s giant windows to have my tired gaze met by the spectacular Erasmus Bridge. Visitors, this is my advice to you: no matter how disoriented, claustrophobic, or weary you get collecting business cards and taking mnemonic photographs of artwork you are soon to fo... [more]
Art loving Amsterdam!! Where were you on Saturday?? Yes, the relentless cold and three inches of snow made the Van Ostadestraat a treacherous destination, but I'd expected the Dutch to be more courageous, ready to brave the weather for something good and a free beer. The opening of Izaak Zwartjes' exhibition at the Upstream Gallery was, apart from a few bespectacled friends who enthusiastically exchanged ideas gathered around the drinks table, deserted. It was unusually quiet. Undeservingly so.
When entering A Matter of Time and Space at W139, the first thing you encounter is a horse's ass. Not very inviting, no, even blatantly rude. The ass, staring you in the face from its shiny white plinth, is part of Matthijs Bosman’s installation A Monument to Courageous Failure (2012). The entire piece resembles a monument: very classical, man on horse. It's not a beautiful piece - not trying to be either. It’s bluntly grotesque, made from the patently incompatible materials of chicken wire covere... [more]
There was a lot to see in Amsterdam in 2012, but for this recap let’s forget about your Kings and Queens and Ultimate Grand Supremes. We’re not like our attention-seeking neighbors with their fancypants dOCUMENTAs and Manifestas. It’s the Most Photogenic and Miss Congeniality portion of the evening, folks, and while the following might not have been the best or worst of Amsterdam overall, they were the best or worst at something. So cheers for that.
Drumroll please! Herewith, our annual select... [more]
Ever listen to an old soul or funk album and have one of those revelatory “so this is where Coolio got that sample” moments? The long awaited Mike Kelley retrospective at the Stedelijk guarantees a few of these embarrassing, how-did-I-not-know-this realizations. Embrace it, as embarrassment finds a companionable home in Kelley’s work, where youthful traumas, anxieties, and repressed memories come out to play – one of his later projects literally pairs Color Field painting with YouTube vi... [more]
Coming across Atelier Van Lieshout is easy in this part of the world. From public installations to office furniture, the Rotterdam-based collective/studio founded in the mid-90s by Joep van Lieshout is ubiquitous. Unpolished and organic aesthetics mark AVL's designs, making their utopian pavilions a little sinister and their commercial tables quite quirky (not to mention expensive).
On the whole, the collective's production is more complex than its bleak yet playful sculptures and environments might... [more]
British artist Conrad Shawcross is perhaps best known for his huge rope-making machines. Part Jean Tinguely contraption, part Erector Set, these enormous, slow-spinning sculptural devices are loaded with multicolored bobbins and are large enough to fill subway tunnels and museum atria. The rainbow ropes they create as a function of their operation are both a measure of time and sculptures in their own right. Galerie Gabriel Rolt, which is currently hosting Shawcross’s first Amsterdam solo sho... [more]
Eternal Return at the End (and Beginning) of an Art Venue by Nicola Bozzi Bojan Šarčević, Thomas Bakker, PEDRO BARATEIRO, Melanie Bonajo, Mariana Castillo Deball, Heman Chong, Jonas Dahlberg, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Gintaras Didžiapetris, Thea Djordjadze, Zoro Feigl, Hella Jongerius, Surasi Kusolwong, Runo Lagomarsino, Joris Lindhout, Goshka Macuga, Raimundas Malašauskas, Jankovics Marcell, Girolamo Marri, Onco Tattje, Bik van der Pol, Barbara Visser, Freek Wambacq at SMART Project Space
November 3rd, 2012 - December 30th, 2012
As a project space, SMART's goal has always been to involve artists at a deeper level than regular institutions. In the past couple of years, the Statements series has been bringing to Amsterdam internationally renowned artists like the Russian collective Chto Delat or Nathaniel Mellors, putting them in a curatorial position rather than merely presenting a retrospective of their work. From time to time, different guests have reached out for the participation of the audience, external actors, or othe... [more]