Dan Walwin (1986, GB) presents a continuous loop HD video. The camera moves close to the ground. People are lying on the ground, their bodies gasp for breath, materials are waving, sounds come and go. The spectators are the observators of the observations of the camera. Are we witnessing a disaster, are we investigating an odd phenomenon?
ZE: ‘It is crowded today. When I entered the studio and watched the video I experienced some kind of peacefulness, which is strange because the images of human bodies gasping for breath are also quite disturbing. What do you think of this work in the context op the RijksakademieOPEN?’
DW: ‘In the context of the exhibition, well, I suppose that was how I was approaching it. Because the place where the film is set, the set with all the materials, is a kind of self-contained environment. So it makes sense to show it in also a quite self-contained environment that has its own conditions for viewing it.’
It is very crowded again in the halls where I would like to poll the opinion of visitors, and ask Ruben Pater about his impressions.
KP: Do you come here often?
RP: Well, actually it is my first time.
KP: What did you like best from what you saw?
RP: Well, I haven’t been here long, but there is a lot to see. I didn’t know there were so many residents. But some of them I have already seen at other places, like Manifesta, the quality of the art here is really high.
KP: Do you have expectations about the Rijksakademie Open?
RP: Not really, but I like to be surprised.
Image & text KP
The works of Ran Zhang (1981, CN/NL) invite the viewer to touch. It is so intriguing what it could be made of: it could be metal or ceramics, something chemical… but actually it’s paper and pigments. Very fragile and delicate.
KP: You use a variety of techniques and media.
RZ: Yes, this year I published a book and then I made analogue foto’s, basically three types of different media. Everything is based on paper mixed with pigment. I wanted to have contentwise and formwise this in-betweenness, in between recognition and non-recognition, you don’t really know how it’s made.
KP: How do people react to not recognising?
RZ: People tend to touch it, they really really wonder how it’s made, they are really curious.
Min Oh (1975, KR/NL) presents a video doubled with a 12-minutes performance in the manege. In the video we see a young woman performing some sort of ritual with several wooden objects. She moves over and around them. On the occassion of the RijksakademieOPEN this is doubled by a performance with the same actress. She loosely follows the routine that she performed for the video. The performer, the Belgian Lisa Vereertbrugghen, is in her last year of ‘Choreography and Performance’ at the School voor Nieuwe Dansontwikkeling.
ZE: ‘You perform this piece quite frequently during the RijksakademieOPEN. It looks exhausting! How do you experience the weekend?’
LV: ‘I think it’s interesting to see how it changes. Every performance is completely different, partly depending on my exhaustion. But also the public reacts differently every time. For example one time a man was really bored but the door was closed and he was the whole time emphasizing the fact that he wanted to leave. However usually the public is quiet.’
Then I turned to Min Oh.
ZE: ‘For me there were elements of neuroticism in your performance and video, but that is perhaps my personal experience. Where does your fascination with control and power come from?’
MO: ‘It is always present in my entire life. When I was young I became aware of the fact that I couldn’t control situations. I was always wondering how I could change that.
When I asked the twenty-four-year-old Fanny Durocher which artworks she valued remarkable she came up with Thomas Raat (amongst others). He placed a series of large-scale MDF panels against the walls. They are oil painted with striking colours and sharp shapes.
ZE: ‘What do you like about this work?’
FD: ‘The rest of the art is quite conceptual. This is also focussing on the materiality. I understand that in these times artists often want to move away from the material because they connect it to consumerism. But for me this is equally interesting. I really like this one, I think it’s a head in an abstract form – within it there is a labyrinth. Maybe it symbolizes that the human mind is a labyrinth? Because of the style and forms I also connect it to graphic design. It reminded me of classic modernist design and I like that. It has that association but it is not the same I think. It is very different. Also when you read the book it says a lot about philosophy and the sublime. Of course the works speak for themselves but I think the philosophy attaches another layer. It has much more depth in it. However it is very dense so I didn’t understand everything…’
Actually the work is based on book covers from paperback books about the bigger questions in life, from the late 1940s until early 1970s. You can read more about it in the book by Thomas Raat that’s available at the book shop and is published by Onomatopee. A book launch with Thomas Raat and Freek Lomme from Onomatopee takes place at 14.00 in the Rabo Room today.
Images AK, text ZE
Somewhere all the way upstairs you find the exhibition space of Pawel Kruk. I took the small ladder towards his space, a challenge that immediately connects you to the people that did the same to get there. You see each other struggling and conversation arises. That’s how I met Sarah. She tells me that she is one of the founders of an exhibition space in Cairo called Beirut. The work of Pawel is something she is really enthusiastic about, because it takes some effort to see it. “This exhibition space is hidden, but some of the works exhibited in it are too. Everything reads like a diary, his personal life seems encrypted in it. He also makes references to his other work, so you have to dig deep to understand everything – it’s not so accessible. For me, the details are really intriuging.”
Image & text by FS
Marc Oosting’s work feels pretty monumental, one room is filled with classical looking white vitrines, another showcases a solid granite block on which a captcha is printed, and the biggest eye catcher could very well be a big plaster wall in which a selection of names from Rijksakademie residents is written.
“You could see it all as archives, in one room a collection of names, in the other a collection of words, and both are registrations of an experience.”
Irina Popova (1986, RU) uses an alternative form of storytelling. Materials in her multiple narratives consist of photos, sand, stones and text. Is she in the process of burying the secrets of the past – her past, her mother country Russia’s past – or is she excavating them? I catched Lara Schoorl, a twenty-two-year-old art history student, wandering through Popova’s secret pasts.
ZE: ‘Do you have personal affiliations with Russia?’
LS: ‘Not really, but I don’t think that matters. This work is open to multiple interpretations, you can read your own story in it.’
ZE: ‘Do you feel like you’re close to her personal space?’
LS: ‘After reading the texts I do. But first I didn’t know whether these photos are personal or not. But given that this is about secrets you come quite close. Because of the sand and the stones it first felt quite lugubrious, especially the buried doll heads and teddy bear. It feels like someone is extremely dependent of control, the secrets and memories are simultaneously buried and kept. It’s almost obsessive.’
The work of Eric Giraudet de Boudemange is inspired by traditional games that local coal miners play in the mining area of Nord Pas-de-Calais, where the artist did research for a year. Giraudet de Boudemange aims to find new paths by way of self-created rituals. With Reinier Klok he talks more indepth about a particular game, that he’d like to play with other residents in the coming year.
Images by FS, interview by RK
Pawel Kruk bevindt zich in één van de hoogste ateliers, dat wil zeggen: veel trappen op, veel hoeken om, net zolang tot we de nok van de Rijksakademie bereikt hebben. Een overzichtelijke rotzooi kenmerkt het enorme atelier. Overzichtelijke, omdat objecten en spullen vrij willekeurig bij elkaar liggen, maar er veel stapeltjes zijn gemaakt, of rijtjes, met bijvoorbeeld lege kopjes, kinderkleren of rollen papier. Het wordt niet 1,2,3 duidelijk wat voor werk de Pools Amerikaanse Kruk maakt, omdat er nergens grote schilderijen hangen of sculpturen staan. Ik krijg mijn glas water in een omgespoeld verfpotje. Zo hoort het, bij echte kunstenaars.
Lees de rest van het artikel hier.
To ask Kurt Nahar to tell something about his work is the best thing you can do when visiting his presentation. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why he applied for a guest residency at the Rijksakademie. He claims this is a place where he has all space to dream, and where you can say all you want to say. Coming from Surinam, where he knows the art scene very well, he’s used to quite a different environment, where one experiences barriers in how freely you can speak.
Now that all doors are open Kurt is also confronted with all different types of artists the Rijksakademie hosts. There are some artists he never met, and who are mostly not at their studio during the RijksakademieOPEN, while he tries to make the most of the time he’s here and is almost at all time present at his presentation, eager to talk. He can relate most to other non-western artists or topics and was especially surprised to see “Living on Hope for a Long Time” by Crystal Z. Campbell, as her film tries to shine light on Jim Jones and the 1978 Jonestown tragedy. As it happened right next to Surinam and is threatened by obscurity, just what he fears to happen to the “December murders” in Surinam he investigated.
His installation reflects the investigation he did into the political murders of fifteen young Surinam men on December 6th, 7th, 8th, 1982 in a military coup by a group of men who are now part of the establishment. And which caused a political flight to the Netherlands. Here information about the murders is more public, and memorial services are held by relatives of the deceased.
Looking around in his studio you will find new documentation next to worn objects that testament to this tragedy, and of which some are direct loans from the relatives.
In the eyes of Kurt Nahar, K30 is not just another studio door, but another door opened to a traumatic event of a young nation.
Images MJ, text RK
Kids might be extremely critical while speaking about art. This is also one of the reasons why we decided to make a small series of interviews with kids. Daan is 6 years old and he has been drawing on one of the hallways while waiting for his mother.
“I like films mainly. The one when a man is turning around (Daan is demonstrating the movement) and the one with a tree destroying a house. Maybe I would like to be an artist too one day.” Daan is referring to artworks by Deniz Buga and Roderick Hietbrink.
(text AF, image JB)
I have noticed Sten several times sitting at different corners of the room, at the staircase, drinking most probably hot chocolate, watching people and looking a bit bored. To my surprise he spoke really enthusiastically about his experience visiting studios when I approached him and asked for an interview.
The studio he liked the most was the one with “lights, crazy pictures and some pictures which were not funny”. Unfortunately he did not remember the name of the artist but he would definitely recommend it to his friends to see it. He did not know what blog was, so most probably he will not read this but Sten thank you for your interview. Today we have many kids here and we hope they are all enjoying their visit as Sten did.
(text AF, image JB)
We meet Ayman Ramadan while multi-tasking. As he is on the phone having a conversation about Tahir Square he’s is cooking a traditional Egyptian meal: Koshari. Over the past weekend he has been making this meal for the visitors of his studio. And they all really like it. Everyday he had to make more.
With the Koshari Ayman brings Egypt a bit closer and with that the current developments. For Ayman eating together is also conversing and he can share a message trough the Koshari. The protestors on Tahir Square in Egypt eat this meal often. Because it is cheap and a very heavy meal it gets them through another day in tents on Tahir Square.
For Ayman this meal is also symbolic for the political situation in Egypt. Nine months after the revolution and the speech by Obama politics in Egyptian still haven’t improved.
Today it is the last day that Ayman makes his visitors Koshari, but it won’t be the last day that the protestors on Tahir Square eat it and that is a sad reality. When I ask Ayman what he will be doing after this weekend he says he’s going back home to Egypt. But not before he buys supplies that will be much needed at Tahir Square. Such as gas masks and medicine that helps against the tear gas that numbs the muscles.
When I ask Ayman if he believes that the situation in Egypt will change for the better he answers: “I choose to be hopeful”.
(Text MB, image JB)