In the last stretch of the afternoon I walked through the old stables where I ran into Tim Faber. I asked him what he liked best from what he’d seen so far. He took me to Femmy Ottens studio. Tim enjoys drawing himself, and he told me that even though her work looks at times printed or stuck on the wall, like a printed collage, almost all of it is drawn or painted on the surface of the studio directly.
Image & text by MJ
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
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
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.’
As I write this it’s 6.30pm and the restaurant/bar has started to get more crowded. People are enjoying the noodle soup from the restaurant and sharing their thoughts on the studios that they have seen today. Most of the comments on the Rijksakademie are almost monologues. The interesting kind ofcourse.
Even when we ask the visitors to give us just one word on de Rijksakademie, Dorian de Rijk, chooses to use the word; “GO” as a starting point.
For Dorian this visit to the Rijksakademie is worth to go to because it’s a great opportunity to get a sense of what is going on in the up and coming art scene. “It is like a museum for a weekend. The fact that there is so much you can see has it’s good side as well as bad side. Because it makes it hard to see everything and to take it all in.” The names of the artists she finds interesting she writes down. Thats why Dorian would like to be able to visit the Rijksakademie more often. “Maybe something like a projectspace with a changing exhibition, that would be great”. She sees the Rijksakademie as an inspiring place that is very important for the Dutch art scene.
Other words we heard in the restaurant:
(text MB, image RK)