There are two things I love about autumn: its photogenic lights and the beginning of the cultural season.
This year I started with NEU NOW, a festival that I had never visited before. The website was at least as intriguing as it was confusing so I got a ticket. It turned out to be a total waste of money as all my schedule allowed me to attend was the exposition that is free of charge…
To be fair when I was complaining about the fact that the website was not clear on this at all they were more than cooperative and even though I couldn’t get my money back I left with a very good impression.
NEU NOW is tiny – or at least much smaller than what I expected. Nevertheless it delivers on quality: Europe’s emerging talent couldn’t be any more promising.
Jaeyong Choi’s ‘Mass’ is mortifying and fascinating at the very same time. Reminds me of artistic experiments of my own a while ago – in a properly executed version and on a scale I would have never even dreamt of. A plastic cloud of human connections. I can’t help but think of one’s inevitable struggles by drowning in today’s fabricated social media “reality”, just like an unsuspecting fish swimming around in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And then onto the wonderful photography of Viktorija Eksta. A story of the possible life of a Latvian woman somewhere in the countryside, based on real life legacy someone left behind. An abandoned house full of faded hopes and desires, a tactile memoire, reenacted, reinterpreted. I cannot imagine any better way to be remembered.
NEU NOW was an excellent choice to start the season, I will definitely show up next year as well. And now on to UNSEEN, then Paris Photo, here I come.
For the complete list of participating artists please click here.
Before I even start describing what is going on in the back room of VondelCS I must admit: Barbara Galvács is a dear friend of mine, a companion in emotional times. I’m unquestionably biased.
Now that you are aware, I can introduce you to this group exhibition in the midst of the beautiful greenery of Vondelpark. An excellent spot to show (off) what you got. Barbara Galvács, Cissie van der Ven and Juel McNeilly joined forces with Ingeborg Brounts to introduce you to what they call the ‘female identity’. A hip topic these days, especially after the Olympic Games bringing up all the discrimination women have to deal with. Being a woman isn’t easy. (For the record, I’m not saying it’s easy to be a man, but let’s talk about that another time.)
Galvács’s photography is fragile, in the most noble sense. It’s like a beautifully arranged set of stained glass windows in conversation with one another. No meaningless chatter but dignified, deep thoughts bring them together. Wise words whispered from one suffering body to another, the proof of virtue and the strength of the human soul.
Cissie van der Ven’s self portraits are a radiant match – quite literally. Daring reflections of alter egos we all long to prove at some point in life. Most of us never ventures into the fancy worlds of animal prints and nipple pasties though. Sometimes I wonder: would it be a better place with less self-consciousness – or just a world where selfie sticks are on the lower levels of Maslow’s pyramid.
Ed van Teeseling’s Rubenesque sculptures, thanks to the collaboration with Ingeborg Brounts, the late artist’s wife, and Juel McNeilly’s collection of light-hearted (yet thought-provoking) street interviews make the exposition complete.
I am convinced there is nothing better you could spend 30 minutes of your free time on. Go grab a coffee and look around in that back room of VondelCS. You have until 4th September.