EXPO: Barbara Galvács – Dignity

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.

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On my affair with UNSEEN Amsterdam

I should have been blogging day and night the last week as UNSEEN Amsterdam was on fire and I was there to make sure I get close enough. (Well. I am always there, all day every day as a devoted volunteer, ready to serve, ever since the very first festival back in 2012.)

Since it is sort of late to come up with a long and meaningful post I will simply let you know who and what was my favourite. You all are dying to know, after all.

Whoever missed the somewhat hidden Amsterdam Diorama by Sohei Nishino should start Googling it like crazy. It’s one jaw-dropping master piece. (Despite the fact that it’s made of 1000 smaller prints.) If I had the money I would buy the whole thing along with a canal house with a wall big enough for that gorgeous, captivating, inspiring work of art. It was really, really hard to walk away.

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Stina Gromark and Louise Naunton’s Human Printer was something I didn’t find very interesting – until the moment I started to help them. I love the concept! And I am the happiest person ever that I was given the chance to work on their biggest piece so far.

My favourite gallery remains M97 from Shanghai with their bold, experimental imagery. If there is only one UNSEEN artist you are willing to check out make it Wang Ningde. Impressive stuff.

It is pretty hard to tell you which photographer’s work I liked the most. 53 galleries… 53 GALLERIES!!! Not to mention the side projects. Nevertheless, Michael Wolf’s series taken in Paris was the first one that made me stop and stand still for long, long minutes. That’s a good enough reason to mention him here, isn’t it?

[Paris Tree Shadows no. 4 by Michael Wolf, 2014]

It was another wonderful week full of stirring vibes. New friends, lovely summer weather, talented artists everywhere. Volunteering at UNSEEN is a highlight of the year. See you there again in about 357 days.