Exhibition: In Delta Flux
18 - 25 December 2013
An exhibition about the Netherlands as a transitory space: wandering souls, remarkable acquaintances and interactions between humans and the landscape they inhabit. Transgression and thrill-seeking combined with the comfort of repetition and protocol, all with a Dutch flavor.
Performance Art and Land Art were influential in the Dutch art scene of the 1970s. Several artists who were internationally important in these genres made their work in the Netherlands. Bas Jan Ader still speaks to the imagination of many contemporary artists, and not only because of his mysterious death. Marina Abramović, known for her performances in which she tested the limits of physical endurance and the boundaries of the human body, produced and presented several significant performances in Amsterdam. Land Art pieces by major artists like Marinus Boezem and Robert Smithson can still be found in the Dutch landscape. Several works in the In Delta Flux exhibition echo the influence of the iconic Land Art and Performance Artists from the past but transpose their heritage to more contemporary times and settings.
Other works in the exhibition portray the people and (sub)cultures of the Netherlands. Here, extremes meet. The Netherlands is known to many as being liberal and progressive when it comes to drugs, sexuality, gay rights and other issues concerning individual freedom. But the Netherlands also has a history in which religion was very important and Christianity had a huge influence on Dutch society. The influence of the Church on Dutch society has diminished by now, although one might wonder how much of it is still embedded, subliminally or not, in the attitudes and views of the average Dutch citizen. The Church as an institution has become marginalized, a sub-culture like any other, and new, more pagan religions have emerged.
Curated by Arjon Dunnewind, Impakt Festival, impakt.nl
Jacobine van Hellemond, Casa Rosso
The Netherlands 2010, 2:40 mins
Casa Rosso shows the world behind the curtains of a live sex show in Amsterdam. The rhythm of artists going onto the stage and off again takes place in automated surroundings. Bodies move around, seemingly propelled by the movement of the stage mechanics. The rattling of the curtains, the stairs that loom up from the stage give the artists’ actions the same value as the mechanism in which they work.
Henk Otte, Orde van Dienst
The Netherlands 2012, 6:51 mins
In the 16th century, the Reformation took place in Western Europe. The Reformed Church that arose from this Reformation held tight to sober traditions, rituals and dogmas. It developed into an institute that transformed beliefs into an organized religion and specified how Christianity should be experienced. Orde van Dienst is based on Internet broadcasts of services given by the Reformed Church of Spakenburg Noord.
Jan Hoek, Me & My Models
The Netherlands 2012, 11:14 mins
Jan Hoek photographs amateur models, mentally ill homeless people in Africa who look like kings, a girl with no arms and legs, a heroin addict who dreams of being a star, or people he simply finds in advertisements on the Internet. The photo shoots never are what he expects. The model and the photographer always have different expectations: the model wants to have sex while Jan only wants to shoot the model’s dog, or the model tries to be as glamorous as possible, while Jan wants to show decay. Portrait photography is not just about the image but also the relationship between the photographer and the model. How far can a photographer go with his models? In Me & My Models, Jan talks about the nasty, funny, painful or touching things that happen with his photo shoots.
“I believe there is always a certain degree of ethics involved in photography. It is almost impossible to take photographs of people without consciously or unconsciously crossing boundaries, without things happening that you don’t want or expect. I feel this is often covered up in photography, while I would like to show it.” (Jan Hoek)
Tim Leyendekker, The Healers
The Netherlands 2010, 9:40 mins (16mm and HDV transferred to 35mm)
The gay party scene presented in a triptych: the thrills of the night, the location, the date. With surgical precision, Tim Leyendekker dissects a social environment held together by illusions in a deconstructive reconstruction of a memory set in the nightlife of Rotterdam in the 90s. Layers that are normally merged together to form a cinematographic entity are stripped bare and presented separately in order to provoke the boundaries of the constructed narrative.
Guido van de Werve, Nummer vier (I don’t want to get involved in this I don’t want to be a part of this Talk me out of it)
The Netherlands 2005, 11:47 mins (35mm to video, color, sound)
Some things are as inevitable as gravity, however much we would like to avoid them – with which the subtitle of this piece whole-heartedly agrees. In Nummer vier, Guido van der Werve presents a contemporary form of spleen: nineteenth-century melancholy mixed with Dutch sobriety and conceptual timing. Over and over again, we see an unlikely scene unfolding against a picturesque and serene background: a man playing a piano on a raft in the middle of a smooth lake; a choir and orchestra performing a requiem on a ship under sail; someone falling from the sky. Nothing world-shattering, but these are the ingredients with which Nummer vier introduces important issues: nature, art, beauty, life, death. Subjects that no one can avoid, neither as a human being nor as an artist, but that can be defied – just like gravity. (text by LIMA / NIMk, Vinken & Van Kamen)
Melanie Bonajo, Matrix Botanica
The Netherlands 2013, 22:26 mins
Matrix Botanica is about the dominance of man over nature. Part of the work was shot during a performance held at the Green Cathedral, a Land Art project by the Dutch artist Marinus Boezem. The Green Cathedral (De Groene Kathedraal) is an artistic planting of Lombardy poplars near the city of Almere in the Netherlands. The work mimics the size and shape of an actual cathedral. In the second part of her film, Bonajo shows the indigenous people of the Netherlands gathering for a ceremony in the Green Cathedral.
In Matrix Botanica, Melanie Bonajo argues that all people are indigenous to somewhere and, alongside all other life forms, belong to the earth. In her view, our relation with nature is to recognize it not as a constellation of things but of creative, self-directed, originative others. There is a beauty in caring for things like trees, rivers, forests, grasses and mountains as friends. Matrix Botanica tries to disband the model of human identity as being only minimally and accidentally connected to the earth.
Jeroen Eisinga, 40-44-PG
The Netherlands 1993, 3:01 mins (16 mm-film to SD-Video, color, sound)
“The Volkswagen Beetle in this film belonged to my twin brother Bart. The license plate is the title of the film. The location is our hometown of Waspik, a small village in the South of the Netherlands. We drove around in this car for many years, and during our year of mutual unemployment we occasionally did this stunt to spice up our long days. It was our own version of train surfing or Russian roulette. The car drove around in circles with no driver in it. The wheel was tied with a rope and there was a brick on the pedal. One of us would walk around blindfolded, trying to dodge the car and trying not to get run over. The other one would watch and cheer, ‘to the left’ or ‘to the right’; ‘move on’ or ‘watch out!’ I decided to reenact this pastime or rite of passage. In this performance, I did the walking and Bart filmed it, enabling me to see what I could not see with my own eyes.” (Jeroen Eisinga)
Erik Wesselo, Düffels Möll
The Netherlands 1997, 5:24mins (16 mm color film, no sound. Aspect ratio: 4:3)
The artist Erik Wesselo is bound to the sail of a windmill rotating swiftly counterclockwise. The movements of the camera are gentle, smooth and strangely hypnotic. Initially the camera follows him closely, with only his body and a section of the sail visible. There is no sound. Slowly the camera begins to zoom out, revealing the windmill’s monumentality and the vastness of the surrounding landscape. In the final minutes of the film, the camera returns to a close position, but this time the movements are aggressive and disorienting. The film concludes with the blades of the windmill coming to a stop.
By binding himself to the windmill, Wesselo is simultaneously empowered and powerless. Flying through the air at great heights, he experiences the rush of being able to survey his surroundings from a new perspective. At the same time, Wesselo’s movement is dictated by the forces of nature. Using camerawork to parallel his psychological experience, Wesselo interchanges the particular and the infinite to convey a range of internal emotions. Not only interested in paying homage to his native landscape and to Holland’s history of painting, his gesture also establishes his position within the context of Dutch art. (Source: Apex Art, New York, 2001)