…. a follow up to Dead Things and Boobs, KunstRAI
The day I went to KunstRAI started off like any other. Every morning I create the daily art installation of - “Getting Dressed.” Last Thursday’s installation was the one I created to go to KunstRAI. Okay, seeing myself as an opportunity for art may just be wonderful vanity, but it’s always been this way with me. My self expression is a well thought out composition, and I do it every day. SO - this is what I wore to KunstRAI….
And you can sort of see the issue with the B-word. Though not a massive contributor to my physique, my boobs do factor into this version of “Getting Dressed.” Breasts are an amazing accessory, and regardless of who’s got them, how they are presented is captivating. I got into a few rather lengthly conversations about art at KunstRAI, but noticed that there was quite a bit of shifting the eyes downward. I left wondering how much my frontal display played a part in the initial interest. And, by the way, DO NOT think for a second that it was just men who’s eyes wandered - I find that captivation is genderless when it comes to cleavage.
Thankfully, I was not alone in my over-involved self-expression. Self-image play’s heavily into the mulit-media work of V&B (Alex Jacobs & Ellemieke Schoenmaker) represented by Galerie Jaap Sleper in Utrecht. They consistently create the “Inception” of art - their art work is about creating art work - with titles like “Homage to the Observer,” “Procession on the Feast of Criticism,” and “In Search of the Miraculous (Studio Survival).” The imagery constantly points out the painful truth of being an artist. It takes more than talent - which they have in spades - but persistence to be an artist. At first the sculpture below is comical, but on closer inspection the faces express the sheer exhaustion of painting. They need a vacation, but then who would be there to break down the art world for us? The hustle and grind, the critics, the overwhelming amounts of work. It’s a sobering tale worth telling and even if it’s at their expense it’s working well for them.
Here’s a piece and some detail which I believe is from their show “PainterMania!” from late last year:
Since it was slow, Jaap Sleper was able to walk me through the wealth of his artists on display; Thursday morning was a perfect time to be there. His artists appeal to me as they seem to balance humor, composition and multiple medias with a certain amount of loose skill. Take Felix and Mumford’s work for example. In my opinion there’s not nearly enough funny embroidered art. The scene embroidered here on the prayer rug is essentially the Last Supper, but in rock opera style. To me, their work emphasizes the importance of taking onself a little less seriously when considering religion.
As a gallery owner, Sleper does quite a bit that is different. At KunstRAI he extended his display of artists to the back room - creating a behind the scenes speakeasy feel. And why not? It’s perfectly in line with the art shows he manages in empty spaces in Utrecht - displaying the work of emerging artists at lower costs and geared to their benefit. He’s got the right idea in this economy - Artists need more bulk exposure. Opportunities to show in larger venues within a larger community are critical for awareness - it brings art back to the people. To the every day - and that’s something that we all need.
Okay - enough rambling - here’s more art:
Thea Tolsma - recycled bicycle tire necklaces - I believe I may have seen her work at Junky Style in London a couple of years back, but nothing prepared me for what I saw when I googled her images - holy cow.
I first saw Erik Klien Wolterink’s work on the second gallery tour and was impressed with the physical layering of two images. Seeing this body of work in a group was great, AND I got to find out how he created these pieces. His old collection of family photos is the first print layer - he carefully cuts out the people and objects. The second print layer is what that same house looks like today. Modernized and bright, you can imagine what it would be like if you were able to go back to your old family home and do the same. The passage of time is so amazing and these images capture the transition beautifully. I have to admit I don’t resonate with his newer work, but these images are haunting me.
Okay - stimulating and surprisingly 100% fabricated skin work by Peter Zwaan. Okay - there’s some horse hair in there, but I am sure that the horse didn’t have to die to contribute.
Painted skulls by Gurt Swanenberg.
Lots of fake organic products - great display by Olaf Mooij, which I believe are from his collection “Relics of a Bygone Era.” I was surprised to see that the bulk of his work seems to be about the car - it’s an impressive collection of mobile art.
I was talking to Husband Dave about being oversaturated with art exposure - I think KunstRAI pushed my limit. There is amazing art out there and the more I see the more I feel compelled to get back into creating great work.
I am actively looking to make a mess somewhere. If you know of anyone who has atelier space in Amsterdam, email me at Hi@PetraBenach.com.