KersGALLERY was the fourth gallery of seven galleries we visited that day (both Suzanne Biederberg and Paul Andriesse were between shows) and Eveline Van De Griend’s work did not disappoint. I am keenly aware that Holland is a pretty white country with a bit of muddy past in terms of its dealings with various ethnicities. No, I am not a Dutch historian, but I am getting to know more and more about the small village I live in. That said, finding a Dutch artist whose African roots influence her portraiture was a thrill.
Not only racially aware, De Griend is also quite politically savvy in her larger than life paintings. Her work was powerfully captivating, full of story and delightfully diverse. KersGALLERY has a new group show up already (opened Thursday 28th April), so I am glad I caught De Griend’s exhibition before it was gone.
When we rode up to Van Zijll Langhout gallery, we had a moment of awe the size - it’s a small gallery. As we entered, however, Raymond Cuijpers work fit perfect in the nooks and crannies. He’s an ex-footballer (that’s soccer), which made me curious about how his career shift would translate to his work. I spent a good amount of time online looking at his 2009 exhibition at Van Zijll Langhout, “I Am With You” an expose into the world of fashion and appearance, which couldn’t be more opposite from soccer. These portraits show a very successful abstraction of the body, but the current show exhibits more line element (reminiscent of a play chart for a match) and bold color pallet. Here’s Thomas demonstrating the size of the work compared to the space:
The woman working, perhaps Marian van Zijll Langhout herself, brought out a few of Cuijpers line drawings, inspired by watching matches. They made me think of my husband Dave and his insistence on stopping everything to watch Ajax play. Once soccer is in your soul, it appears to never leave and seeing it artistically translated did help me have more curiosity about the sport. Another nice element of our visit to the gallery is that the artist had extended an invitation for interested parties to have a studio visit. Apparently, he’s open to visitors at his atelier, which excited me. I am hoping to have lot’s more to say about this in the future.
Jaap Kroneman’s conceptual installation Naakt (Naked) at Van Gelder was a “had to be there” experience. There was confetti everywhere, a bare Christmas tree and a bunch of very simple perspective paintings with single words. The desk and chair on top of a styrofoam and paper pallet hinted at some greater performance…. and if you weren’t there, then there’s really no helping you. Especially when no one is available to discuss what happened, which is exactly what we encountered (insert frowny face here).
I struggled to grasp the significance of the exhibition, but it was a struggle. Kroneman’s work is historically very hard to get at a glance, being prone to a lack of definition that defines his conceptual performance art. I do not understand why performance based work isn’t always videotaped and presented alongside the remnants. Confetti is fun when you can see how it’s thrown, but afterwards, it’s just a hint of the great party you missed.
At our final gallery, Onrust, we were introduced to Toon Verhoef’s work. It was hard to get a sense of him as an artist and I had trouble with this exhibition. The repetition of form/line in this series of work caused my eye to not stay on any piece long enough to absorb, but instead I kept trying to find the larger relationship in the entire show. Very seldom does one buy an entire show, so if you pulled just one of these out of the family, I am sure it would be easier to appreciate it, but for me, my focus was shot. And, of course, there was no one to really engage with about the art (yes, insert another frowny face here, too).
Our last two galleries, Onrust and Van Gelder were sterile. Yes, that is how I describe the lack of engagement. We had had wonderful interactions with the gallery staff before these two, which deepened the contrast of what it is like when you don’t get any interaction at all. Just one gesture of availability would have been great. It was seriously lacking and so was my willingness to delve into what I was seeing. I know that that is narrow minded, but at least I am narrow minded with a point. Art with heavy concept, like these Kroneman and Verhoef, would benefit from some guidance.
A new tour is in the making and we’re going to condense the number of galleries but go IN DEPTH as much as we can. More information soon, and as always, feel free to contact me with inquiries at Hi@PetraBenach.com.