zondag 21 juni 2009

Paleiskwartier 's Hertogenbosch: Stressed Spaces

In this last week’s running up to the summer, you find mostly all kind of events and contemporary art exhibitions in Brabant which are made site specific. This give them a little something extra, beyond the general exhibition shows in galleries and museums which also open their summer exhibitions around this time of the year. Sometimes they just give you that little nice surprise, where you hoped for entering an exhibition of contemporary art. Stressed Spaces opened earlier this month and just runs only until 19th of July. Stressed Spaces succeeds in giving you just this little extra, surprisingly well and this not only because the exhibition is organized in this somewhat strange location but surely also because of the vigor of the art which is on show here.
I know that more often, car parks can be and are used for quite a lot of other activities, then putting your car out of site for a while. This spot is close to the local City Museum for Contemporary Art the SM’s, where you will find the entrance to this strange ‘yellow’ intruder on the -2 sub ground level of this car park in the Paleiskwartier.
These yellow walls hides the temporarily building, which cuts through the centre of this low sub ground level and stresses out along for 175 meters. In this ‘yellow block’ the hibernation rooms are made to display a selection of the works of 25 artists. Each artist is placed in his or her own ‘cabin’ tailor-made for the occasion and fitted to the purpose of the specific visual art on display. This special ‘exhibition hall’ is designed by Krijn de Koning to give room to this year’s initiative of KW14, organized by Marjan Teeuwen.
Marjan Teeuwen, artist herself, explores each two years the possibilities of staging a site specific exhibition in ‘s Hertogenbosch. Empowered by themes she engaged with in her own work she sets out to find a location that fits, the means and selects the artist to participate. This time she invited 25, more or less known contemporary artists, working in different visual disciplines as there are: painters, sculptors, mixed media artists, and video & animation artists.
Her this year’s motive to invite just these artists she explains, is that they make art for its own purpose. A motivation which needs to be addressed, because nowadays art more and more is seen as to be an instrument to serve other goals. Goals which conflict with arts its own solemn identity. Art in the use with a purpose to make it a tool or a means, to target something else. In a way of what she calls “the miss use of art”. The autonomous identity of art is endangered by this development so that’s why “Stressed Spaces” is a call to arms.
More and more, she sees this happening everywhere around her. Art in use to reach out to meet the other goals of policymakers. Other goals for sure, as what art itself had in mind and where artists itself thought art is mend to be for. For its own sake!
Again, to justify any money or any attention is given to art, nowadays all kind of instrumental powers are contributed to art. Art as an instrument to educate the public’s morality, to endorse social development, to bind social integration, to revitalize old housing districts. This all to underlines art has ‘other’ necessary qualities, which will advocate and motivate why we should use and/or can use art and put public money in it. By now, when policymakers can’t think of anything else to realize their goals, they call artists and art in for the quick fix. Any goal can easily be reached by the introduction of these miraculous powers of art. So we don’t see art anymore as the only left toy for the rich, but as a mechanism to produce wealth and social development, or simply as a tool to bridge nasty contradiction in architecture or anything that unexpectedly went wrong in the first place.
Marjan Teeuwen stages, as we artists and art lovers don’t pay attention to this threat, art might dissolve in this instrumental use of art, as we know of in applied arts like; design, architecture, media and fashion or any other applied social sciences which think the use of these qualities of art, might come in quite handy.
That’s why Stressed Space can be seen as a comment on this especially. Just enjoy… its art!

In Stressed Spaces you can see, the photographs of stuffed spaces, by Marjan Teeuwen, the paintings of for example; Charlotte Schleiffert and Aaron van Erp. Statues of Paul de Reus, collage prints of Eva Fiori Kovacovsky and works of lots of other artists. One of the artists, who intrigued me the most with her work, is the video artist Saskia Olde Wolbers. Deadline (2007) is a slowly and silently, mirroring movie, with mind blowing images. Images where as the camera is hovering around slowly rotating objects in her studio, the voiceover of a woman, tells an as astonishing as puzzling story. A story of two brothers of which one is her father. The two brothers having ‘naturally’ the same father -her grandfather- but two different mothers. Still they are twins, born on the same moment. The story plays in a place fare away, in Gambia. Sometimes the words connect just like that, to the images in the video, what brings you in the flow of the story. The images in this movie let themselves compare to the narrative of the story, as ruins do, to the history of the past. The story is told as if it just happened, not being a strange fairytale. In this gentile voice and movement; the past, future and present are nicely stirred up. Imagination and fantasy are activated as logic and deduction in the same time. Fiction and non-fiction starts to unfold and connect lines that hooked up into your brain, questioning the truth about the story told, but also about your own experiences. And that is precisely where art itself is mend for, leaving you with a few more questions behind, as the few where you came in with.

Works on show are from: Maartje Korstanje, Charlotte Schleiffert, Voebe de Gruyter, Jasmijn Visser, Rob Voerman, Andrei Roiter, Karen Sagsyan, John Bock, Jasper de Beijer, Florette Dijkstra, Saskia Olde Wolbers, Robbie Cornelissen, Martha Colburn, Paul de Reus, Natasja Kensmil, Ina van Zyl, Rik Meijers, Manon Bovenkerk, Krijn de Koning, Rinke Nijburg, Eva-Fiore Kovacovsky, Aaron van Erp, Barend van Hoek, Jesper Just and Marjan Teeuwen.
Each with a room of their own in “Stressed Spaces”.
letterpress: (1) Marjan Teeuwen, (2,3,4)Krijn de Koning, (5) Charlotte Schleiffert, (6)Eva Fiore Kovacovsky, (7) Paul de Reus , (8) Aaron van Erp, (9,10) 2x still Saskia Olde Wolbers

Stressed Spaces, Car Park Paleiskwartier 's-Hertogenbosch, still on show untill 19 July 2009.