Blog gallery visits – Christine Schering

I started my gallery tour at Annet Gelink Gallery. The gallery presents the work of Meiro Koizumi. After entering a dark space a double projection of two women is shown, wearing the same outfit. They are talking, which seems to be, to the other woman, but you are never sure of it. Sometimes they are talking at the same time or you can hear another voice asking them to say something or nod. This is causing confusion for the viewer. In the other work a double projection of two men are visible. Here the projections slightly overlap. Again it is unclear whether the men are actually communicating with each other or not. This ambiguous character of the installation is also visible in the subject of the work, which is the kamikaze pilot. Koizumi questions how we should see the kamikaze figure, is he a hero or criminal? By addressing the subject in this ambiguous way Koizumi is also asking a more universal question: how can we determine the truth if it is manipulated this easily?

Ornis A. Gallery shows 25 photographs of Thomas Mayer, that are part of the series ‘Wohnportraits’. Each photo depicts a room in a house. Sometimes the bed is made up very tightly, but most of the time it is a bit messy in the rooms. This makes you wonder what happened before the picture was taken. In the photos Mayer seems to play with our curiosity towards others, but at the same time you become aware of your own voyeurism. Ornis Althuis tells me that the pictures are taken just the way Mayer found the rooms, none of them are staged. The furniture in the rooms, the wallpaper and clothing are reminiscent of old photos you know from your (grand)parents. The pictures are shot in the 70’s and 80’s and breath the atmosphere of coming from another time.

At Gallery Stigter van Doesburg work of different female artists is shown. The press release states ‘The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist’ from the Guerilla Girls. These advantages immediately place the work in a certain context. Each work seems to be a comment on the prevailing view of being a woman (artist). The title of the exhibition Semiotics of the Kitchen: What Happened After is referring to the work of Martha Rosler. The title suggests the other artists are standing in the tradition of Martha Rosler and in some way each of them are. The work of Loes van der Horst and Irene Fortuyn seem to refer to typical feminine activities like sewing or cooking. The prints of Lynn Hershmann Leeson become a comment on stereotypes about women and pressure on women to look good in general or in the media. The work of Lily Stokker shows a pink cloud with bright colours and the word ‘leuk’ in it and ‘gewoon’ beside it. At first it seems a cheerful image reminding of images for children. However, after reading the advantages by the Guerilla Girls, it seems to be a comment on what is expected of feminine work; something sweet and colourful. It is as if the work is asking: isn’t this what you wanted?

At TORCH Gallery the group exhibition Bucolic Turmoil is showing several artists that are referring to nature in their work. The uses of media are as diverse as the pieces presented next to each other. Remarkable is the work of Eelco Brand. First you see the orange Chinese lantern sculpture. Next you see that Chinese lantern on a moving image in an afforested area. The strange thing is the Chinese lantern is changing in the digital image, while the surroundings remain in tact. This changing image with the sculpture in front has an alienating effect. When moving around the corner, you see the small garden of TINKEBELL. After a close look, I discover real, decorated snakes between the lettuce and pieces of apple. Also the flowers and other planting are real. On the one hand it seems like a nice garden to me, but on the other hand some questions arise: is it legitimate, to use snails for art? Is this still art? However, it can be argued that almost everyone has stepped on a snail or is trying to prevent snails from eating your self grown vegetables. TINKEBELL is making us aware of our own actions towards animals by provoking us.