In the front space of the gallery: Ralph de Jongh
Dürst Britt & Mayhew is proud to present British artist Alex Farrar’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.
With a systemic approach to art making Alex Farrar produces exhibitions that blur the line between artwork and context. He makes groupings of works that explore the bodily as a liminal space between our psychological world and our social lives. Farrar uses a range of sculptural, painting and print making techniques in complex relationships with their forms: often referencing the body and its residues directly, and content: emotional states ranging from longing to optimism, irritation to nervousness. Four distinct series of new works – night sweat paintings, semblable forest, a gestalt cornice and ‘umble prints – coalesce in a scene that combines traces of the lived body with paranoiac visions and pataphysical logic.
Suggesting metopes in a classical frieze, the night sweat paintings form a procession of headless writhing bodies captured on downy bed linens. Following the series of sweat paintings made in 2017 and 2018 (that were debuted at ARCO Madrid), Farrar has found in the more intimate subject of night sweat the body in repose, stressed not by any external presence but an imagined one. For these new works the artist applies a silicone based paint on various textiles commonly used as bed linen. The organic forms depicted are drawn from various acquaintances of the artist who volunteered their silhouetted sleeping positions. With a nod towards the Anthropometry paintings of Yves Klein, they share with Farrar’s previous sweat works a disconcerting materiality that is poised between the abject and the divine.
Semblable forest is a disturbing assembly of young trees felled upon reaching maturity. Made using a variation of the lost wax technique, with found tree stumps surrounded by plaster before they are incinerated, their voids replaced with bronze which is then broken out of the mold. Occupying the floorspace of the booth these modest monuments with trunks the span of your wrist and roots that reach out pointlessly, situate the exhibition space in the midst of an unseen act of destruction.
Taken together these examples reflect the shifting perspective that runs throughout the exhibition’s exploration of lived experience. Across the grouping our perception is mirrored in an exchange between the interior (psychic) life of a body and its exterior (somatic) experience. This is a continuum, a splitting of the flesh that is literally illustrated by the gestalt cornice’s evocation of the faces–vase demonstration of figure–ground perception. Here the (speaking) profile of a face is extruded to ring the perimeter of the presentation with the suggestion that the negative ‘ground’ of the exhibition space is as material as they are.
Much of the contents of the new works can be found in an embryonic state in the ‘umble prints, where a scattershot collection of heads, contorted faces, fingernails, crab shells, snakeskins amass on a backdrop of open textbooks. Printed in bright, bold colours with a risograph duplicator, their individual titles, ‘Jumble’, ‘Fumble’, ‘Stumble’ etc. belie the fragility of their making and the thread of vulnerability, weakness and precarity that runs throughout the presentation.
Alex Farrar (*1986, lives and works in Amsterdam and London) studied at Leeds Metropolitan University (Leeds, UK), Gerrit Rietveld Academie (Amsterdam) and Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (Amsterdam, NL). Recent and forthcoming solo/duo exhibitions include Bloc Projects, Sheffield (2019), SE8, London (2019), Onomatopee with Philippine Hoegen, Eindhoven (2018), ARCO Madrid with Dürst Britt & Mayhew, Madrid (2018), and de Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam (2016). He has recently participated in group exhibitions at Copperfield Gallery, London (2018) and The Great Medical Disaster, Manchester (2017). In 2019 he will participate in a group exhibition at ChaSaMa in New York.
In the front space of the gallery: Willem Hussem (1900-1974)
Joseph Montgomery’s second solo exhibition at the gallery is comprised of shim paintings. Whereas in previous exhibitions his work has combined both soft collage and the hard edges of the shim painting, this exhibition is only built upon the base structure of wedge combinations. This includes an animation in which the protagonist is also constructed from wedges.
Shims are thin pieces of construction material typically used to fill in a gap or as a leveling device and are often made of cedar, a rot resistant type of lumber. They are used in two places in Montgomery’s work, the “shim painting” and the “shim doll”, both of which are composed of articulations of the modular unit. Thus the shim forms the basis of an expressive visual language through repetition and difference. They are present in the application suites shimindex.com and dollindex.com as two tools that allow the artist to compose a doll or painting by displaying all possible iterations given a set of limitations.
The title “Joe” comes from the fact that the artist is called by two names. He is Joe informally and Joseph formally. Similarly, a painting can be named twice or three or four times. Montgomery’s use of multiple aesthetics to construct paintings names painting both as a friendly practice and a strange practice. The play between informal and formal occurs in this new body of work’s use of mirror as a painting material. Collaged within the shims by occupying the interstitial space between the wedges, the reflective surface renders the figure ground relationships ambiguous while giving the decorative nature of the material a more psychological purpose. In the fragmentation of the architecture around the object and the reflection of the viewer’s body in portions, the shim + mirror combination announces a protagonist who is mutable relative to perspective. Similarly, a set of three monochromes appear solid from afar. At an intimate distance, bundled wedges and rectangles undulate under the skin of paint.
In the animation, the shim doll bathes. Based on the Bonnard painting Nude in the Bath (1936), the doll continuously labours to rest amidst two other characters, reflection in the fluid and shadow in the depths.
front space: Willem Hussem (1900 – 1974)
As a prelude to his solo exhibition at Dürst Britt & Mayhew in the spring of 2019 we will show a small selection of works by renowned Dutch artist Willem Hussem (1900-1974) in the front space of the gallery.
As an artist Willem Hussem continually experimented and produced highly diverse works of art, including painting, drawing and sculpture. A constant aspiration towards simplicity and purity underlies his entire oeuvre. This aspiration is closely connected with his need for clear systems of thought. It was in Hegel’s philosophy and Zen Bhuddism that he found the intellectual basis for the universalistic outlook on the world that would determine his thought and work.
Throughout his life Hussem was in search of a manner of working that tied in with his philosophical views. In poetry, he found this in short lyrics, while in art he initially found it in a style that steered a middle path between expressionism and constructivism, and finally in geometrical abstraction.
In 1960 Willem Hussem represented The Netherlands at the Venice Biennial. During his lifetime he had solo exhibitions at Gemeentemuseum in Den Haag, Museum Het Princessehof in Leeuwarden and Stedelijk Museum in Schiedam and participated in major group exhibitions in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. He also exhibited twice at the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, US.
After Hussem’s death in 1974, the ‘Hussem Committee’, which consisted of influential artists, art historians and museum directors, kept his legacy alive. Retrospectives were mounted at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Centraal Museum in Utrecht and most recently at Museum Belvedere in Oranjewoud.
Hussem’s work is held in many private and public collections, including Centraal Museum, Utrecht, Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
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To start off the new season Dürst Britt & Mayhew is proud to present a duo exhibition with new paintings and drawings by Jacqueline de Jong and Wieske Wester. Both from a different generation, they give their own specific twist to classical genres such as the food-still life and landscape painting. Besides new work, De Jong will also show works from the 1980s and 1960s. What connects these two painters is the energy of their brushstrokes and draughtsmanship as well as a seemingly fearless approach to their chosen medium and themes. The combination of Wester’s penchant for seafood and De Jong’s liking for potatoes makes for an intriguing juxtaposition.
Wieske Wester, Fish #6, 2017.
Charcoal and Indian ink on paper, 50 × 70 cm.
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“Friday, 9:45pm…Three years ago, the hot sticky August rain fell big and wet as I sat listlessly on my porch at home, crying over the way summer would not come again– never the same. The first story in print came from that ‘never again’ refrain beat out by the rain. August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”
Sylvia Plath, JOURNALS [August 8, 1952]
For the summer season of 2018 Dürst Britt & Mayhew is proud to present a group exhibition with a selection of works by our eleven represented artists.
Jacqueline de Jong, Untitled (diary drawing), 1974.
Acrylic and indian ink on paper, 58 x 79 cm.
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facade suspended, the first solo exhibition by Pieter Paul Pothoven at Dürst Britt & Mayhew, sheds light on RARA, the Revolutionary Anti-Racist Action. During the 1980s and 1990s, this resistance collective fought against racism, oppression and exploitation, the ongoing legacy of Dutch imperialist history.
The works on show are the first in a series in which Pothoven, in close consultation with RARA, both documents and elaborates on this unprecedented case of post-war resistance. Point of departure for this exhibition is Overtoom 274, a house in Amsterdam that played a pivotal role in the exposure of RARA. facade suspended focuses on a police raid on the premises that took place in 1988, as well as on the facade itself, which is not only linked to RARA, but also has its own distinctive connection to the Dutch colonial past.
On the occasion of facade suspended, a conversation between Yvette Mutumba (co-curator Berlin Biennial 2018 and editor-in-chief of the art magazine C&) and Pothoven will be published, as well as a text by historian and journalist Roeland Muskens (author of: On the right side, a biography of the Dutch anti-apartheidsmovement 1960-1990).
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The group exhibition ‘Body Building’ plays with the boundaries between physical, psychological and architectural space. Organic and anthropomorphic forms choose to either contrast or mix with more modular constructions. The exhibition space shows similarities with a construction site or a mental map, a place of transition and transformation.
Alex Farrar (1986, UK)
Alexandre Lavet (1988, FR)
Joseph Montgomery (1979, US)
Maarten Overdijk (1977, NL)
Jonas Wijtenburg (1989, NL)
We would like to thank Galerie Lily Robert and Galerie Paris-Beijing for their kind cooperation.
Essay on Body Building
Reviews and features on Body Building
Dürst Britt & Mayhew is proud to present Puck Verkade ’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. A sculptural video installation is piercing the entire space, drawing from Verkade’s research into how social control informs the framing of our lives and the stories that instruct our bodies and construct our identities. The installation comprises a selection of recent work that resonates with thoughts and struggles concerning social, feminist and political issues.
‘Frame or be framed’ is a deep-rooted motif in Verkade’s current practice as an inquiry into the complexities of (mis)representation. How do these complexities inform gendered and racialised biases in everyday interpersonal encounters? How are they mediated and visualised in order to perpetuate social inequalities? Digging through generational layers of visual culture tropes has led Verkade to use humor and irony as an entry into the stickiness of subjectivity. By creating speculative constructions composed of re-appropriated found footage, sampled pop music, low res animations and personal recordings, she aims to interrogate the manipulative power structures inherent in using the lens as a medium.
Formerly predominantly screen based, Verkade’s recent body of work is unfolding into a diverse materiality of sorts and has made way for sculptural elements to support and situate her video works as part of space-intrusive installations. Privacy screen-like latex sculptures and blown-up word necklaces are dotted throughout the space, adding another layer to Verkade’s exploration of identity politics.
Puck Verkade (1987) received her BFA from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and recently completed an MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, London. Her work has been shown at various venues, such as Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Museum Hilversum, Showroom MAMA in Rotterdam, Gasworks and SUNDAY in London, and LOOP in Barcelona. Work by Verkade is held in private and public collections, including the AKZO Nobel Art Foundation in Amsterdam. She lives and works in London, where she has been selected as a resident artist at Sarabande The Lee Alexander McQueen Foundation for 2017-2018.
This exhibition has been made possible with the kind support of Stroom Den Haag, Stichting Stokroos and Fonds Kwadraat.
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Dürst Britt & Mayhew is proud to present Paul Beumer ’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. Since his first show in 2015 Beumer has spent an extended time in Asia, attending residencies in Xiamen, Beijing and Tokyo as well as living and working in Taipei.
His painterly practice has always oscillated freely between figuration and abstraction, but in the past few years gained a specific focus on the relationship and dichotomies between Western and Asian approaches to landscape painting and nature. For Beumer the understanding of nature through lived and poetic experiences has taken precedence over any overtly scientific or logic approach or explanation.
Steering away from the conventions of the brush and canvas his works are made on a variation of loose cloths. He engages ink or chlorine and manual resist-dyeing techniques to produce abstract patterns that feel like faint memories of Western High Modernism in that they allow for doubt, failure and chance.
For this exhibition Beumer will for the first time combine several of his painted loose cloths into four large site-specific wall installations. The juxtaposition and overlapping of textures, colours and forms in these assemblages create dynamic and extensive views. As such they perform as an immersive and poetic take on both abstractionism and landscape painting.
The title of the exhibition, ‘The message of the flower is the flower’, refers to the age-old use of flowers to convey subtle or secretive messages. During the Victorian era flower dictionaries came in vogue that explained the meaning of plants, flowers and herbs. Though often thought to relay positive messages of interest, affection and love, flowers could also send a negative message and at times, the same flower could have opposite meanings depending on how it was arranged or combined with other flowers.
Paul Beumer (1982) received his BFA from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague after which he completed a two-year residency at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Paint Wide Mouth White’ at Qingyun Art Centre in Beijing, ’In the shade of the elms and willows, my friends drink until they are inspired’ at Goethe Pavillon, Palais Schardt in Weimar; ‘Dry Landscape’ at the Chinese European Art Centre (CEAC) in Xiamen; and ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’ at Bosse & Baum in London. Recent group exhibitions include ‘Liquid Mountain’ at Museum Het Valkhof in Nijmegen, ‘Black: from charcoal to high-res’ at Museum Kranenburgh in Bergen; and ‘Stretch Release’ at Dürst Britt & Mayhew. Work by Beumer is held in private and public collections, including the AKZO Nobel Art Foundation; the collection of the District Court of Law in Amsterdam; and the KRC Collection in Voorschoten.
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Dürst Britt & Mayhew is honoured to present Jacqueline de Jong ‘s (1939, Hengelo, Netherlands) first solo exhibition at the gallery. De Jong is revered for founding, editing and publishing The Situationist Times in the 1960s. By now her publishing, painting and sculpture endeavours have spanned over five decades. The exhibition shows various paintings and pastels from the 1960s up to now, in which eroticism, desire, violence and humour are recurring motifs. Her longterm involvement and collaboration with Asger Jorn and the legacy of the Cobra movement shine through, but have never stifled the experimental nature of her artistic practice, which is as vital, provocative and contradictory as ever. Her most recent mixed media works for example start with black and white photographic images of potatoes which De Jong transforms into landscapes, animals or monsters, which have become so characteristic to her practice.
Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Imaginary Disobedience’ at Château Shatto in Los Angeles and ‘Potato Blues’ at onestar press in Paris. Recent group exhibitions include ‘Medusa: Jewellery and Taboos’ at Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, ‘The Leftovers’ at Simon Lee Gallery in New York, ‘The Avant Garde won’t give up: Cobra and its legacy’ at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles and ‘Traces – 100 years Asger Jorn’ at Cobra Museum for Modern Art in Amstelveen. Her work is held in various museums and public collections including: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Cobra Museum for Modern Art, Amstelveen; Museum Jorn, Silkeborg; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo; Kunstmuseum Göteborg; Lenbachhaus, Munich; MCCA Toronto; Centre Pompidou, Paris.
Upcoming exhibitions include ‘Sie sagen wo Rauch ist, ist auch Feuer’ at Kunsthalle Bern and a solo presentation with Dürst Britt & Mayhew in the Back to the Future section of Artissima Turin.
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The artists presented in ‘Stretch Release’ can all be qualified as painters. However they do not limit their painterly practice to the well trodden path of oil on a stretched rectangular canvas. They regularly prefer to take the canvas off of the stretcher and let painted fabrics behave of their own accord. Some produce their own fabrics and dye or paint on them, others expose their painted textiles to the natural elements. These are works that do not necessarily ask to be hung from a wall, but can just as well be placed as markers within the architecture of a given space. They subtly influence the viewers’ gaze and movements, without immediately turning into obvious sculptural interventions.
With: Mark Barrow & Sarah Parke, Paul Beumer, Koen Doodeman, Marije Gertenbach, Kristan Kennedy, David Roth, Alexis Teplin.
We would like to thank the following galleries for their kind cooperation: CAR DRDE, Elizabeth Dee, Fourteen30 Contemporary, Rento Brattinga galerie – Dudok De Groot.
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Dürst Britt & Mayhew is delighted to present Mexican artist Raúl Ortega Ayala ‘s first solo exhibition at the gallery.
Ortega Ayala will premiere his new videowork ‘The Zone’, which deals with the 30-kilometre radius uninhabited area in the Ukraine directly affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident of 1986. For four years Ortega Ayala has been visiting this derelict territory to obtain footage for a film that seeks to resurface (through first hand accounts of witnesses) an unprecedented event in our history where man-made technology went wrong and rendered uninhabitable a vast area that includes entire cities and monumental structures. The footage was shot purposefully during different seasons (with and without the main characters) in order to constantly play with the visual narrative, with our perception of time and to illustrate the erratic behavior of memories.
‘The Zone’ forms part of Ortega Ayala’s current research project ‘From the Pit of Etc.’, which deploys methodologies used in History and Archaeology for an ongoing series devoted to the concept of absence, trace, and iconoclasm. The exhibition also contains various photographic images the artist shot while visiting the ghost town of Pripyat, which was founded on 4 February 1970 to serve the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and had grown to a population of 49,360 by the time it was evacuated in 1986.
A different vein in Ortega Ayala’s current research project is constituted by a series of ‘paintings’, revealing images that are hidden under paintings from various museum collections. By obtaining permission to use x-rays the museums deploy for conservation or authentication purposes, Ortega Ayala manages to conjure up intriguing dichotomies, which otherwise would be lost to eternity.
Raúl Ortega Ayala (1973) is currently living and working in Wellington, New Zealand. He studied Painting at ‘La Esmeralda’ in Mexico City and then traveled to the Glasgow School of Art for a Master in Fine Arts. Solo exhibitions include ‘Living Remains’ at Stroom Den Haag and ‘Melting Pots’ at Rokeby Gallery in London. Recent group exhibitions include ‘Stirring the Pot of Story’ at the Delfina Foundation in London, ‘Silent Light’ at Dürst Britt & Mayhew, ‘True Story’ at Proyectos Monclova in Mexico City and ‘Yes Naturally’ at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in The Hague. His next solo exhibition in 2017 will be at Proyectos Monclova in Mexico City. Work by Ortega Ayala is held in private and public collections, including the David Roberts Art Foundation, the AkzoNobel Art Foundation and the VandenBroek Foundation.
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Dürst Britt & Mayhew is delighted to present French artist Alexandre Lavet ‘s first solo exhibition at the gallery.
Alexandre Lavet’s work plays with the idea of emptiness, disappearance and erasure. Under the apparent homogeneity of exhibition spaces lie the details that mark the uniqueness and specificity of each place. It is these elements that Lavet wants to bring to light, thereby making the viewer more aware of the environment surrounding him. For his exhibition at Dürst Britt & Mayhew, Lavet will show a variety of subtle site-specific interventions within the gallery space.
Lavet (1988) received both his BFA and MFA from the École Supérieure d’Art in Clermont-Ferrand (France) and is living and working in Brussels. Current group exhibitions include’Run Run Run’ at Villa Arson in Nice and ‘Déformation Professionelle’ at Galerie Paris-Beijing in Paris. Recent group exhibitions include ‘Vision’ at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, ‘(In)territories/rituals’ at TARS Gallery in Bangkok and ‘The Context’ at Museum Flehite in Amersfoort.
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Dürst Britt & Mayhew is delighted to present Dutch artist Wieske Wester ‘s first exhibition at the gallery.
A cabbage, a bunch of bananas or a whiskey glass. The strength that lies in simple and everyday objects is often the starting point for the work of Wieske Wester. These are images without masks that appeal by their lack of visual violence and spectacle, but are nevertheless characterized by a certain degree of ambiguity. Wester’s paintings and drawings depict the human desire for identity, yet are peppered with references to aggression and sexuality. Wrestlers, genitals and figures that hover between beast and man regularly pass in review. For Wieske Wester, the physical act of painting and drawing is the most direct way to capture the fluidity and forcefulness of the human spirit.
Immediately after obtaining her Bachelor’s degree from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Wieske Wester was selected for a two-year working period at De Ateliers in Amsterdam. In 2008 she was nominated for the Buning Brongers Prizes in Amsterdam and for the Focus Abengoa Painting Prize in Seville, Spain. In 2014 she enrolled at the HISK in Ghent to place herself into a new critical context and to further develop her chosen themes and imagery. Wieske Wester lives and works in Ghent and The Hague.
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Broadly speaking one can argue that Alex Farrar ‘s practice concerns itself with biological remnants and dislocation. The biological remnants in question can be as commonplace as pieces of nails and eyelashes found in his studio. These human traces dislocated themselves from their original source and found an apparent end point in a certain space. This specific space however did not allow for natural perishment, as Farrar takes notice of the smallest particles surrounding him.
These smallest particles are not harmless though; an eyelash can irritate the hell out of you when stuck in your eye, nails can inflict even more pain. We nevertheless do not pay much attention to these crescent forms once they are dislocated from the body. A crescent moon is much more romantic to look at.
And what about the crescent forms of our buttocks that leave their imprint on all the couches we sit on throughout our lives. Various forms sit next to each other, enjoying the comfort this furniture provides us with. Sharing thoughts, emotions, touch. Bodies are barrels of memories, but so are the couches on which we allow our buttocks to lower themselves.
Alex Farrar presents us with a clear cut by slicing various couches through the middle, divorcing the conversations and relationships that once went on. The parts are not lost though, only dislocated. One part is in the gallery space, the other part may reside in the artist’s studio, a different exhibition space or a collector’s home. The works may be deemed a celebration of long distance relationships, communication and keeping in touch across all the boundaries that life throws at us.
The same may be said about the more abstract sculptures by Alex Farrar, which are based on abandoned bicycles encountered in city streets all over the world. Their skeletal forms speak of traveling distances, of the eternal effort of bridging boundaries and of beautiful human failure.
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The group exhibition Silent Light at Dürst Britt & Mayhew shows a selection of lens-based works from five of the gallery’s represented artists: Alexandre Lavet (FR), Raúl Ortega Ayala (MX), Pieter Paul Pothoven (NL), Sybren Renema (NL) and Puck Verkade (NL). The four video works and one slide projection are characterized by their tacit, contemplative nature. Ironically, the only work that is accompanied by sound specifically deals with the theme of silence. All the works in the exhibition force the viewer to slow down and forego any immediate expectations. These works were not created to deliver any instant gratification, but they rather play with the idea of delay and how nature has a different way of ordering things. The cosmos seems to have a bigger plan than what man is able to play out on this world’s stage, however hard he tries.
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Imaginary Game Soundtrack is the second event within the framework of GERTRUDE, the gallery’s interdisciplinary side-programme. In between exhibitions, Dürst Britt & Mayhew will invite makers from other cultural fields to activate the gallery space through for example dance, theatre, literature, music or fashion. These makers may be upcoming or established artists, but what they all share is an experimental attitude. By offering them a space where they can develop and present new productions, we aim to create a platform where different cultural disciplines are able to meet. The name of this side programme is inspired by the famous Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), legendary writer and patron of the Arts, who became well known for organizing salons at her Paris apartment that were frequented by artists, composers, writers, musicians and choreographers.
In this edition, artists were asked to give their musical answer to the question: How would an imaginary game soundtrack sound?
With: Catherine Biocca (IT/DE), Sarah&Charles (BE), Marguerite van Sandick (NL), Lieven Segers (BE), Frank Koolen feat. UMGEBUNG (NL), Reinaart Vanhoe (BE), Robbert&Frank Frank&Robbert (BE), Sara van Woerden (NL) and Geo Wyeth (US).
After Brussels, Ghent and Rotterdam, Dürst Britt & Mayhew will host the release of the Imaginary Game Soundtrack Album. An evening of live presentations of the soundtracks in the form of performances, video, an Art-Fitness session, interventions and installations. Grab a pair of socks at the merch stand. The Album is available in a limited edition (100 hand numbered copies).
A project initiated by Dutch artist Sara van Woerden and supported by the Mondriaan Fund. After The Hague the tour will continue in Berlin, Antwerp and Amsterdam. More info about the project at igsatour.weebly.com.
The programme runs from 8 to 10 pm on Saturday 30 April.
The French term “un certain regard” can actually and ironically enough be described as a look or glance that is hard to describe. In its inevitable erotic connotation it can both be a look of longing, love or lust, as well as of disapproval or disgust. It therefore continually hovers between gazing and staring. While gazing can very well objectify a body, only staring is considered rude as it is directed at difference, deviation and otherness. The borders however can be hard to determine and are bound to very personal predilections or fears.
The works in the international group exhibition “Un certain regard” all objectify the body and test the boundaries between gazing and staring, to different degrees. Various sexual personae and erotic references may make audiences feel both titillated as well as voyeuristic. The works on display manifest a sensitive, but emancipatory form of eroticism. Therefore, from the exhibiting artists’ position ‘un certain regard’ is not a vague concept, but translates as a convinced, assertive and genuine view on contemporary sensuality.
With: Sylvie Fleury, Celia Hempton, Dean Hutton, Rachel de Joode, Leigh Ledare, Walter Pfeiffer, Daniel Sinsel, Martin Soto Climent, Julie Verhoeven, Taocheng Wang, Wieske Wester.
We would like to thank the following galleries and publishers for their kind cooperation: Cinnnamon, Sadie Coles, Christophe Gaillard, MOREpublishers, Neumeister Bar-Am, Office Baroque, Proyectos Monclova, Sultana, Fons Welters.
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Sybren Renema is drawn to the obscure corners of all forms of human discourse, with a particular liking for art, history, geographical exploration and the natural sciences. These different fascinations are often combined in the same work, highlighting a predilection for unconventional forms of knowledge-production as well as a sense of the absurd and the grotesque. His interests are addressed through various media, such as photography, collage and neon.
The exhibition of Sybren Renema derives its title from the last sentence of ‘Kubla Khan’, a poem by the 19th century British Lake Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who was infamous for his use of opium and his sprawling public lectures. Coleridge can be considered as one of the first cultural critics, but was nevertheless notoriously inconsistent in his output. The exhibition borrows freely from Romantic tropes and clichés such as nature, substance use and the sublime and mixes these into a heady concoction.
Central to the exhibition is a sculpture titled ‘Study for the death mask of an average Romantic’. It has been generated from the measurements of the death masks of 32 artists from the Romantic age and has subsequently been 3D-printed. Devoid of any individuality, yet made up of those people whose individuality was their greatest revolutionary potential, it is equal parts worship and mockery. The work touches on the question of what it is to be a creative genius, but also displays the perverse power of technology in the face of something as sacred as death and eternity.
The Milk of Paradise by Sybren Renema is kindly supported by Creative Scotland and Glasgow Life.
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The work of Joseph Montgomery has the structure and syntax of sculpture, but it simultaneously has all the trappings of painting: wood, canvas, various types of coating and paint. The blurring and confounding of classification lends it a strange sense of hybridity. Montgomery’s expansion of abstract painting results in two distinctive types of painting: collages and shims.
For Rules for Coyote, Montgomery makes use of the colour scheme of the famous Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons (created in 1948 for Warner Bros.), which are situated in the southwest American desert. Red-brown (the colour of rock formations), yellow (the colour of sand), green (the colour of cacti), dark brown (the colour of Wile E. Coyote) and blue (the colour of Road Runner) are just a few of these constantly recurring colours. Montgomery humorously compares his practice with the fate of the coyote, who constantly fails to catch the bird but never tires of coming up with another ’solution’.
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Paul Beumer’s painting practice oscillates freely between figuration and abstraction. His recent works, made with ink and watercolour, bear a strong relation to the manifold spontaneous processes happening in nature and its ever-changing scenes and colours. Just like one cannot predict the shapes of a cloud or the structures of semi-precious stones, Paul Beumer leaves it partly up to chance how his work will turn out. There is no set goal, but ample room for coincidences. In a way the works in this exhibition seem to have grown all by themselves and the artist just happened upon them by accident and combined them into an immersive and ephemeral installation.
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The artistic practice of Lennart Lahuis concerns itself with the suspension of visual information. For his recent series of works the artist collected reproductions that come standard with picture frames and serve as an example to the buyer. Many of these interchangeable picture frames contain cliché images of models, sunsets and cityscapes, but also reproductions of famous artworks. These images are disposable and destined to be thrown away the minute the buyer puts a photograph of their own choice inside the frame. Lennart Lahuis searches out examples that intrigue by their sheer oddity or sense of disengagement, adding images of exotic figures or plain measurements. He subsequently magnifies the image, covers it with a glass plate, newspaper and beeswax, thereby rendering it practically unrecognizable. For the viewer this means having to slow down to gain access to the visual information on offer: casting a glance is not sufficient. Lennart Lahuis thus confronts us with the apparent interchangeability of images within our society and the active role we have in sustaining or changing this. Next to these particular works Lahuis will activate the space with his ongoing series of wet scene studies. The reflective surfaces of three large foilworks in the exhibition further mirror the viewer’s problematic navigation through visual data.
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Gertrude #1: Don’t Laugh at the Sunlight Upon Me
A play by Adrian Bridget, with Michael de Roos and Vincent van Ommen
Don’t Laugh at the Sunlight Upon Me is an experimental one-act play for two actors. The play is written and directed by Adrian Bridget. Referencing the myth of Icarus, it narrates the longing struggle of a mad servant, who has made his master a hostage to his private psychological delirium. Through an effervescent use of language, the play deals with the themes of individual truth and brotherly love in an attempt to reconcile theatrical tradition and contemporary audiences.
Adrian Bridget (1990), born Adrian Mazzarolo, is an Amsterdam-based artist and writer operating in the fields of poetry, film and theatre. Following his graduation from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, his works have been featured in TENT (Rotterdam), Impakt Festival (Utrecht) and Dürst Britt & Mayhew’s opening exhibition Urbi et Orbi.
Don’t Laugh at the Sunlight Upon Me is the first event within the framework of GERTRUDE, the gallery’s interdisciplinary side-programme. In between exhibitions, Dürst Britt & Mayhew will invite makers from other cultural cultural fields to activate the gallery space through for example dance, theatre, literature, music or fashion. These makers can be upcoming or established, but what they share is an experimental attitude. By offering them a space to develop and present new productions, we aim to create a platform where different cultural disciplines can meet. The name of this side programme is inspired by Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), legendary writer and patron of the Arts who became well known for organizing salons at her Paris apartment that were frequented by artists, composers, writers, musicians and choreographers.
Dürst Britt & Mayhew is inaugurating its new gallery in The Hague with the group exhibition Urbi et Orbi, showcasing a selection of alumni from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague from 2009 up to now.
All participating artists share an ambition and courage to venture out into the world and carve a name for themselves; some have already won important art prizes, others have been picked up by influential galleries or admitted to prestigious postgraduate institutions. Urbi et Orbi will show the wide variety of these artists’ practices, who all started out in The Hague.
With: Juliaan Andeweg, Paul Beumer, Bob Eikelboom, Katinka van Gorkum, Gitte Hendrikx, Thomas van Linge, Adrian Mazzarolo, Sybren Renema, Machteld Rullens, Daniel van Straalen, Puck Verkade, Hanae Wilke, Victor Yudaev, Timmy van Zoelen.
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