Going for a walk

How do you transport a sculpture which is more than four metres long if you do not have a van? You ask your loved one and go on a walk on a sunny Monday morning. Many people are very good in ignoring a strange object right under their nose. The other group of people, the ones with open smiles, had our sympathy. But the best part of our travel was the night shop cat. I know her well from my daily route. Her eyes grew bigger and bigger. She followed us with her gaze until we went around the corner.

Art Rotterdam 2015

Last week I visited Art Rotterdam - it was a visual overload, but a good one. Here are some works I probably will remember.

Pauline Bastard’s (France, 1982) object was lying around casually on Barabara Seiler’s bar. The artist made a whole series of “cameras” from things she found on her travels over the years, one per city. With its prehistoric looks, this nonfunctional reflex camera is like a paradox: it contradicts itself yet might be true. Although not working as the tool it pretends to be, it reflects the urban landscape of which parts it is made of. For the artist it might contain tangible memories of the streets she wandered through, similar yet different than a photo.

In Vittorio Roerade’s (The Hague, 1962) universe, animals are playing an important role. “We are all made of stardust”, he once said in an interview. It isn’t difficult to anthropomorphize his rabbit, especially with the title “Nonononononono nono”in mind. The posture, the gaze, the curve of its right ear indicate its grumpyness - or lets us project that human feeling onto it. The central composition also elevates the animal to an important person being portrayed. There is a friction between the subject matter and the sophisticated technique which lets the humour slip in.

Left picture above in the middle: “Drummer Eye”, 2015, oil on canvas, 40x50cm

“Smoke”. 2015, oil on canvas, 40x50 cm

“Mountains”, 2015, oil on cavas, 40x50 cm

When I saw the left wall of Barbara Seiler and Jenanine Hofland’s bar booth I was mesmerized by the Salon-style hanging (“Petersburger Hängung”) of the paintings and drawings. Briefly I hoped they would be from just one artist diving into different forms of expressions, but that wasn’t the case. The paintings which immediately whispered “We are family!” were the ones by Pim Blokker (1974, Woerden). The comic strip-like characters on an undefined background, painted with dynamic strokes, transmit a certain power and urgency. At the same time they look a bit ridiculous (which might be so because of their puzzled expression) and one can imagine them saying “Why the hell did somebody paint us in the first place?” Maybe the artist did it in order to suggest a narrative, with humour and melancholy as main ingredients. The subjects are playful, but not too easily painted. Although the figurative aspect is dominant, there is some abstraction going on in terms of shapes and how the figures are placed in relation to each other and the background. Admittedly the examples above aren’t the best ones showing that; at Blokker’s website you can find more: www.pimblokker.nl

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