Stefania Rigoni

Graduation Shows 2022 – Sandberg Instituut: Look and contemplate

Issue no5
Oct - Nov 2022
Neo-90s

A lot of video work and a lot of ‘big themes’ such as masculinity, authority and existentialism: Joris van den Einden visits the graduation show of the Sandberg Instituut and makes a personal selection of especially striking, challenging, and intriguing works. This year’s graduates certainly know how to deal with the peculiarities and specificities of their exhibition spaces, amongst others a former Courthouse.

The 2022 graduation show of the Sandberg Instituut is hosted in various locations around the academy. A large part of the show is spread around the unique spaces of the ground floor in the former Courthouse on the Parnassusweg in Amsterdam-Zuid. While naturally a diverse mix of practices, conceptual interests, and artistic points of departure, it seems that this year’s graduates mainly want us to look, and to contemplate. To see what is actually there, and to think about what that means. And if we cannot see, then listen, feel, or hear. But, most importantly, we must carefully process, deliberate, and contemplate those observations.

It seems that this year’s graduates mainly want us to see what is actually there, and to think about what that means. And if we cannot see, then listen, feel, or hear

Fine Arts department

Fine Arts department

Fine Arts department

Puck Kroon – DRAFT | Remnants of a space that once was

DRAFT | Remnants of a space that once was, the work of Puck Kroon, sets the tone for the entire exhibition at the former Courthouse. While following a twisty route from the building’s entrance to the exhibition spaces, the visitor navigates the hallways housing the old holding cells to finally arrive in the former Courtroom. Here, Kroon’s outlines of the now-absent judges’ seats and table further establish the spatial and institutional context in which the graduates present their work. The architectural and historical nature of the building retains the identity of this space as embedded in fact and fiction, law and legality, justice and repercussion.

It is no surprise to find the work of the graduates in the F for Fact-programme, with its focus on the investigation of knowledge, truth, and meaning, here. As the introductory text to the show states: “In this courtroom we only have one suspect. In this room, truth is on trial.” Kroon’s intervention, perhaps more conceptual than physical, reminds the visitor to remain aware, to look around, and to maintain a critical perspective towards the space that surrounds them.

Puck Kroon

F for Fact-programme

F for Fact-programme

Balázs Varju Tóth – lenz’s law

Balázs Varju Tóth is “actively trying to figure it out." In lenz’s law, a three-channel video installation, the artist contemplates the subtleties of perspective. The three videos play on loop, each showing an entirely different scene; from a static, virtually photographic view over boats passing through a canal, to the almost abstract panning around white, black and grey tiles, and to the simple moving portrait of a man. The various elements of this work may at first appear to act separately from one another. However, it is the calm (yet assured) voice-over that plays every now and then, combined with the lay-out of the space that asserts the claim of the work. It is impossible to view all three screens at the same time, leading the viewer to drift between them – to turn around, to let their eyes wander, sit down, stand up. Suddenly, the specificities of the gaze of each video arise, each channel viewing, changing, and moving through its scene differently. The voice asks: “If we take a step away or turn our heads, is that thing then still the same thing?” While not providing anything close to an answer to this question, the work extends the questions of vision into a more philosophical realm. As such, lenz’s law certainly succeeds in embedding Tóth’s quest to the viewer, inviting them, too, to figure it out, generally.

Tóth is “actively trying to figure it out." In lenz’s law, a three-channel video installation, the artist contemplates the subtleties of perspective

Balázs Varju Tóth

Juliana Zepka – Gardens of Law

Order and disorder, the definition of territories, the establishment of borders, and, especially, the navigating of relationships between various forces, organisations, and agents. In Juliana Zepka’s Gardens of Law, these elements are presented as equally inherent to two quite different fields of practice: the art of gardening and international law. Filmed in the gardens of the Peace Palace in The Hague, Zepka does not only explore these conceptual similarities, but also investigates what role authority actually plays in the navigation of such complex systems and relationships. How necessary is authority, whether through the practice of gardening or the exercise of international treaties and laws, to let those ecosystems thrive? The black and white footage of the installation is accompanied by a soundscape that is equally peaceful and suspenseful, setting the inquisitive, contemplative tone of the work.

Juliana Zepka

Olya Korsun – The West Pole

The West Pole is a compilation of 16mm films and travel diaries of an unknown traveller exploring the landscape of the unfamiliar West Pole. In actuality, we observe the observations of Olya Korsun’s imagined protagonist as she explores the nature of the Netherlands and contemplates about the cultural psychology and phenomenology of nature: how do we experience wilderness? What do we actually mean when we talk about nature? Departing from the observation of the inherent wobble of the Earth’s axis (causing the location of the natural North and South Poles to shift), Korsun poses larger questions about scientific categorisation and the artificiality of topographical ‘facts’. Through the creation of a new Pole, a place that its inhabitants consider to be largely “natureless”, Korsun blends fiction and documentary to reinscribe the essence of (Dutch) nature. Simultaneously critically challenging, aesthetically appealing, and narratively captivating, The West Pole imbues the Dutch landscape with a welcome, often-overlooked atmosphere of adventure, exploration, and mystique.

The West Pole imbues the Dutch landscape with a welcome, often-overlooked atmosphere of adventure, exploration, and mystique

Olya Korsun

Olya Korsun

Olya Korsun

Pam Virada – No Transcendence, Only Immanence

A beaded curtain shimmers in a warm light. Whenever a visitor leaves the room of Pam Virada’s No Transcendence, Only Immanence, their shadow is cast onto the curtain, on display for the visitors passing by outside. The aesthetic splendour of Virada’s installation is cinematic, or perhaps photographic, and largely the product of the subtle, careful lighting of the room. A contemplation of Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese practice of organising the human-built environment, Virada appropriates the practice’s methods of spatial reconfiguration to combine the signs of wear of the former Courthouse with the Feng Shui concept of hauntings to assert specific gendered histories and elements of the ancient practice. Simultaneously a practice and critical contemplation of creating balance between objects and architecture, No Transcendence, Only Immanence reinscribes Feng Shui’s original context of the patriarchal system of Confucianism, at once distinguishing it from its widely appropriated Westernised imagined nature and redefining it within its original context as a mechanism for women to locate themselves within a system that subordinated and dominated them.

Pam Virada

Pam Virada

Pam Virada

Mariana Fernandez – all the things we think we know

In all the things we think we know, seven screens loop short clips of brain scans, robotic machines and birds imitating humans. Mariana Fernandez does not shy away from posing the questions underlying this work: what is intelligence? What is knowledge? What does it mean to learn? The artist explores these questions in relation to artificial intelligence and language. With these contemplations about the novel technologies of machine-based learning, digital design and certain medical tools being presented via the more dated technology of the older televisions, Fernandez further works to connect various seemingly distant realms and fields. The fragmented nature of the installation successfully works to dissect the essence of artificial intelligence into larger contemplations of mimicry, and, more specifically, the supposed authenticity and value of mimicked actions. As such, Fernandez entices the viewer to reconsider where their knowledge comes from; who told you that, who did you tell? Do you understand it, or are you merely repeating the sounds, thoughts, and gestures of another? Situated at the very beginning of F for Fact’s exhibition on truth and meaning, Fernandez’ work certainly affects the way in which the public proceeds and experiences all the other graduates’ works that they are yet to see.

The fragmented nature of Fernandez' installation successfully works to dissect the essence of artificial intelligence into larger contemplations of mimicry, and, more specifically, the supposed authenticity and value of mimicked actions

Mariana Fernandez

Mariana Fernandez

A selection of other works on view in the exhibition:

Zwaantje Kurpershoek

Jonathan Hielkema

Atefeh Alaeddin

Aleksandra Zawistowska

Aleksandra Zawistowska

Agnese Smaldone

Sandberg Graduates presented their work to the public between June 9 and 12. For more information, click here.

Joris van den Einden
is an intern at Metropolis M

Share this Article:
|Back to Top
Related | Most read
Magazine
Metropolis M Magazine for contemporary art No 5 — 2022