Fallen leaves and stale wine

Issue no5
Oct-Nov 2020
Wat is Nederland

This weekend will see droves of art scene people flock towards the Rijksakademie to look at the latest generation of rising stars of the (Dutch) art world. Metropolis M found several reasons to join the queue:

1. To smell fallen leaves and stale wine

Heady fragrances those. Giorgio Andreotta Caló swept together a room full of fallen leaves, giving off a smell of wet forest right through the glass that separates the visitor from the mounds of leaves. No relaxing forest smells are to be found in the 'environment' Derk Thijs has created. A liver-coloured room houses a fountain of red wine, that gives of the smell of yesterdays partyremains. Not for the faint-hearted..

2. To see Snow White being refused entrance to Disneyland Paris

Pilvi Takala headed for Disneyland Paris dressed up as Snow White. Her film alternates between sweet, hilarious and thought provoking. Because why would the Snow White inside the walls of Disneyland be more real than the one outside? 'I thought Snow White is a drawing' Takala replies sweetly to the guard that stops her at the entrance. The children waiting in front of the entrance are certainly not making any distinction, neither between 'real' and 'fairytale' or between 'registered trademark' or 'unlicensed copy'.

View an excerpt of the work here

3. To hear the sound of silence

Last year Van Sonsbeeck presented a short note to her neighbours summoning them to pay 80% of her rent because their noise took up about 80% of her living space. Since then she has explored the meaning of sound (and lack thereof) further, trying to capture silence in cubes. I can't wait until the day 'cubic decimeters of silence' are on sale at the local supermarket.

For some more sereneness head to Milena Bonilla's space ('This space works better with the door closed') to watch a snail crawling over the tomb stone marking the spot where - once upon a time - Karl Marx and his wife were buried.

4. To (almost) taste the shoe eaten by Werner Herzog

On several locations spread out through the academy you can find 'brainboxes', cosy corners where short clips are shown the artists found inspiring. From David Bowie and an Italian Cooking program on Berlusconi's Rai Uno to Werner Herzog eating a shoe.

5. To feel yourself being catapulted back into the eighties

There is not much outstanding painting around this year, but Alice Nikitinova and Sarah Verbeek do bring back happy memories of times long gone. Verbeek sets the room alight with bright neon colouring and a just a splash of Lily van der Stokker wall painting. Nikitinova seems to have set out to recreate the atmosphere of gallery The Living Room as it must have felt in the early eighties at the height of the post modernist 'new painting' craze.

6. For the art

There are few artists who nowadays manage to make good art with neon. Not even (or certainly not) Tracey Emin. Jean Baptiste Maitre seems to agree with me, if I read his 'An attempt to neon meaning' correctly. And a worthy attempt it is. (he made a great film as well called 'Why do Things get in a Muddle')

Zachary Formwalt's film 'In Place of Capital' investigates the place where the history of photography meets the history of capitalism, taking as a starting point a photograph of the London Stock Exchange by William Henry Fox Talbot. Worth sitting out.

7. To feel like a ruler

Wouldn't you want to know how it feels to be at the centre of power and attention? well, just sit down on the throne of Yaima Carrazana Ciudad (yes, that is me, sitting there in the middle).

or walk down the hall past Harald Den Breejen's row of mechanical men to be repeatedly saluted in a historically somewhat unsavoury way.

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Metropolis M Magazine for contemporary art No 5 — 2020