Always Times is the name of the art institute De Ateliers’ exhibition in Amsterdam: always corridors. The corridors in the monumental building on Stadhouderskade gained a special significance for the artists who worked there, says curator Fadwa Naamna, who has curated the exhibition.
For two years, ten young artists worked here in the solitude of their studios. They were more dependent on each other than in previous generations. Their work period at the postgraduate department coincided with lockdowns of the corona pandemic. The contact with the outside world was scarce. They ran into each other in the hallways and a close-knit group was formed.
The country is now closed and we can come and see the presentation that the class 2020-21 is leaving with. The route of the exhibition runs through the entire building. Art can be seen and heard in the beautiful, tall studios, but also, yes, in the hallways, in the garden, on the toilet and even in the Jumbo further down the street.
‘Usually such a final presentation consists of ten small solos,’ says Fadwa Naamna. ‘This year, a clear theme emerged, perhaps because the artists spent so much time together. They are all interested in spaces and transformation processes. ‘ Hence the corridor from the title: the corridor is the prominent space in a building.
They may share that interest, but the artists each do something completely different with it. We see videos, paintings, sculptures, textile art and installations. Smell is also discussed: in Nolwenn Vuillier the smell of manure burns in the nose, in Kokou Ferdinand Makouvia we smell clay.
These four artists fell de Volkskrant on:
Vita Soul Wilmering
Is it a road movie, an opera or a dramatized life story? the stoneware mirror by Vita Soul Wilmering is all those things and more. In this film follows the artist Yitschak Spiegl, a Jewish man who fled communist Czechoslovakia in the 1980s and ended up in Austria. Together, they visit the villages where he stayed in refugee camps, recreating important moments in Spiegl’s life, from his asylum application to his first love affair. In between, an opera singer sings about his story. The film captivates from the first moment thanks to the original narrative form, the charismatic protagonist and the honest friendship between him and the filmmaker.
In the middle of one of the tall studios, with a large window overlooking Stadshouderskade, hangs a dark blue piece of fabric. There are texts and drawings in different colors and manuscripts. The text ‘The White Institute’ catches the attention in several places. The artwork is the result of conversations Naqvi had with artists from different cultural backgrounds about the ‘white’ art world in the Netherlands. This led not only to criticism of what was not going well, but also to countless suggestions on how things could be improved. In recent years, more criticism of ‘white institutes’ has been seen in concluding presentations from art institutions and academies. Rarely did this lead to such constructive suggestions and such a beautiful image.
What things would you like to have with you when you die? It asked Brianna Leatherbury people working in the financial world. The selected items are as banal as they are enigmatic: a suitcase, a bundle of keys, a digital scale and a harp. Leatherbury made fragile copper sculptures on this basis. The copper is flagged and oxidized as if it were from worn archeological excavations. It’s nice how she gathers different ideas about value in these sculptures: the eternal value of something one would like to take to the grave, the personal value of the objects and the value of money and shares.
The text that accompanies the works of art by Pedram Sazesh excels in vagueness with abstract concepts such as ‘the aerodynamics of a monument’. That vagueness shows well in his paintings. He painted on plasterboard, giving the tones a soft and chalky look. At first glance, the paintings are reminiscent of the Catalan painter Antoni Tàpies. But where his art is strongly expressionist, Sazesh mainly seems to break something down. The many layers in his paintings seem like traces of something falling apart. A monument if we are to believe the text? It’s not obvious, but it’s exciting.
Offspring 2021: Always TimesDe Ateliers, Amsterdam, until 24/10.
Balcony: The Ateliers
De Ateliers was founded in 1963 in Haarlem by a group of artists under the name Ateliers ’63. The institute is now located in Amsterdam and is one of the five postgraduate art institutes in the Netherlands. Ambitious artists from all over the world come here to develop. Ten artists were selected from hundreds of applications for the 2020-21 class.