Shifting Realities, AKINCI.
Last weekend the Amsterdam Art Weekend took place. In addition to the Open Studios at the Rijksakademie, there were numerous events, walking tours, special editions and many galleries opened simultaneously with a new show. Below are a few highlights that can be seen in Amsterdam the coming month.
Bertien van Manen, David on swing, West Virginia, 1987, Annet Gelink Gallery.
Annet Gelink – Moonshine – Bertien van Manen
Ever heard of Cumberland, Kentucky? Probably not. Most of us wouldn't know idea what Kentucky looks like. We don't get much further than the famous Fried Chicken and the annual horse race that Hunter Thompson once described. Kentucky is located in the middle of the forgotten heartland of the US. The grand dame of Dutch photography Bertien van Manen regularly visited Cumberland from 1985 for her Moonshine series. She befriended Mavis and her husband Junior, documenting their lives and their extended family long before Alec Soth would chronicle this forgotten part of the US. During Van Manen's first show at Annet Gelink, both recent prints and vintage prints from this series can be seen.
Natasja Kensmil, Melchior Hofmann, 2017, andriesse eyck galerie.
andriesse eyck galerie – On Paper – Natasja Kensmil, Ellen Gallagher, Marlene Dumas en Kara Walker
No doubt about it, one of the highlights is On Paper, the exhibition that can now be seen at Andriesse Eyk. On Paper is not only a great opportunity to see the work of some of household names - Natasja Kensmil, Ellen Gallagher, Marlene Dumas and Kara Walker - it's also a beautifully curated exhibition. On Paper shows the work of four artists, who each have developed their own visual language, but are thematically related. They each refer to the (near) past, and have an eye for power relations and oppression and the tensions this causes up today.
Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen, "Open Air", 2021, photo collage, tegenboschvanvreden.
tegenboschvanvreden – Open Air – Sander Breure en Witte van Hulzen
If you navigate to tegenboschvanvreden by memory, like I did, it might take you a while to arrive. For Open Air, Tegenboschvanvreden gave the keys to the gallery to Sander Breure and Witte van Hulzen, and the duo decided to remove the front doors and move the rear wall forward. They reduced the gallery space to a room without electric lighting. The walls are blue with a white band at the top that indicates the water level. This chamber-cum-archaeological site is under water. Like underwater, the amount of light entering the room determines what you can see from the plaster casts of a diver's body parts. If you come at noon you will see something different than five hours later. That is where the beauty of this exhibition lies: the simplicity of the light-dark effect and the influence it has on our perception.
Jurriaan Molenaar, Signac, 2021, BorzoGallery.
Borzo – Reality Pictured – Jurriaan Molenaar, Ronald Zuurmond en Koen Vermeule
With Reality Pictured, Borzo shows the work of three contemporaries: Jurriaan Molenaar, Ronald Zuurmond and Koen Vermeule. Painters who each give a different interpretation to the relationship between abstraction and figuration. Vermeule is a painter of fleeting observations and often captures people in introverted poses against an abstract background, for example at an airport or staring at their phones. Jurriaan Molenaar, on the other hand, paints abstract, yet fictitious architecture. We are lucky that Borzo made this exhibition before they move from Keizersgracht 516 to number 321, because Molenaar's panels are a perfect fit with the modernist interior of number 516.
Otobong Nkanga Revelations, 2020 tapestry. Courtesy of the artist, Lumen Travo Galerie.
Lumen Travo – Lingering on the Rim - Otobong Nkanga
Lingering on the Rim is the title of the exhibition by Nigerian artist Otobong Nkanga. That title is less cryptic than one might think; it refers to the way in which the extraction of raw materials permanently changes the landscape. The central work is the tapestry Revelations, in which Nkanga discusses the interrelationship between the land, the human body and the extraction of raw materials. It shows the impact the production of goods has on people and nature, but also how dependent we have become on the circulation of goods. Lingering on the Rim provides a great insight into Nkanga's multidisciplinary oeuvre that includes tapestries, drawings, photography, installations and video works and performances.
Anne Wenzel, The Bacon Project (Study of a Nude), 2021, AKINCI.
AKINCI – Shifting Realities - Moyna Flannigan en Anne Wenzel
What do you do when you suddenly no longer have any deadlines but time to spare instead? Intrigued by the work of Francis Bacon and by the role gravity plays in his tormented portraits, Anne Wenzel decided to find out how to translate flat, two-dimensional paintings into a three-dimensional sculpture.
The Bacon Project turned out to be quite a challenge. For example, Wenzel ran into the question of how to cast the tempestuous nature of Bacon's work into a sculpture. The answer is: by closely following Bacon, the emotional charge of a portrait also ended up in her sculpture. Gradually, she found out that Bacon sculpted on canvas and had disregarded gravity altogether.
In addition to the eight sculptures resulting from Wenzel's fascinating research, new work by British painter Monya Flannigan is on display. The combination of the two is extremely fortunate, as Flannigan's work traces back to the cubism and distorted perspectives of someone like Braque or De Chirico.