A vicious cucumber, a well accessorized sausage, and a fierce woman who rises from her grave to ask for money she should have earned during her life: you can find these apparent absurdist elements in the Summer Exhibition at Ellen de Bruijne PROJECTS. The exhibition includes works of Kubilay Mert Ural, Pauline Curnier Jardin, Erkka Nissinen and invitees Afra Eisma and Gabriele Formica.
The lead is reserved for Mert Ural, whom explores the dark side of humanity and chooses to enlarge themes such as power, exploitation, age and history and the cruelties of civilization in his paintings. He mixes these themes with moments of absurdity, a mix that makes global reality as we know it today one of confusion and chaos, indistinguishable from a bad dream. A dream in which Lego minifig’s become sexually abusive men and in which birds sing careless songs as if they don’t mind others suffering.
The masklike faces of Erkka Nissinen’s paintings reflect the dark atmosphere of Mert Ural’s work. Normally, Nissinen’s work is a combination of despondent seriousness and light-hearted clumsyness, but the paintings in this exhibition, both from 2010, breathe a mysterious and angry energy in which the light-hearted clumsyness is hard to find.
In contrast, Eisma creates a world that feels safe and warm, like happy childhood memories. Her works resemble domestic objects, like the ceramics in the exhibition that started with the idea of dinner plates. Objects that you would find in the homes of people that always have some dinner left for an unexpected guest. Generosity is therefore a word often used in descriptions of Afra's work. Generosity as an infectuous disease that Eisma would like to spread wide.
While Eisma’s work is not explicitly activist, it is certainly an implicit plea for a more feminine touch to our daily surroundings now dominated by shapes that are determined by quick practicality and the belief that you have to take care of yourself, because nobody will take care of you. Eisma shares a feminist attitude with Curnier Jardin, whom expresses a specific awareness of the roles fictional and non-fictional women have played in her work. And now, give me my money, the work that is on show in the Summer Exhibition, is a work wherein the great eccentric female artist resurrects. This slap puppet is, for Curnier Jardin, the personification of Carol Rama, but it could also be Leonora Carrington or Claude Cahun, or…
On Saturday July 25 the work of Daniele Formica will be added to the exhibition. “My art is an exercise of stumble, an expression of human condition in the least conventional way. Placed within worldliness and empyrean, I share the urgency of those interpreting their existence. There is a veil to lift from the surface of things: art discovers, and things bear a new essence.”