What happens when you ask four befriended artist to collaborate? The exhibition 'The Big Everyone Works With Everyone Show', which is on show at Galerie Fleur & Wouter in Amsterdam until 3 July, is an ode to the strange, a worship of childlike curiosity and the seemingly insignificant. The artists Koos Buster, Anemoon Fokkinga, Jan Hoek and Gert Wessels invite you into a world where everything seems to deviate from the norm. Together, they created a gesamtkunstwerk with which they indirectly ask questions about what 'normal' actually entails and who gets to determine that. What do we worship in our lives and why (not)?
That means that this exhibition includes two willfully clunky ceramic toothbrushes in a champagne glass, a ceramic island that transports you back to the iconic Thunderbirds toy set from your childhood, a bright pink toilet seat that seems to have been taken over by organic life, a worm-shaped bookcase or a picture frame with noses, tentacles or eyes and teeth. Works of art that are often at the interface with design. The artists also challenged each other to explore each other's favourite medium.
Artist Jan Hoek has a great predilection for the underdog. It is precisely the people who are not placed on a pedestal in daily life that are given a leading role in his work. Hoek: “Marking something as strange is usually a matter of misunderstanding. In my work I try to show that strangeness has everything to do with context.” His work is often presented in unique frames for which he collaborates with other artists, for example at Unseen he presented a frame in the form of a pizza slice by artist Tommy Smits. In this exhibition you can see his works in the funky frames of Anemoon Fokkinga, which seem to come to life at any moment. Hoek also chose a frame from Koos Buster, and captured Buster's girlfriend in a way that challenges you to look at pregnant women in a different way; not as tender, serene or sensual but rather as tough, no-nonsense and badass.
Koos Buster's work hardly needs an introduction. The artist, who was playfully renamed the Minister of Ceramic Affairs, incited a revival of ceramics in the Dutch art world. In his work, he searches for 'the perfect silliness' and it is impossible to look at his works without smiling or at least finding a certain recognition. He made gilded Delft Blue plates with things he hates (from mosquitoes and cruise ships to Dutch politician Thierry Baudet and tv presenter Johan Derksen), as well as a ceramic water cooler, pieces of licorice, buckets with bottles of cleaning agent and even a life-size Canta car, which was on display last month on the ferry to Amsterdam North.
The works of Gert Wessels are often equally recognisable. He usually works with polyurethane foam, which he processes and then finishes with fiberglass and acrylic composite. Wessels regularly creates works for the space we usually pay the least attention to in terms of design: the toilet. From shapely paper towel holders to organic toilet roll holders. Wessels also managed to elevate the extension cord to unknown heights. For this exhibition, the designer slash artist created neon lamps with wood and a bright pink table that appears to be formed from chewing gum.
For her works, Anemoon Fokkinga is inspired by her inner demons, pain and limitations, but also by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima and specifically the mutations that that disaster has caused in the local underwater life. This results in imaginative and absurd ceramic objects; monsters with dozens of eyes, tentacles, neon lights and reflective balls.