The motto of gallery O-68 in Velp is "Art should inspire, not merely decorate." This statement is certainly reflected in the exhibition "The Fourth Wall", which can be seen online on GalleryViewer until January 24. It combines the work of a photographer (Miloushka Bokma) with the work of a painter (Andrea Radai) and a multimedia sculptor (Maaike Kramer) who works with architectural and sketch-related materials.
Andrea Radai's work often shows a kind of vulnerable roughness or a tough vulnerability. She describes herself as a voyeur and comes up with a whole backstory for what she sees: how does this person feel? What emotions are apparent and what kind of underlying past plays a role there? Andrea Radai: “As a young adolescent I was almost beaten up once by a man at a bus stop, because he felt I was staring at his girlfriend — too long and too explicitly for his liking. Yet I have never stopped this habit. I always look at people, openly or secretly, in real life or in the media (or social media). I am a peeping tom, a voyeur. I always immediately have a whole backstory at the ready, about who or what these people are, what past they carry with them, how they feel at that exact moment, what emotions are underlying their behaviour. I mainly register the vulnerable, the painful. Peeking is a form of compassion for me and sometimes I seem to coincide with the person I am observing. As a painter I identify with my subject, I sympathise and I never judge. I am both a voyeur and a spy.”
That rigid hardness opposite a vulnerable softness also comes to the fore in Maaike Kramer's work — but in a much more literal sense, being her choice of materials and her visual language. Her installations consist of various metals, stone and concrete, as opposed to smaller and more vulnerable materials like paper. In this exhibition you can see, for example, how she poured pigmented graphite drawings into stone and concrete. She also folded large sheets of aluminium, which she then treats with graphite, pastel and aerosol spray paint. The result looks weightless, as if it were folded paper, but at the same time the trompe l'oeil print suggests that you are looking at a heavy material, like weathered concrete or perhaps even a moonscape.
A plate placed against the wall looks similarly heavy, but at the same time, it seems like a gust of wind could blow it over at any moment. For a third work, which most resembles a pile of cushions, she poured pigment into concrete. The softness that we associate with pillows clashes with the final material that she used. Moreover, many of her installations enter into a relationship with the space in which they stand, a situation in which the space becomes part of the work.
Miloushka Bokma's photos and videos invite you to look at them a little longer. She often presents unsolved riddles, snapshots without context that leave room for the viewer's interpretation. Emotions and vulnerability are central in her work, the visible element of the invisible personal and emotional histories that underly them. The series "Thuis, Home, Heimat", of which a number of works are on show in this exhibition, shows refugees in a new context, using only white people. Miloushka Bokma: “By letting Western people figure in my work, I want to bring the refugee problem closer. It is not something that is far away and, therefore, does not concern us. It can happen to us all.”