Curator: Mr. Bart Rutten - Stedelijk Museum 's Hertogenbosch
Artists: Ulay, Julika Rudelius, Raymond Taudin Chabot , William Speakman, Jasper van den Brink, Hieke Pars, Helmut Smits
OFFICE WITH A VIEW
The space and the view from the building are dominant in such a way that a neutral exibition is impossible. The identity of the place forces me to relate it to the content as much as to the form. Therefore, in the selection of the art work as well as in the shaping of the exposition I want to use space as groundwork. At the exposition on the tenth floor I want to use the following observations, firstly, for the selection of the art works, and then, for the space design .
A number of the works that have been selected deal directly with business and power (Julika Rudelius “ Economic Primacy” , Raymond Taudin Chabot's “ Calm” (2005)). Considering it is impossible to trasform the space into a neutral exhibition hall, I want to incorporate the office's mood and use it as the context. This means that the walls, floor coverings etc. are barely changed, and that only the places, where the works are to be exhibited, are refreshed with bright white walls and floors (projection fields, background pictures, a portion of floor on which a sculpure is placed). The intention is to mingle the space where a piece of art is set up with the worn-out character of what was once the office garden.
Initialy, in the office tower Babel the department of Social Services was situated. It had namely to do with the distribution of money. This relates to the characteristics mentioned above, but at the same time, I want to confront it contextually with the portrets of the minority members . Hilke Pars presents a morning ritual with choreography in “Zaanse Kleden” (2004). Naturally, the popular assossiation of minorities with social services is inevitable. This project stands in contrast to the Rudelius and Chabot Taudin's video's that are to be found in the “backoffice”. William Speakman's work creates a relationship with the space less by telling stories but more by seeking a dialog in the form. His instalation “ Modilar Light Construction” (2006) infringes the former office complex and offers a spacial game of serial construction parts that appear as solid prefab office products.
Country presentation in visual arts is as old as the moment when visual arts became an independent exhibition form. Mainly, they strive at promoting their own country and in this they serve as a political means. The set up of Eastern Neighbours is then a big pile of visite cards of the former East Block countries, with an orange one in between. As a curator I have often my doubts about the necessity of this kind of exhibitions, but because it is simply a very appreciative project on the part of the politics (read: financial supportive), I accept this form as a fact. However, that does not stop me to play with it a little bit, to criticize this political goal and at the same time to fulfil the expectations of establishing something of a Dutch identity. Along the lines of Droog design (one of the strongest Dutch cultural export products) wants to show works with a wisecrack in order to cheer up the political message. Van den Brink's “ Adjustment to the Dutch Flag”, and Helmut Smits' speakers chair “ No Title” are the examples of this. But also Speaksman' s work can be seen as such. As the apotheosis of the exhibition Ulay shows his “ Berlin Afterimages” (1996), a monumental series of 16 photo's that he shot in the negative in Berlin of Pruisisch, mainly East Berlin buldings where the flags of the members of EU and Europian States flutter.
Bart Rutten - curator Stedelijk Museum ‘s Hertohenbosch