BARNEVELD Being forced to sit at home due to the corona pandemic has prompted artists to look more emphatically at their own environment. This has led to new inspiration and new, intriguing works of art. An impact of this can be seen until mid-September in Museum Nairac in Barneveld.
Back to the Future is the name of the new exhibition, curated by guest curator Jeroen Dijkstra. He has brought together works by eighteen well-known and lesser-known artists, including Jeroen Henneman, James Brown, Daniele Galliano, Raquel Maulwurf, Ingrid Simons and Jan Wattjes.
Museum director Margot Welle is impressed by the more than forty works. “It is a very nice exhibition, which encourages thinking and remembering to be able to move on. There is optimism in it and the exhibition gives you energy.”
[MINIVAKANTIE] Because of all those paintings and drawings by all those different artists, she feared some chaos beforehand. “But that’s not the case at all. There are also such beautiful sightlines that it seems as if the works of art enter into a dialogue with each other. And”, she continues, ‘precisely because they are works by eighteen artists, there is always something that will appeal to you,” she calls on all Barnevelders to take a look at their museum. “Think of it as a 15-minute or half-hour mini-vacation.”
Welle approached Jeroen Dijkstra of Livingstone Gallery in The Hague to curate the exhibition. “He knows a lot of artists. By choosing him again, he also curated the exhibition ‘Animal in sight’ in 2015, three worlds came together, all of which have been affected by the pandemic in their own way: the museums, the galleries and the artists.”
BEWARE THE PLACE Dijkstra sees the pandemic as a forced step. “We were all busy running, running, running, but suddenly that was no longer possible during corona.” He allowed artists to zoom in on their own environment with their own eyes.
The result is versatile and allows you to look at reality in a different way. Dijkstra: ,,There are so many beautiful things around us, but we don’t look at them. The splendor of a sunset, for example.” He shows Roger Wardin’s “Window sunset”, made in the first corona year. “He was clearly doing a study of the house. He looks out the window and observes the sunset and tries to imagine, to capture that experience. Pause for a moment, take in that environment and continue where we left off, back to the future.”
ABUNDANCE Not all works were made during the corona pandemic, says Dijkstra. ,,I’ve broadened it a bit and also added artists who were already working on that different way of looking, such as James Brown. He turned away from the lavish New York art world of the 1980s, settled in Paris and, as an artist, sought a new way of dealing with the material world. He and his wife died in a car accident at the beginning of 2020, just before the first lock-down.” The sculpture ‘The Vow of Poverty’ (The Vow of Poverty) can be seen in Nairac. It consists of a roughly worked beam on a carved and gilded Baroque French pedestal. ,,It is cast in bronze, which gives the worthless value again. These two extremes reflect his thoughts on poverty and wealth.”
The at first sight simply beautiful black-and-white drawing ‘Black sea’ by Raquel Maulwurf also has a deeper, disturbing and confrontational layer, says Dijkstra. “Her drawings arise from her fascination with humanity’s desire for destruction: the destruction of one’s own living environment through war and ecocide. ‘Black sea’ refers to oil disasters such as the one with the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. This destruction of nature makes them very tangible by scratching the surface of the drawing with a knife.
Dijkstra hopes that visitors will be touched by the artworks and become more aware of their own environment. ,,You don’t necessarily have to like them, but you can see what they do to you. All forty works also have more background information about the artist, so you can experience how he or she dealt with the pandemic. These works offer hope and comfort at the same time.”
André van der Velde