Going back in time: Daniel Gould’s 3D List, Art in Amsterdam #88

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for the Amsterdam art market? Wait until you see the plethora of RED DOTS. The first six galleries reviewed, on this list, are galleries that had three or more RED DOTS at their opening. Let's keep it up!


Bits & Pieces:

Festival Review: Amsterdam Light Festival

What's Happening at the Galleries:


WGKUNST (Marius van Bouwdijk Bastiaansestrat 28) repeats last year's Christmas sale. 100 artists, showing one hundred works, and each priced at 100 euro. It doesn't get any better! The sale days: 12th and 13th December. 
This is on my FACEBOOK page: "He said, 'Why do you wear a bra. You've got nothing to put in it?' And I said, 'You wear pants don't you?'" Enough said...sounds like something Dorothy Parker would have said as she brushed her teeth and sharpened her tongue as her first act of the day. 
More from the Butcher (de Hallen, Albert Cuyp). They are handing out napkins that say: "Wipe that bloody smile." Hmmm. How about these other witty witticisms: "What's your beef?"; "Show me the mustard"; "I turn grills on"; "Nice Buns", is that sexist? And this one...I not sure I understand: "I love vegetarians with fries and ketchup". Whatever!

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Amsterdam Light Festival, 28th November until 17th January, 2016.

This is the 4th Year for the Amsterdam Light Festival. It is a complement to early sunsets when it is dark by 16:30. Then it comes alive. There are two ways to see this exhibition and celebration to light: By boat and walking/bike. Which mode should you choose? Well, both, actually. And here is why...

The original initiator, for the festival, was Felix Guttmann who had a business interest for establishing it. He owns 45 skippered boats that sell canal tours. His most important clients are the tourist; between December through February, their numbers are small. What to do? Being a pragmatic Dutchman he came up with the idea of a light exhibition, of international importance, that played to the canal boats. He approached Rogier van der Heide, an international architectural light designer, for assistance. So this is NOT an Amsterdam subsidized event; it is a private initiative that receives contributions form various Dutch cultural foundations, the city itself; and support from several Amsterdam' commercial enterprises including a percentage of the canal boat ticket price from all operating companies. Its total cost is around two million euro. And is has attracted international attention. For the press viewing, I sat at a table, on a boat, with a German and English journalist. Across from us there was a Japanese film crew. There are other light festivals around the world, but what makes Amsterdam's special is it is ALL original work. In March, of each year, an announcement is posted on the Internet asking for proposals for projects. This year over 350 serious proposals, around the theme Friendship, were submitted, from 35 countries. A jury selected 38 art works and installations from the 100 finalist. 

So seeing it by boat is the ideal way...almost. Almost, because the boat never stops during the 75 minute tour. There are works that you might want to linger at. And, of course, you can do that by bike or by walking. And that part is FREE. On line you can order tickets at a 25% discount off the 20 euro price. 

I am not going to review every piece, in fact, only a few. The boat tour begins at Central Station, however press preview began at the Amsterdam City Hall. We started down the Herengracht at the Amstel. From the Amstel to the Utrechtstraat there is one long and continuous light sculpture piece. And it is by an Amsterdam' artist who is returning for his second appearance in the festival: Rolf Westerhof. His is a spectacular piece that stretches 160 meters and very colorful. (Details of the concept at: https://bit.ly/2Qidbe2). Next comes Talking Heads which is light in motion. That is, there are two large head-like objects looking across the canal at each other. When a boat interrupts their light sensors a program activates facial expressions which are always different since all boats are different sizes. You view a conversation and interpret the words as to the expressions you see. Further on, at the Leidesegracht, are 21 different Haring-like stick figures dancing across the bridge. Literally. Impressive!

Americans will no doubt be surprised to see three caricatures of the Statue of Liberty. Instead of a torch, each is holding on an extended arm a cornucopia (a horn of plenty). In the water space between Central Station and the Damrak is an interactive light piece. Your tour boat goes through the center of the object. Cool! And just a little further on there is Merry Go Round Europe. As the boat approaches it, motion sensors switch on the merry-go-round which then acts like a marry go round at a carnival. 

There is also a walking tour in the neighborhood of the Plantage which will take you about 90 minutes to see everything. Don't miss Bands of Friendship, from India, which consists of nine circular light rings in as many colors; it creates an illusion of infinity.  And, oh, so much more. Don't miss it! This is what surprising Amsterdam is all about...constant surprises 365 days a year. 

See photos at: https://bit.ly/2haTDae 


Let us begin on a positive note....

Hans Op de Beeck is at Galerie Ron Mandos (Prinsengracht 282) with another exhibition showing his latest works. And it is an exemplary show...and, well, where to begin? Perhaps with the large b/w w/c. The contrast between the b/w and infinite shades of gray is captivating. All the more so because the technique is part Pointillist and has a look of being derived from a stencil. What you get is an abstraction of the imagery. It is all there, but it is mysterious at the same time. The subject matter is eclectic: a railway scene; a merry-go-round surrounded by evergreens; a fair by-the-sea. etc. However, it will probably be his objects that get the most attention. There is a lily pond about three meters across with lilies on pads and could be an homage to Monet, but without the colors. You can't miss the grand piano which is decorated with a collection of picture frames resting on its lid as well as other objects like candle sticks and grapes. Then there is the messy living room with a sofa by a window, a floor lamp, a variety of objects, including cigarette butts and an empty pizza box, and a napping dog. (160x120 cms., Lambda print mounted on Dibond, Ed 5 @ 15,000 euro; 120x290 cms,m, b/w w/c @ 32,000 euro; 155x146x200 cms., wood @ 90,000 euro) And, the positive note that we begin with is the fact that there were FIVE RED DOTS at the VIP Preview opening. Until 2nd., January. www.ronmandos.nl 
Law & Order is the title of the current exhibition at FONTANA GALLERY (Lauriergracht 11) for the photographic series by Jan Banning. The show was opened by Boris Dittrich, formerly head of the political party D66 and now with Human Rights Watch. In one way this is an ironic show since it focuses on prisons and courtrooms and in color. One night have expected b/w to bring out the grimness of the realities. Even so the show is informative. He surveys the criminal justice system in four countries: Columbia, France, Uganda and the United States. Banning's technical quality is first rate but it is the other aspects---some of them subtle---which makes the photos, at times, to be almost surreal. (All photos come is three sizes: 40x60 cms., Ed. 15; 75x100 cms., Ed. 10; and 120x 160 cms., Ed. 3; priced at 3,325 euro, 6,500 euro, and 8,750 euro respectively. Inclusive frame)  4 RED DOTS at the opening. Until 23rd Janaury www.fontanagallery.com 
At OKKER Art Gallery (Vijzelstraat 125) hangs the photographs of Bert Verwelius and titled, Simply Beauty. He updates the pin-up photo art of the 40s and 50s but with poises more provocative than the earlier variety. And he goes beyond that by introducing conceptual elements into the imagery like the nude wrapped in see-through plastic. He makes several references to our age of sexual consumerism  like the huge panoramic photograph with both men and women participating in the early stages of an orgy. Then there are the humorous asides like the table setting that includes a bottle of Dom Perignon, a vintage wine, caviar and a box of Viagra. Also, there are several works that I would describe as "studies in contrast." Two are in b/w and four in glorious color. (155x110 cms., 7,500 euro-8,500 euro; 155x347 cms.,) 3 RED DOTS. Until 19th December
Hein de Kort, is a multi talented artist---he also does comic strips---shoed at ART KITCHEN (Hemonylaan 6a)  with large wall hanging sculptures made from cardboard and titles it Modern Roadkill. There is an element of Keith Haring in these whimsical designs. Lots of color makes for playful imagery with lots off elements. (Cardboard + acrylic paint; 1,550 to 2,100 euro) 4 RED DOTS at finessage. www.artkitchen.nl
SLEWE (Kerkstraat 105)  presents Verticals and Horizontals by Krijn de Koning. He creates wood sculpture pieces that are a labyrinth of forms with an array of colors. A 3x2 meter work looks like a complicated children's jungle gym: Squares, rectangles and all connected with linear pieces. The color combinations are an unusual mix of pastels. All together it is a busy visual fantasy come alive. There are three smaller examples and two are what you could describe is miniatures measuring 25x19x17 cms. Also seven ink on paper geometric drawings. (15x22 cms., ink on paper @ 1,150 euro; 19x22x22 cms., painted wood @ 6,850 euro; 100x160x300 cms., painted wood @ 53,500 euro)  3 RED DOTS at opening Until 19th December. www.slewe.nl 
Three artists are showing a Galerie Oranjerie under the titles Winter's Tale (Lijnbaansgracht 307). Anne van As paints mix media miniatures of landscapes covered in snow. She is also hanging nicely realized images of birds in shades of gray. (7x9 cms., mixed media @ 250 euro; 50x409 cms., ink + acrylic on paper @ 250 to 750 euro) 4 RED DOTS at opening....Hjalmas Riemersma makes silkscreen prints of scenes form a forest featuring elk, rabbits and birds, not to mention pussy cats. Minimal colors. (34x25 cms., Ed 20 to 40, print 135 euro); He also does oils which are the antithesis to his print work. Strong, bright  and vibrant colors. And the style is impressionistic figurative. One needs a distance of five meters to be appreciated. (34x25 cms., print @ 135 euro; 70x50 cms., oil on linen @ 1,950 euro;)....Sandra Kruisbrink presents a series of trees where the imagery is almost abstract and are b/w with shades of gray highlight these leafless trees. Boom (tree) is one work that stands out. It is a cut-out of a tree and meticulously executed. (32x41 cms., pencil/pastel on paper @ 750 euro; 86x122 cms., cut out drawing/tempera @ 2,150 euro)  1 RED DOT at opening. Until 24th December. https://bit.ly/2MRWYdz 
Martina Johanna is the curator for the current show at WALLS (Prinsengracht 737) with 11 artists participating. The works ranges from photography to paintings to conceptual pieces. She sums-up the theme as "There is a romance about all those who are aboard in the bird house." Amelia Bauer's work is photography with lighting nuances that project the imagery. Johanna's own work is acrylic on canvas and more than contemporary portrait style because it wanders into the conceptual field. Leanne Eisen presents abstract photography which is visually asserting. Iris Dunker gives us two sides of the story. The 200x135 cms., piece hangs from the ceiling and as a result you have two different images, front and back. Joris van Egmond's Night Journey series is noteworthy for its color/light contrast. Until __?__ https://bit.ly/2LRAexM
Cecile van Hanja (Fr) is hanging her fifth show at BMB (Kerkstraat 129). She brings lots of color to her linear geometric abstract paintings with a variety of rectangles, squares, linear perspectives and the contrast between it all makes for a visual experience. There is indeed a figurative element, but it's really irrelevant. What is important is how it all comes together in one composition. While you might describe her work as busy it has a mysterious calming effect in that it puts our environment into its proper perspective much like the Bauhaus. (30x30 cms., acrylic/oil on cotton @ 450 euro; 60x70 cms., acrylic/oil on cotton @ 1,150 eruo; 120x200 cms., acrylic/oil on cotton @ 4,200 euro)  Until 19 December www.galeriebmb.nl 
...And just down the street, a few doors away, is De Witte Voet (Kerkstraat 135) with the ceramic work of Angel Garraza(Spain). She is basically a conceptualist ceramic maker. She works in white and a mild colored black, mainly. She is most concerned with form and contrast to the form. That is there are 20 circular works, but each has a different shaped lip and there is an inserted ceramic form that is polished against the matte of its host. Two floor pieces are, well, different. And there is a standing form, in a mild black and white. Smaller works emulate the circular pieces but do so in rectangular shapes. (300, 600, 2,200, and 8,000 euro). Until 16th January. www.galeriedewittevoet.nl 
GRIMM (Frans Halsstraat 26) is showing Jay Heikes (USA) in a show titled Necrophiliac. He is a conceptual artist that works with dirt to create mono types and tapestries. Basically, everything is b/w or dirty gray. That is, real dirt is used to creates several of the works. The "tapestries" hanging from the wall and the material has been saturated with dirt and there is nuances of coloration. Another series of paper works look like prints, but are fabricated from several processes. There is subliminal imagery as well. 3D sculptured pieces incorporate several materials like bottles packed in mud sitting on a table with a diamond-grid at its top. Another work looks like an electric stove and a pair of shoes are in the oven. Hey, why not? Again, it is composed of dirt. Unusual and certainly unique work and imagery. (175x66 cms., Asphaltum @ $7,000; 287x71x5 cms., sand, chiffon, paper glue, aluminium, & steel shag @ $10,000; An work in seven parts each at 111x76 cms., @ $20,000) Until 16th January www.grimmgallery.com 
What to make of this exhibition at AKINCI (Lijnbaansgract 317)? Perhaps a more apt question is: How should 3D describe it? It is a fashion statement or non-fashion attack? Indeed, does fashion really have anything to do with it? The artist is Gluklya (Russia). What we see hanging from the ceiling and the walls are clothes which take on geometric and abstract forms done from a surrealistic  point of view. There are also two video works from the artist. Along one wall hang 24 pen/ink line drawings which are also somewhat surrealistic. (30x21 cms., ink on paper @ 1,200 euro; 77x30 cms., mix media @ 3,500 euro; 160x145 cms., mix media @ 7,000 euro)  Until 16thJanuary www.akinci.nl 
...And a few steps away is LUMEN TRAVO (Lijnbaansgravcht 314) with Oto Bong Nkanga (Nigeria). This is an overview of her drawings, video and photograph works. 3D hesitates to review the show because the artist critisized my first review at this gallery. She said, "You don't understand my work!" I replied, "I don't try to understand an artist' work I only try to describe it." In her eyes, I failed. So be it! Until 16th January. www.lumentravo.nl 
Francesco Candeloro (IT) is at Red Stamp Gallery (Rusland 22) with light objects which coincides with the A'dam Light Festival. He uses light and thick Plexiglas and from the conceptual angle. Two  Plexiglas boxes, about 50x50 cms., square, each have a silkscreen portrait on each visable side. But we see through this and view objects that look a lot like American Indian arrow points, but embellished with shadows from the figuration on the boxed walls. There are also 36 A4 drawings/cut-outs and each is layered with a plastic sheet of see through film. Next to it is another work which is the same, but different. All the A4 sheets have been enclosed into a Plexiglas binder. You can have the work in two different manifestations. Opposite, are six photographs that emphasize light. A large wall hanging consist of four thick sheets of Plexiglas and in two colors. Two are of the same shape. However, they are hung parallel and juxstaposed to the other with a light source accenting the overall piece. (Photos @ 1,200 euro; Large wall hanging @ 12,000 euro)  Until 25th February. https://bit.ly/2xucqWE 
MINI GALLERY (Kinderstraat 12) presents the duo Erica Magassa and Ekta (nee: Daniel Gotesson) both form Sweden. They make collages with vinyl overlays. Each work is 50x40 cms. The artist "share common influences" and they "encourage , critique and inspire the other." What you get is work with a strong influence from African carvings added to vibrant colors and geometric abstract cuttings in vinyl. Some are playful with Keith Haring-like works; others conceptual. There is a "fanzine"  available in an edition of 25, signed, at 10 euro. (50x70 cms., collage @ 750 euro)  
Until 16th January http://minigalerie.nl/ 

There you have it! We close out the first half of the 2015-2016 Amsterdam Art season on a very positive note. Let the momentum continue into the new year...Speaking of which: HAPPY HOLIDAYS. 

Photo: Amsterdam Light Festival, fotoclub Leidsche Rijn