Hans van Houwelingen Until it stops resembling itself
September 4 - December 11, 2011
Opening: Saturday September 3, at 8 pm (also Museum Night, open until midnight)
Opening by: Carolien Gehrels, Alderman for Art and Culture, Amsterdam.
Curator: Mihnea Mircan
During the Museum Night The Hague Stroom Den Haag will open a solo exhibition by the artist Hans van Houwelingen. He is one of the leading contemporary artists explicitly engaged in the field of art and public space. His provocative and new concepts are reflected in his views on the contemporary monument. Within walking distance of the center of Dutch political power, he will address the way people think about the relationship between art and public space and the power structures that influence it.
A variety of assumptions and strategies that define the way we think about and conceptualize monuments get special focus in the work and texts of Hans van Houwelingen. In this manner he exposes the hypocrisy of today’s culture of remembrance. He recently made headlines with the project “Allegories of good and bad government”, for which a number of artists and politicians were locked in a space for four days and three nights to talk about art and the relationship between art and politics.
Likewise his recent proposal for a National Monument to the Guest Worker in Rotterdam zooms in on the political motives and sensitivities around a monument paying tribute to the social significance of immigrant workers. Van Houwelingen proposed to restore the existing sculpture by Naum Gabo on the Coolsingel to its former glory (it is in a very bad state at the moment), with the help of experts who are the descendants of guest workers. Thus the artist chooses mot to add a new sculpture to the public space of Rotterdam, but to give new meaning to an existing autonomous work of art. After a rather obscure decision-making process his proposal was rejected.
One of Van Houwelingen’s most famous and much-praised monuments can be found in Lelystad. A copy of a sculpture of Ir. Lely (the original was made by Mari Andriessen) stands on top of an (for Dutch standards) extremely high column made of basalt. For this work the artist received the ‘Enterprise Award Lelystad’.
The exhibition ‘Until it stops resembling itself’ forms a diptych with the publication with the same title (Onomatopee, Cabinet project, ISBN….). In both projects three proposals for monuments take center stage: “Sluipweg”, realized at Kunstfort Vijfhuizen (and possibly in the future on the Museumplein in Amsterdam), “Gastarbeidermonument” (National Monument to the Guest Worker) in Rotterdam and “Thorbeckemonument” for The Hague. The exhibition consists of a number of large-scale video projections and aims to make tangible the inability to represent publicness in an exhibition. The (presupposed) spatial embedding, social effect and dynamic surroundings of the monuments are the focal point of attention.
The publication and the exhibition are unique because, for the very first time, they put the work of Van Houwelingen in an international context. Many eminent international authors will cooperate on the project, including Julia Bryan-Wilson, Brian Dillon, Jean Heijmans, Mark Jarzombek, Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield, Gerald Raunig, David Riff and Marina Vishmidt.
The exhibition by Hans van Houwelingen can be seen as a continuation of Stroom’s 'nu monument' program (2007 – 2010), about the (im)possibility of a contemporary monument.
The publication ‘Until it stops resembling itself’ is a collaborative project between Onomatopee and Extra City. In addition they will also host an exhibition by Hans van Houwelingen. At Onomatopee from 5/11/2011 to 18/12/2011; at Extra City, together with Jonas Staal, from 18/11/2011 to 8/1/2012.
The Romanian curator Mihnea Mircan, artistic director of Extra City in Antwerp, is the curator of the exhibition. In 2008 he curated 'Since we last spoke about monuments' at Stroom Den Haag.
A side program of guided tours will accompany the exhibition (for up-to-date information please check www.stroom.nl (Stroom School).
The exhibition is made possible by:
City of The Hague, City of Amsterdam, Mondriaan Foundation, Extra City (Antwerp), Onomatopee (Eindhoven), Volendammer Vishandel J. Bootsman (Rotterdam), World Trade Center (Rotterdam), De Bijenkorf (Rotterdam), Jaap Karelse (The Hague), St. Ondernemers Rembrandtplein (Amsterdam), Hotel The Veteran (Amsterdam), Kunstfort Vijfhuizen, Pro Acoustic (The Hague).