Friday September 29 was the day RUW #6 was presented to the public. It happened during Hoogtij, the two-monthly open platforms evening in Den Haag. For the occasion HOK gallery was available and the editor decided that a large drawing was to be made by all participants in this edition of RUW. This drawing was going to be auctioned on sunday.
The presentation was a succes, many visitors came by to see the new RUW Magazine and not many magazines were left in the end. You can find an account of the opening here!
Then sunday the auction of the large drawing took place. It did not draw a lot of attention but those who came were a motivated public. After some useless attempts of the auctioneer Geert Schriever to sell the drawing as a whole details of the drawing were offered for which two ladies showed the formats with wooden angles. This worked better and the afternoon ended with a positive amount of money on the account and everybody enjoying a glass of wine.
Equinox was a succes with more then twenty performers on the Hof in Dordrecht. There were moments that the atmosphere was beautiful in slow movements with colour and sound. My own performance existed of soundbytes that I spread out over the square by speaking them out to people, by writing them on little scraps of paper and hiding them on the square and by listening for sounds of the past on different places of the historic square. The soundbytes were pieces of conversation or cries that I noted during my project Walks to the Malieveld. You can find an account of the afternoon here! And a video by Steef van Lent can be found here!
I did also make two sketches of performers which you can see here:
On March 23 in this year 222 lodge invited performance artists to gather in the Hof in Dordrecht in the Netherlands to celebrate the equinox, the moment the sun passes the equator in spring. There will be a second equinox on September 23. Consequently September 24 there will be another performancefestival in the Hof in Dordrecht. I was not able to attend in spring but this time I will participate with a performance after a new invitation by Frans van Lent.
The first Equinox took place in the rain, I hope this time the weather will be more cooperative. To get an impression of the first Equinox you can watch this!
In spring I started the project page on this website on which I show the source of a lot of my work. It shows the sketches I make next to my texts in my diaries. Lots of them are the inspiration for new paintings, installations or performances. I recently published sketches from my trip to the US and Mexico in 1984 which proved a change of focus from the USA and western culture to the more European background I grew up in. I realised that I admired the Spanish colonial heritage in Mexico and California and that I never traveled to Spain. My interest in Spanish culture and Mediterranean culture in general began to grow. Ezra Pound’s translation of French troubadour poetry and Spanish Renaissance poetry was also an inspiration.
De Aanschouw is the smallest gallery in The Netherlands. Until now it’s location is in the Witte de With straat in Rotterdam, better known for its terraces and art centres Melly and TENT. The gallery is a showcase across from where the NRC was once produced. Once the newspaper was ready for print the first newspaper to come out was shown in the showcase across the street, next to café De Schouw. The bar was famous for its clientèle amongst which artists, writers and editors of NRC. When De Aanschouw started it showed an art piece once a week. The initiators invited curators to present weekly art pieces. Daan den Houter, famous Rotterdam artist, started his project Overschilderschilderij here also. After painting a self-portrait he invited painters he knew to paint a new painting over it. Each new painter covered the preceding painting. This way the painting became a brick-like object , it has hundred forty-nine paintings covering it now. The new exhibitions of paintings and of the Overschilderschilderij always open at de wissel (the change), on Thursday night at 21.00 h.
Volunteers took care of the exhibitions and organisation of it and to get some working-capital they thought of an annual auction at the start of the season. This took place on the street in the Witte de Withstraat at the opening of the cultural season. Lately TENT invites De Aanschouw to do it in their space. Because of Corona the auction has been postponed for three years. This time it took place at the end of the season though, coinciding with the end of De Aanschouw at café De Schouw. The gallery-showcase will move to Café Ari at de Nieuwe Binnenweg in Rotterdam.
Back from a short stay elsewhere I found DeFKa-Research Magazine #6 in my mailbox. In this magazine essays and art on the theme Driftwood are published. I participated with a piece under the name Drijfhout (text in Dutch) with outtakes from my diaries from since I finished art school. The Illustrations are artworks that were based on these outtakes. I first wrote a thorough theoretical piece, but I changed my mind about that and I send in this text thinking it is better to show and not tell. Magazines can be ordered on the site of DeFKa Research.
An older text that I wrote for DeFKa Research, The Lying Poet, can now be read on my own site.
Recently I took The Stone back to France. I decided that it ought to be in its natural surroundings after having travelled in Europe for some years. I was in France building terraces in a garden with similar stones last week . Before, I imagined that instead of standing in a living room in Den Haag The Stone is better off in a natural function, centrally in a useful construction. So here it is now, overlooking a village and a river, opposite a castle which is strategically placed on a wall next to the river. Underneath you will find a brief history of the stone.
Once there was a stone. It was quietly enjoying the place where it was, in a garden in Vaucluse in France. The owners of the garden also have a garden in Den Haag and, overcome by their imagination they thought it might be a good idea to take the stone to Holland together with some other stones. They gave them a place in their Dutch garden, to put some Provençal colour into their Dutch Eden. As it happens, the artist’s studio of one of the owners looks out on the garden. Thinking about content for his Malieveld Project his eyes were caught by the sculptural qualities of the stone. So, he took it to the Malieveld and executed a short performance with it:
In september the female artist of EX-MÊKH was invited for the ‘FeMaler‘ exibition in Berlin. The two remaining male members of EX-MÊKH were invited as antagonists. The owner of the stone, collaborating in EX-MÊKH, decided to dedicate his contribution to the muse. He would make an installation which he opened with a performance using the stone again: He lay beside it and tapped on it to hear the voices of troubadours that it must have experienced, lying along the roads where these poets traveled from castle to castle in the middle ages. After hearing them sing he set up pedestals on which he put paintings of his muses.
After the opening of the exhibition The Stone stayed in Berlin all winter, in the studio of Marian Wijnvoord, a friend of ours and also a member of KRAATZ, an interesting international artists’ collective we work with sometimes. In the early spring of 2021 Platforms Project in Athens stated it was impossible to do a regular fair because of the pandemic. Instead they asked participants to make video’s and pictures, they would open a page on the site of Platforms Project for each of the participants. EX-MÊKH decided to make a video and they also invited friends to contribute to the project which was called Stage Arousal . A-Trans and Kraatz from Berlin were invited to make a video for the website of the Greek Fair. When the KRAATZ-video was sent EX-MÊKH was surprised to see the Stone as protagonist of the video. The artists participating in KRAATZ decided to do little performances with it under the name Idioliths!
In the end of June 2021 KRAATZ invited EX-MÊKH to participate in the exhibition ‘Les Idiolithes’in EP7 in Paris. It’s building has a facade with sixteen video-screens facing the Avenue de France. We were invited to show video on this wall for two weeks, alternating with KRAATZ and Sabine Bürger who was also invited. KRAATZ showed Idioliths with The Stone for their video:
In the opening weekend there was an opportunity to do performances, of which a ritual returning of The Stone from KRAATZ to EX-MÊKH was already planned. This Returning of The Stone was planned the second night and I proposed to do ‘The Weight’ again with the idea that The Stone had gained a soul, traveling from France to Den Haag, to Berlin, to Paris and back to Den Haag. All the more because it got more meaning each time and it would be a real responsibility to take care of it and maybe use it again. Thus it happened: the first evening two performances including the stone had been planned:
The second night the ritual returning of The Stone to EX-MÊKH was performed:
EX-MÊKH also performed separately. Kees Koomen did another performance with The Stone under the title Sentiers d’été, rolling it around in a circle and making works on paper about his hikes in Vaucluse where The Stone originated from.
After this weekend, The Stone was taken back to Den Haag where it was kept on a little table in the living room for one and a half year.
Frans van Lent vroeg me enige tijd geleden mee te doen aan een project van hem: The places where we are (or would like to be)
Hij heeft dat nu uitgewerkt in The places we were:
“On 24 July 2018, while walking in the Perigord, I had phone conversations with friends about the places we were at the moment: The places where we are (or would like to be). During these talks, we sent each other pictures of our surroundings. For me, this occasion connected the conversations to the specific places; they became inextricably linked. I cannot walk past these places now without thinking of the person I was talking to there, and of the conversation we had. Today, I revisited three places.”
And this is the edition I made for l’Anniversaire de l’Art: Trace of Muse. You might remember the first appearance when I was having a beer during my residency in France in 2008. Or the search for her under water as a Malieveld-action off-site in France. During my research in the USA she also appeared in San Francisco at Montgomery. I even have a text on shard about her! These are stones taken from the Sorgue River on January 5, 2023. It is an edition of five footprints of the muse I keep encountering. The colour comes from pigment I got from Roussillon near the source of the Sorgue river: