In 1997 I went to Jerusalem with my wife because she had to attend a congres. During the daytime, when my wife would be present at lectures and discussions on ancient languages, I made walks in the city. I walked along the ancient wall and visited some of the gates of Jerusalem. The thing that most impressed me was life in East-Jerusalem. The Israeli part of the city made me think of the US, the west coast. In the eastern part of the old city I felt I could experience life in the middle east. I made a series of drawings in my sketchbook. Looking forward to another visit to Israel, I thought it might be interesting to publish some from my 1997 sketchbook.
The text on the first sketch says: This sketching book starts in Jerusalem on August 5, 1997. It concerns only some small details that I noticed, that entered my eye and it mingles with what is already there. The choice of subjects is probably decided by what preceded our journey. I saw the eye in an advert in East Jerusalem, a nice start for a series of sketches.
EX-MÊKH, Ellen Rodenberg, Maarten Schepers and Kees Koomen, participated in Platforms Project 2022. It was the tenth edition after two years of improvisation on the internet and a somewhat improvised edition in the fall of 2021. Ellen Rodenberg, Maarten Schepers and I liked the video we made for the internet edition in 2021: we built a booth with the usual measurements in the studio, and we filmed how we built an installation in the way we usually work. Platform Projects showed the video on the internet under the name Stage Arousal. Later it was shown in Paris on the front of EP7, a multidisciplinary building with 17 screens on the Avenue de France, near La Grande Bibliothèque.
This time we decided to build another booth with a different context. Not a white cube, but it had a wooden floor and walls. Moreover, we built it in the open air in the woods and the back side (the second wall) stayed open. As a result, it became a sculpture in itself. We started to work there, improvising and experimenting. Eventually it resulted in the provisional video Scenes from a Wormhole which we showed in the fair together with an installation which was made from material we had used in the video.
I decided that I wanted to make work on the basis of reinterpretation of some of my older work. The Paintings Ira la cual manda fuoco(1998) and La figura, con paura, storna (1997) came to my mind, from the project I did on the poem Donna me prega of the Italian renaissance-poet Guido Cavalcanti. Referring to the first painting I did a performance for the video in which I burned publications made about my visual work. This act shows the artistic practice of reconsidering your own work, burning older meanings and making it new. As to the second painting: I painted a self-portrait, naked with a burning match in my hand, turning away from the result of another performance I did for the video: a sheet of paper on which I breathed out, thereby spitting some chewed-on smarties on the sheet (Janus – breathing in-breathing out). The naked figure is the artist who is looking at his work before he goes to sleep. Or he thinks about his work awake in bed and goes down to the studio, in the nude as he sleeps, to see his work and to be struck by the power of what he did turning his head away in awe. It is a well-known effect, later to be surprised by what you did after having ended the day in the studio very unsure of it. The fact that the figure is naked has en extra layer, because Diogenes walked the streets of Athens naked with a lamp in his hand to look for virtue, another theme from my earlier works. With this some pictures of what EX-MÊKH showed in Athens:
To keep up a well-established Fluxus tradition, HOK commissioned their neighbourhood carpenter to make a HOK FluxBox, to be filled with contributions by their own gang of HOK artists and Fluxus people they admire. They made sure to have all the submitted pieces of art juxtaposed in the HOK FluxBox to a neat disarray of objects, cards, materials, and components. This unpremeditated assemblage has resulted in a tangible poetics and non-linear narrative as it was meant to.
Last week, HOK’s artist in residence Lula Valletta personally delivered the HOK FluxBox at the Museum FLUXUS+ in Potsdam Berlin. The HOK FluxBox, hand crafted by Bram Massaar, and filled to the brim with art works by Philip Corner, Jeff Perkins, Nico Lootsma, Dana LaMonda, Jordan Herregraven, Leonor Faber-Jonker, Counter Culture Chronicles, Ronin, Hans Köning, Weronika Trojanska, Lula Valletta, René van der Voort, Bobbi Oskam, Gaye Black, Mr. Pelham, Gavin Jay, Erwin de Hart, Harold de Bree, Kees Koomen, and our sadly missed Bob Lens, is now part of the Museum FLUXUS+ collection.