From the days I processed the memories from my childhood in paintings, right after art-school, I have wanted to put my work in context. The series of youth memories were presented and sold in groups of two or three. Later I painted a series of six paintings inspired by “Erlkönig” to confront them with a large painting of Saint Christopher. All to illustrate the road an artist has to walk to do what he has to do.
At Maurits van de Laar gallery in Den Haag I built a house on which the paintings were shown from the inside out instead of from the outside in as would happen in a regular show. As if they were windows through which you could see the inside of my house. This was my first installation, the basis of a series of paintings.
The “Canto’s” of Ezra Pound are juxtapositions of seemingly unrelated elements which make it possible for me to associate and form my own ideas about the texts. They have a surrealistic quality that I like a lot. Inspired by this I started to show groups of paintings next to each other and I started to show studio-walls during exhibitions.
Then I became part of EX-MÊKH. Out of a need for exhibitions a group of four artists, Maarten Schepers, Hans Ensink op Kemna, Ellen Rodenberg and myself, did a small show with one work each. After that we started to work in a project-space where we would meet every week and show what we had done. This project-space became one huge installation. The period we worked in it was a period of liberation: everything could be done and everything could be connected. Every discipline could be used and this was shown in a series of exhibitions for which we were asked. For me personally it was the start of working with video and eventually performance, combining those with painting and other elements. Installations also appeared to have a conceptual side to it, just like the video’s and the performances. The use of text has recently enforced this element in my work and it also makes me use my writing in my visual work, so lots of things come together now!
For the Hybrid Art Fair 2022 EX-MÊKH was asked to exhibit in a hotelroom. We all thought about which space we wanted to use and I opted for the bathroom. I wanted to show my torn naked selfportrait which I used in the Femaler exhibition in Berlin to show the vulnerability of an artist in these last two years. The situation in which fear of a Covid-contamination put pressure on society and when the artworld was paralyzed because of the impossibility to organize exhibitions or have openings tore me apart in different engagements. When on the 26th of February, the day the fair opened, the war in Ukraïne started the installation got even more loaded with meaning: what were we doing on a fair in Madrid when a world-war might break out?
For Platforms Project NET 2021 EX-MÊKH decided to make a video of the making of an installation. In it one could follow the decisions of each member on enriching the whole. Maarten Schepers built a booth like the ones we usually show our work in Athens in. During a cold week in February we came together daily to add to the installation. We decided the booth could also be seen as a stage on which performance could take place, so a number of actions were executed. Unaware of what the others were going to do we went through a series of surprises. My personal input was based on works of artists that inspired me. Here you can see my additions to the Stage Arousal as the video was called. I leave it to you to recognise the inspiration for the work!
Have You Seen the Stars Tonight?
A TRANS, Schaufenster U-Bahnhof Kleistpark (U7), Berlin (D)
September 11 – October 18, 2020
A-Trans in Berlin asked Ellen Rodenberg to make an installation in their Schaufenster exhibitions in Subwaystation Kleistpark (U7). This season the theme of all A TRANS-exhibitions is A Femme City dealing with the female gaze on urban developments. Ellen complied and decided to ask her male-EX-MÊKH companions Maarten Schepers and Kees Koomen to design a pendant of her installation focussing on the element of gender in EX-MÊKH. The exhibition was opened friday September 11, 2020 by two performances: Knocking on Heaven’s Door van Kees Koomen and Opening Ritual van Ellen Rodenberg.
Maarten Schepers designed the shop window that was available to him and Kees Koomen. He heared about Kees Koomen’s plans to do something with his muse-paintings, a series of small works inspired by the ever suddenly appearing muse during his life. Maarten designed a box to be installed in the shop window: a bijou-box or a box for bon-bons referring to feminine parafernalia with the theme A Femmes City in mind. In this box he would put square pedestals to put the paintings on.
During the summer Kees did a lot of night swimming. Lying in the water looking at the stars he remembered the story of Actaeon. His own dogs ripped this Greek man apart because he saw Diana naked, bathing in a stream in the forest. Being torn apart by the manifold manifestations of beauty is a known predicament for artists. Because of this the artist painted of a self-portrait floating on his back in the sea to later tear it apart for the openingsperformance of the exhibition. The parts of his body would support the paintings. Maarten applied some formal adjustments of the shop window: he changed the colours into the colours of the water and the sky at night, he lowered the ceiling on one side as to suggest more space by adding perspective and he cut holes in the sky to suggest stars. Orange tape was also put on the window above and under the image. The men decided to make the pedestals round and to partly paint them in the colour of the water.
Facial Reflections – Stichting Ruimtevaart, Den Haag February/March 2020
For the solo-exhibition Facial Reflections, which I am showing in Ruimtevaart in Den Haag I wanted to finish the research I have been doing in the USA showing some of the results. The exhibitionspace has another space in it, on the outside you can show work on the walls in three open spaces and a corridor. On the inside is there is a possibility to make an installation. Thinking about the situation I decided to do an text-installation about my experiences in the USA under the name Oakland Blues. It consisted of a large text-work with soundbites from my diaries: one wall with textfragments from the eighties and one wall with remarks from my recent journey. The idea is to have the texts streaming over the wall and the corner on one side of the space, written in wool in different colours. On the remaining two walls I hung three paintings: one festive one with a memory from the eighties and two critical ones from my recent trip with derelicts in awful circumstances.
EX-MÊKH – PROBE
A-Trans – Haus der Statistik, Berlin (D) – December 8, 2019
EX-MÊKH was invited by A-Trans in Berlin, Germany to join in a performancefestival individually and to make an exhibition for the month of December as EX-MÊKH. I decided to add a selfportrait of my senses, dark holes in which everything I sense disappears te return as artworks. It’s made of black painted paper with sea-salt glued to it (salt is the basis of life). On that I wrote the appropriate words:
From what I see I pick
What I hear I process
What I taste I Judge
What I smell I recognize
Whith what I feel I work
I prepared little objects to put on the ears as embellishment. They are little canvasses with words on them, things I take into consideration when working.
The Diaries, September 16 until October 6, 2019
MÊKH-web – EX-MÊKH-exhibition
Quartair Contemporary Art Initiatives, Den Haag – September 20-October 6, 2019
This installation/performance is the diary of the exhibition period of MÊKH-web. I wanted to write short remarks on the wall about the best or the worst that happened to me the day I wrote about. For it I used wool in different colours and push-buddies. When the exhibition was opened I wrote in the presence of public. The result could be read in the beginning, but eventually letters began to merge and the result became an abstract drawing in which fragments could be recognized. It was meant as a parallel to the way memory works. I couldn’t help thinking of the way figurative art changed to abstract art in the works of Mondriaan and Bart van der Leck for instance.
Keepsake – Apprentice-Master Project,
Kunstpodium T, Tilburg – February 9-March 4, 2018
The texts read “Beholder” and “Homo Ludens”, two attitudes a true artist should combine. The eyes mirror the beholder of the piece, suggesting he/she should also have a similar attitude looking at this work.
Fresco e Fruttato
B-cademy – Rotterdam – Uitdagen, September 9-10, 2017
The texts underneath read “Fuck Focus”and “” E Pluribus Unum”, it’s a comment of the present state of the USA and a present for Daan den Houter and Anique Weve who were leaving for a residency in Los Angeles some days later.
Una donna soïseubuda
Museum Waterland, Purmerend – Augustus 2017
The texts read “Beauty is Difficult” and “Una donna soïseubuda” (a composed lady). This “borrowed lady” comes from a poem of the French troubadour Bertrans de Born who, after beïng rejected by his love, lady Maent of Montaignac, wrote a song about an ideal woman who showed the best elements of the ladies in his surroundings.
In the texts is a photograph which shows an action by me about a personal mythology: when I overlooking the Sorgue river in Provence I suddenly remembered the vision of a najade, my muse, fleeing under water at the sight of me. I took a dive after her, looking for her. This installation combines troubadour poetry and mentality, the influence of Ezra Pound (whose citation is underneath) and the sense of beauty an artist must have.
Donna me prega
EX-MÊKH in Independent Art Fair Platforms project, Athens – May 20 – 25, 2017
These texts read “Beauty is difficult” and “Eviction”. The gouaches are about the poem Donna mi prega”by Guido Cavalcanti (Florence, 12th century) which I got to know through it’s translation in English by Ezra Pound. They depict Athens (personal memory of the place from where the ideas in the poem come from), Tuscany (where the poem was written), Bibliotheque de Paris (where the English translation of the poem was written) and the Malieveld in Den Haag, where I made some works in the Malieveld-project based on this poem. This installation shows the road this poem took to me and trough me.
EX-MÊKH in Platforms Project, Art Athina, Athens – May26-29, 2016
Coming back fro the USA I wrote texts that I heard and I put them on the wall. The bums and derelicts in the streets had shaken me and the constant movement and active attitude of people amazed me: no time for reflection!
The people lying around would put something over their face to prevent the light from keeping them awake, they often used a hanky!
The text on the right I combined with Maarten’s primeordial wall-sculpture!
EX-MÊKH at A-Trans Art platform, Berlin (D) September 12 – October 10, 2015
A-Trans gave us the opportunity to make an exhibition in Berlin. In a city that has a history as Berlin has and in the light of the changing political situation with Russia and China threatening Europe in various ways I thought of celebrating collaboration. First collaboration in the exhibitions I organized with Maarten and Ellen for years, culminating in this exhibition. But also collaboration with our network, our public and on another level the collaboration in Europe which should develop in my opinion. Therefore I showed a moving newspaper-clip of Helmut Kohl and François Mitterrand standing hand in hand in Verdun at the commemoration of the first world-war as a first sign of Germany and France approaching each other. For me personally it is two cultures coming together: German culture I know from my youth, from the stories about the second world-war, but also from the music that was played and the tourists from the Ruhr-area that visited the flowerbulb area where I grew up. In Mediterranean culture I feel at home from my student days: travels along the Mediterranean sea, literature and art from these countries make me love the way people live there.
To make the installation more personal I took some notes from my diaries, which I wrote down with conté on paper. I hung them from a tree’s roots (racines). On the other side of the space I hung a painting and a mirror from a tree branch by way of the fruit that grows from that tree. The mirror is to show that my work has an influence on my surroundings, because, as the Jewish Mystic Meshullam da Piera talking about his readers put it: “You and me, (we have) a secret alliance”. Furthermore, there were paintings of my hitchhiking diaries, a portrait of Vladimir Poutine and a dark and cloudy sky around the refugee shelter that Maarten built that added to the atmosphere.
During the finissage I did a performance in which I hitchhiked among the visitors. When asked what I wanted I asked them if I could take a ride on their thoughts about the exhibition. If they agreed I would take their hand and walked through the exhibition, talking about the works. Thus I confirmed the Alliance between me and the audience.
EX-MÊKH@Platforms Project Art Athina 2015
Athens (GR) – June 3 – June 7, 2015
An installation with a collage of the things I was doing: my initials in branches, diary selfportraits, a portrait of a Jihadi made of black paper and marbles, paint strokes on a background as memories from my diary. And, because of the rubber boat Maarten hung up I suggested water streaming with gouache on paper, based on the river Sorgue where Petrarca used to walk.
Malieveld @ Atelier PRO
Struinen in Haagse Tuinen – 31 mei en 1 juni 2015
The Diaries (an excerpt)
7x52x10 chmkoome’s blog 10 jaar –
n9 Ruimtevaart – Den Haag, 6 en 7 september 2014 2014
The occasion was the 10th anniversary of my artblog, chmkoome’s blog, for which I curated an exhibition with work of all the artbloggers in Holland I know. I have different diaries on which my visual work is based, so this is in fact a personal analog artblog instead of my digital blog, an excerpt from my diaries. Earlier I invited artists that I follow in my artblog for a show during de Kunstvlaai in Amsterdam which ended up as an analog parallel to my artblog.
EX-MÊKH@Platforms Project Art Athina 2014, Athene (GR) – 15 t/m 18 mei 2014
The Exploding Second
Kunsthalle Eurocentre Lana (IT) – 2-3 mei 2014
The Diaries (a textpiece)
EX-MÊKH@Buro Rotterdam, Rotterdam – 11 t/m 26 januari 2014
For Buro Rotterdam I wanted to show my experiments with the increasing importance of text as a visual phenomenon and the combination of tekst and image to convey experiences described in my diaries.
I combined texts, written with conté on drawing paper and images in gouache. There were abstract canvasses with a paint-stroke on a font in the colour of the atmosphere over the event described in the text and brushstrokes over written texts.
This way I tried to tell a story with sentences. Some other pieces in the exhibition were first shown in the Malieveld project and the Janus was taken from a video about the act of creation: “Breathing in, breathing out” – 2008.
I did In the performance at the finissage in which I wrote on stickers what I saw around me very fast, like in a jazz-improvisation. These stickers were stuck on my head on which my surroundings reflected as text. This way I created a self-portrait on that day on that time, it also shows the artist as mirror of the world around him.
Van de krekel en de mier
Body in Motion
Pulchri Studio, Den Haag – 31 augustus t/m 22 september 2013
The Diaries (implosion)
Re:Rotterdam 2013 – 6 t/m 10 februari 2013
St Nicolaaslyceum Amsterdam – 23 november t/m 2 december 2012
For the Kunstvlaai I was asked to present my weblog. I wanted to show the artists that featured in my blog and curated an exhibition with a number of them. Every day of the kunstvlaai I wrote a text for my diary with conté on paper which I put between the works of the artists each day. At the end I had an analog blog. On saturday we did an local version of the Malieveld Project for which many artists came to Amsterdam. I also asked Justin Bennett’s performance group BMB-con to do a performance in the Amstelbos which was very interesting. It all gave a pretty good idea of art and artists that I related to in that time.
Moments in Time
Operandi – Vrije Academie, Den Haag – 16 oktober t/m 8 december 2012
Voorbij het Cadavre Exquis
Quartair Contemporary Art Initiatives, Den Haag –
19 mei t/m 3 juni 2012
During the opening of the EX-MÊKH exhibition Voorbij het cadavre exquis I executed my first performance called The Lying poet. I started by sitting down with a bowl of whipped cream on my lap and I took a piece of tekst named “Apunto”, which I wrote for my first exhibition in Amsterdam at Apunto Gallery.
First I put my face in the cream, so that all the holes in my head would fill themselves with cream. Then I started to read the tekst to the audience which of course resulted in a lot of bubbles. Whenever the public started to understand what I read I took another dip into the cream, until the text, about 1500 words, was finished. It handles about the difficult tension there is between an artist’s life and the bourgois life: it makes it hard to speak out as an artist sometimes.
Video Diaries (broad perspective)
EX-MÊKH: Todos los Santos
n9 Ruimtevaart – 12 t/m 14 november 2013
This installation combines the cosmos with the collusion of atomic particles and in between the things that humans do. The last element takes form in my video diaries that I kept for two years. I put a little video screen in the drawing in which a hole was cut out. The screen showed a loop of an hour with scenes of 15 to 30 seconds.
(EX)-MÊKH Takes Five Part I –
Stichting Ruimtevaart, Den Haag – 11 -12 – 13 september
en 18 – 19 en 20 september 2008
Of You, Me and the River
(EX)-MÊKH Takes Five Part I
N9 – Stichting Ruimtevaart Den Haag – 11 -12 – 13 september 2009
(EX)-MÊKH Takes Five Part IV
Stichting Ruimtevaart, Den Haag – 2 – 3 – 4 oktober en 9-10 en 11oktober 2009
(EX)-MÊKH Takes Five Part V
Stichting Ruimtevaart Den Haag – 2 – 3 – 4 oktober 2009
The Importance of …
Nestruimte DCR, Den Haag – 26 februari 2009
Nest in Den Haag organized a night with four well known artblogs: trendbeheer, ctraltdel, Whatspace and chmkoome’s blog. Eelco van der Lingen, the then newly appointed director asked us to present our blogs in the exhibion space. I wanted to make clear that my blog was part of my artistic practice so I set up seven easles, I invited six artist that I followed on my blog to show an artwork on an easle and showed a video myself on one of them. My intention was to make a statement about the parallel mechanisms that are at work in making an artwork and interpreting an artwork, which is what I do in my blog, daily, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.
My Cup Runs Over
De Nederlandse Cacaofabriek Helmond 26 april t/m 17 mei 2008
For the EX-MÊKH exhibition “Our Territories” I prepared two installations. First one is “House”, based on a video of a ruin in Vaucluse which I have used for my work a number of times . I discovered it during walks and regularly come by it . The house has no roof and it is deserted. Inside you only see walls with holes where the widows and the doors used to be. Central are the remains of a chimney. I often wondered about who lived there, what stories were being told at the fireplace and when it was left behind. The history of the area gives room for speculation with a crusade once raging the area and the plague taking many victims. I am touched by the many migratory movements these days, so I thought I would paint two fleeing figures as a backdrop for the videoscreen playing the video “Mas”. The painting is not classical but improvised, having a rough drawing with plastic tie for a basis and colour-planes horizontal and vertical as paint-strokes. It adds to the atmosphere of the painting.
The second installation is about the mechanics of the creative process: left is a selection of the photographs I took with my fathers Olympus Pen camera for my daily diary during a number of years. Central is a video of the streaming of the river Sorgue in Vaucluse the water of which eventually ends up in the Mediterranean Sea. On the right is a plane of sea salt glued to the wall. The photographs are part of the source of my work, the river is the proces which develops and in the sea life comes forth from it. Later the results evaporate and rain down on the pictures again to have more ideas grow from my sources.
The Beautiful All American Night
(EX)-MÊKH in CBK Apeldoorn 7 oktober t/m 24 november 2007
This installation was made about the country I studied for a year and where I chose for Europe again. There’s some irony in the title which is taken from the ending of Jack Kerouac’s novel “On the Road”, written in a time that the USA were on top of the world after winning the second world war. In the present period the Twin Towers were attacked, Islam hung like a black moon over the land of promises. The painting in it is about a meeting I had in new York with a Jewish friend of the family who still got the shakes when I asked Germans to take a picture of us at the Cloisters. There is also a portrait of Harold Rosenberg, who helped define modern art after the second world-war. Yellow stripes are an impressive image from David Lynch’s movie Lost Highway.
Atelier als Supermedium –
Exhibition-concept with installation – Den Haag, May 2007
MÊKH-STREAM was one of the two big shows that MÊKH started its development with. It took place in Atelier als Supermedium, at the time the hippest place in Den Haag (N). The artist’s initiative was started by Ton Schuttelaar and Machiel van Soest. For the first time visitors from all over the country would come to see the shows that took place in an alternative space in Den Haag. These shows lasted only one evening and the artists would be busy to install during the weeks before. In between the initiators would organize soloshows of themselves and other guests.
The space consisted of eight whit cube spaces in a former gym. Being with four at the time we decided to have everyone of us use one space for his own work and one as a guest room where he or she would install one work. The other three were asked to add work to it. This initiative would be the start of the blooming of art activities in Den Haag, but it stopped when it was really getting a name and rumours about the shows and the energy it generated had begun to attract national attention.
De Stand van Zaken
Exhibition STROOM at Toussainkade 55, Den Haag – December 2003
Shimada & Company
De Veemvloer, Amsterdam – February, 1996
Seventeen days in Provence
Galerie Maurits van de Laar, Den Haag – 1994
Installation at galerie Maurits van de Laar, Den Haag -1993
Stadscollectie op zicht
Rai Amsterdam – Mai 1993 and later Gemeentemuseum Den Haag sept/okt 1993