Benefit auction De Aanschouw

Auctionmaster Auke Triesschein hits the hammer, in this case for work of Toine “Dutch Bushman” Klaasen

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.

Auction assistent Maurice Meeuwisse showing my painting GREAT! which was sold at the auction

Because I had the honour to first show a painting in De Aanschouw and to paint a painting on the Overschilderschilderij . Later the organisation invited me to participate in the auction, which I did with pleasure.

EX-MÊKH in De Aanschouw 2015- Kees Koomen: Putin
Overschilderschilderij Kees Koomen: Malieveld – 2020

Driftwood

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.

Cover of the magazine
The first pages

Wanderings

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.

The Stone as it was placed
You might see an cynical expression here
But eventually all is well!

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:

Kees Koomen: The weight, performance at Malieveld Den Haag – May 2, 2020

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.

Kees Koomen; Knocking on heaven’s door – Berlin, September 11, 2020
Kees Koomen; Knocking on heaven’s door – performance for A-Trans – Berlin, September 11, 2020

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:

Video Les Idiolithes by KRAATZ collective

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:

Interview with The Stone by Forbes Morlock (KRAATZ)
Improvisation on The Stone with percussion and electronics by Yorgos Dimitriadis

The second night the ritual returning of The Stone to EX-MÊKH was performed:

Kees Koomen – KRAATZ: Remise de la pierre – The Weight

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.

Kees Koomen: Sentiers d’été – 2021

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.

The places we were

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.”

De plek waar Frans was toen hij me sprak, nu in 2023
De plek waar ik was toen Frans me sprak in 2018
Frans en ik in gesprek in 2018

The work The places we were is related to the works:
The places we are (or would like to be) – 2018
Memory Allocation – 2021

Frans van Lent

Trace of muse

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:

Kees Koomen: Trace of Muse (edition of five) – 2023

HOK Gallery

HOK CELEBRATES ART’S 1.000.060th BIRTHDAY

I will participate in this with an edition of five prints of which I will show three:

Just a few more nights’ sleep and it’s Art’s birthday. HOK will be celebrating with a group exhibition! So put on a paper hat and join the fun. Just the Fluxus way.

To celebrate the 1,000,060th anniversary of art, HOK will transform into a FLUXUS gift shop for 60 minutes on Tuesday, January 17, at 8pm. Here the birthday art can be viewed, purchased, and taken home with you. With prices ranging from 6 to 60 euros.
The 60-minute sound of the FLUXUS gift shop will be broadcast as noise on the “Art’s Birthday” network and will be heard from Tokyo to Vancouver.

Didn’t Yoko Ono present her little bulbs ball of air to the MOMA gift shop, for the visitors to take home something unforgettable?
And what are we taking home from HOK this birthday? A genuine, unadulterated multiple by one of HOK’s ever increasing bunch of free-spirited artists and friends. That is: a signed and numbered piece of art, made in a small edition, at a friendly price. A print, a piece of ceramic, a button, a doll, a piece of fabric? Whatever the artists set their minds to. As long as it’s playful and not too serious.

You are totally invited for those 60 minutes, to share a slice of cake, fold a paper hat and stuff your bags. Bob Lens’ alarm clock concert has been silenced and with Willem de Ridder, Fluxus Northern Europe chapter has lost its chairman and mail order entrepreneur, but we are all still here to brew a party.

The multiples will remain on view and can be obtained in HOK even after the anniversary, the entire weekend of Friday 20, Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 January, in the afternoon from 1 to 5.

HOK Gallery

Mingle 2

Somewhere before new years eve I was asked by Dutch artist Frans van Lent to participate in his Project Mingle 2. He was to call me 15.00 h, January 1st. He asked me to answer the phone and say nothing. After one minute he would end the connection. He asked me to put the phone on loudspeaker. All this I did. He asked a number of international artists to do the same.

Yesterday the project was published as a sound-piece, You can find it here!

Other participants are:

Frits Dijcks,  Den Haag (NL)
Ienke Kastelein, Utrecht (NL)
Manuela Macco, Biella (IT)
Annie Abrahams, Vollenhove (NL)
Carron Little, Glasgow (UK)
Myrna van Lent, Barendrecht (NL)
Selma Boskailo, Berlin (DE)
Thomas Meijerman, Rotterdam (NL)
Pablo Lopez Jordan, Murcia (ES)
Kees Koomen, Den Haag (NL)
Josh Schwebel, Berlin (DE)
Deirdre Macleod, Cramond Island (UK)
Martine Viale, Perpignan (FR)
Jello Reumer, Maumont (FR)
Paul Henning, Wierre-Effroy (FR)
Geerten Ten Bosch, Dordrecht (NL)
Max Wyse, Perpignan (FR)
Nico Parlevliet, Dordrecht (NL)
Elia Torrecilla, Vigo (ES)
Susana Mendes Silva, Lisbon (PT)
Leonard Passchier, Paris (FR)
Jos Deuss, Dordrecht (NL)
John G. Boehme, Victoria BC (CA)  Hautefort, France.
1 January 2023 14:00 – 16:00 CET.

Mingle1 took place on 20 July 2019.

Madrid diaries 2022

Some weeks ago I finished the gouaches for which I used the diaries I kept during the Hybrid Art Fair. The fair asked EX-MÊKH to participate so we installed our work in the hotelroom which they assigned to us. Before and during the fair I made a number of walks. I visited the ARCO art fair and some museums and other art-venues. Each day I took a part of my notes of the day to make a “shard” on my hotelroom. It is a text I wrote with charcoal on torn, white washed packing paper. They resemble the ceramic shards of pots which pre-christian cultures used around the Mediterranean. They give only small pieces of information about life in those times. I added The pieces of paper with diary-text that I wrote daily to the EX-MÊKH installation Con alma.

After the fair I decided to make a gouache for each day I was in Madrid. I would like to show the texts and the gouaches together sometimes. Like pendants of a fading memory of the days that I was there.

Jerusalem Diaries

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.

Platforms Project 2022

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:

A cabin in the woods (model)
EX-MÊKH: Wormhole (installation) – 2022
Links: Janus (breathing in breathing out), rechts: In Awe
Links – Ellen Rodenberg: Actor, rechts – Kees Koomen: Janus (breathing in – breathing out)
Kees Koomen: Janus (breathing in) – videostill
Kees Koomen: Janus (breathing out) – videostill
Kees Koomen: Janus (breathing in – breathing out)
Kees Koomen – In fuoco (videostill)
Kees Koomen: Grid
Maarten Schepers: Booth – Ellen Rodenberg: The actor is leaving

Platforms Project 2022

EX-MÊKH