West Den Haag presents ALLES=GOED, a year-long exhibition by Belgian artist Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven (born 1951, living and working in Antwerp), the fourth in a series of year-long monographic exhibitions initiated by the art centre in 2019. Divided between six rooms, the selection of works on view would evolve and added to throughout the coming twelve months, turning the exhibition into a dynamic experience changing in time. However, though ephemeral in essence, the current display encapsulates crucial aspects in the artist’s work, which spans more than four decades of intense experimentation in hand-made painting/drawing/collage, computer graphics, video, performance, sound, and language.
In ALLES=GOED the earliest and most recent circulate through one another. The exhibition begins with an installation of new collages processing images of pin-up girls from AMVK’s database, juxtaposed with a large photograph of piled books placed on a table (suggesting another form of database), and a site-specific intervention in space involving sheets of daily newspapers (suggesting yet one more form of database). The combination of erotic imagery unleashed from its original context and therefore questioned and criticized, with books accumulating knowledge and ways of thinking, amounts to an unfamiliar, idiosyncratic taxonomy characterizing AMVK’s practice, where intellectual activity, social critique, personal evaluation, mental impact, and sensual stimulation are rendered equal and interdependent. This is further demonstrated with regard to the three Philosophical Rooms ̶ Spinoza (1999), Descartes (1998-99), and Leibnitz (1999) ̶ included in the exhibition.
The Philosophical Rooms are computerized interpretations of existing interiors whose appearance visually translates each of the respective philosophies. In each interior the artist planted her own figure as an avatar that validates the connection between the space, the given philosopher, and the her own mode of thinking. The three Philosophical Rooms are installed next to seven Eroticized Concepts chosen from a group of ninety-six images representing the foundational elements of AMVK’s extensive HeadNurse project. The Eroticized Concepts images are computer generated female figures forming the basis of AMVK’s scheme of sex and technology titled Moral Rearmament (1998-2005), for which she renamed herself HeadNurse ̶ the counterfigure of The Big Brother, as well as the imaginary assistant of Dr. Fr. Nietzsche. When linked with the Philosophical Rooms, the seven Eroticized Concepts inject sexual energy into the domains of philosophical thinking, undermining the predispositions of rational reasoning as a disembodied, disinterested meditation.
ALLES=GOED also includes AMVK’s earliest works, namely, her 1976 sequence of seven serigraphs reminiscent of an interrupted comic strip, where each drawn panel stands for itself. A printed text by linguist and performer Marc Verreckt who played a significant role in AMVK’s first exhibitions, accompanies the presentation. The seven scenes (and the long titles they bear) are surrealist and cryptic in nature, highlighting the loose and negotiable ties between image and text, persistently problematized and expansively examined by AMVK from 1976 on.
Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven / AMVK (1951), lives and works in Antwerp. Since the mid 70-ties she has been working on a rich oeuvre of drawings and paintings on paper and synthetic material, video and multimedia installations. She also founded the noise band Club Moral with artist Danny Devos. Futurism, feminism, eroticism and fetishism are overarching themes in her work. In 2022 Van Kerckhoven received an honorary doctorate from the University of Antwerp.
Van Kerckhoven did have solo presentations at Fridericianum, Kassel: The Renaissance Society, Chicago; Kunstverein Hannover, Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach; Kunstverein München; Kunsthalle Bern; WIELS, Brussels; Kunsthalle Nuremberg; M HKA, Antwerp; DAAD, Berlin and Kunstmuseum Lucern.