Norbert Schwontkowski – Everyone Wants to Go Home

Norbert Schwontkowski (1949-2013) is perhaps one of Germany’s best kept secrets. Yet these days his poetic work is gradually attracting more and more admirers outside his homeland. Inspired by Zen Buddhism, which he discovered on trips to Asia, he would seek the aesthetic of the moment, creating work that seems to touch upon a story, without ever telling us how it ends. Sometimes his paintings have a deep existential theme, and sometimes they present absurd situations from daily life, like a man rifling through the fridge in the middle of the night, looking for something to still his rumbling stomach. But the subject is always an individual in search of enlightenment and inspiration in a grim world. Thanks to Schwontkowski’s dry humour his work is never depressing, however. He often prepared by making quick pen sketches in the sketchbook he always carried with him. Everyone Wants to Go Home brings together some 80 paintings and over 40 sketchbooks from international collections, and has been created in collaboration with Kunstmuseum Bonn and Kunsthalle Bremen, where it was shown previously.

Artists: Eelco Brand, Ien Lucas, Joncquil, Klaus Baumgärtner, Marian Bijlenga, Ton van Kints, Warffemius and others
A sign of things to come

sending & giving some positive vibes for 2021 ! Painting, sculpture among them

24, 25, 26 en 27 December closed for Christmas

Artists: Paul van der Eerden and Romy Muijrers
Paul van der Eerden, Romy Muijrers: SUITE

Paul van der Eerden (1954) and Romy Muijrers (1990) started their collaborative project ‘Suite’ in 2018. Either Van der Eerden of Muijrers starts with a first outline or stain on the paper that is elaborated upon by the other in several sessions, until the drawing is completed. Muijrers has a more detailed and soft approach, Van der Eerden adds sharp outlines and texts. The images vary from landscapes, plants, human figures to texts, some very detailed, others more simple and outspoken. They often convey a dreamlike state or mental image that has to be deciphered. The texts used are quotes from poetry and literature of among others Li Po, Han Shan, Kathleen Rain, William Blake but also popsongs from Joni Mitchell, The Byrds, The Hollies or Radiohead.

maximum 2 persons at a time, ring doorbell first

Artist: Cesare Pietroiusti
A Variable Number of Things

From mid-February, the artist Cesare Pietroiusti will succeed the Taiwanese artist Tehching Hsieh with the second one-year-long exhibition. This exceptional exhibition model is reserved for prominent artists with a distinctly exemplary role. Just like in the work of Hsieh, Pietroiusti is not focused on art as an object, but on life itself as a form of art. Since 1977, Pietroiusti has built up a very impressive oeuvre with a continuous flow of presentations. At West he will show a monthly changing selection of his works in the ‘corner offices’ of the former American embassy. Varying from early works and ‘artworks to be ashamed of’ to works that have never been shown or are new.

Carel Blotkamp – On Sculpture

From 28 November museum Beelden aan Zee will exhibit works by Carel Blotkamp (1945), artist and emeritus professor of modern art of the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.

In Het Kabinet he will display both earlier and more recent works that relate to significant sculptures from the history of art. The material that Blotkamp uses is somewhat striking: brightly coloured sequins. His somewhat unusual choice of a medium that we generally associate with the decoration of clothing or clothing-related attributes can be described as ‘graceful gravity’. He often attaches the sequins to an existing image such as a postcard or an exhibition poster, either following that which is portrayed very closely or simply adding a few accents.

Blotkamp uses the small plastic sequins in order to furnish visual comments to works by artists that he admires such as Mondriaan, Barnett Newman, Dan Flavin and Giacometti. In doing so, he calls into question aspects relating to the status and reputation of both the artist and the work of art, for example, on the basis of his extensive knowledge and understanding of art history. In texts he makes use of statements made by artists who sometimes go into so much background detail that their meaning becomes clouded.

Although he retired from his professorship in 2007, Blotkamp is still exceptionally active. In addition to writing books and articles, he is also involved in setting up exhibitions, for example last year for the retrospective exhibition Carel Visser: Genesis, held in museum Beelden aan Zee.

Artist: Jos van Merendonk
PP-17 The community of the painted

“Every event which has really been painted – so that the pictorial language opens – joins the community of everything else that has been painted. Potatoes on a plate join the community of a loved woman, a mountain, or a man on the cross.”
– John Berger, “Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8–1543)”, Portraits: John Berger on Artists

Jos van Merendonk does not base his paintings on the observable reality of the world around us. His works materialise out of the reality of his studio. He constructs them out of a limited number of forms. He paints from earlier drawings, revisits ideas and motifs from older work, and looks at the work of painters from earlier generations and – as painters do – borrows elements to use in his own. Over the past three decades, this has led to an idiosyncratic, multifaceted oeuvre.

The title “The Community of the Painted” derives from an essay by the English author and artist John Berger (1926–2017), quoted above. Though Berger was primarily writing about paintings that arise from and refer to the world around us, his argument can also be applied to Van Merendonk’s work. More than anything, Berger is writing about the artist’s intense way of looking; about how a reality-transcending representation of that which the artist has seen is the consequence of an interaction between the intensity of his or her gaze and the energy he or she receives from the subject that gaze is aimed at. According to Berger, that which is painted only comes to life, is only really painted, if it has truly been seen by the artist. By this he means that the visual language by which the painter transforms the subject into an image is not just accomplished but urgent. This interplay between intensive looking and creation, between what is seen and what is recorded in compelling imagery, is present in the reality of Van Merendonk’s studio. Other factors playing a role in the making of his art include the relationship between the artist and his subject, his chosen forms and working method, and the relationship between the artist and the painting he is creating. When Van Merendonk considers a work finished, he steps back, and the painting leaves the context of the studio to be exhibited or become part of a collection.

A certain level of intensity of gaze paired with a highly urgent visual language is the foundation of all art that matters, as Berger saw and aptly expressed in his essay. For him, a subject that is truly seen and then visualised in compelling imagery joins the “community of the painted”. This community encompasses many forms and styles and spans centuries: painted potatoes on a plate become part of the same community as a painted beloved woman, mountain, man on a cross. So too do the painted, pendulum traces, ovals, Z-shapes and residual forms in Van Merendonk’s works.

Roland Groenenboom

until 07 Mar
Curated by Marie-José Sondeijker
Artist: Gregor Schneider
Tote Räume

West Den Haag is thrilled to announce Tote Räume, Gregor Schneider‘s first solo exhibition in the Netherlands. Acknowledged as a groundbreaking artistic proposition, Schneider’s work can be regarded also as prophetic in a time of mandatory social distancing since it is based on mechanisms of physical isolation. Unfolding a sequence of rooms, sculptures, human figures, photos and videos spanning four decades of radical art making, the exhibition is arranged in response to, and exchange with, the original function of its building as the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands from 1959 until 2018.

A clear example to this exchange is the ‘Interrogation Room’ – a pristine room replicating one of the prison cell modules in Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp, the U.S. detention facility located on Cuba’s southeastern coast. When incorporated into the setting of West Den Haag ‘Interrogation Room’ exceeds the boundaries of the aesthetic field and acquires the status of a real authoritarian space, outlining the exercise of power over the visitors and the potential violation of their bodily sovereignty.
Also included in the current sequence is ‘Cold Storage Cell’, which joins ‘Interrogation Room’ to politically contextualize Schneider’s continuous experiments in sensory deprivation and practices of stealth interrogation and clean torture, intermittently conducted throughout his entire oeuvre.
With the display of ‘Cryo-Tank Phoenix 3’ Schneider’s conception of sealed-off spaces extends beyond the political-jurisdictional framework provided by West Den Haag and obtains a metaphysical sense, turning every site in which it emerges into an intermediary zone situated between life and death, between this world and the world to come. A separate section in the exhibition is dedicated to ‘Geburtshaus Goebbels’, which involves the actual building in Mönchengladbach-Rheydt where Joseph Goebbels—the Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany—was born. In ‘Geburtshaus Goebbels’ Schneider traces the roots of Nazi history almost literally, uncovering the physical foundations of Goebbels’ birthplace—the origins of his origins. Within Schneider’s universe ‘Geburtshaus Goebbels’ is also a follower of ‘Haus u r’, the artist’s own site of origin, standing a short distance away from it. ‘Haus u r’ is the name Schneider gave to the abandoned residential building, which he occupied from 1985 until 2001, all the while ceaselessly reconstructing its inner structure as an idiosyncratic typology of visceral rooms built inside the house’s preexisting rooms (with windows in front of windows, walls in front of walls, etc.). Being realized through a process of self-consuming duplication—whereby each room is also the concealed room into which it was inserted, and the space—the difference—between them—makes ‘Haus u r’ an enduring experience of cognitive dissonance in relation to which presence and absence, construction and elimination, are no longer distinguishable from one another.

In the context of the exhibition a series of performances will be staged specifically for the occasion. Additionally to the project ‘Tote Räume’ West will organise an international symposium in November of this year. With the working title: ‘Gregor Schneider: Kunst im Kopf’.

Gregor Schneider (Germany, 1969) is cosidered one of the most influential artists of the last three decades. Since the end of the 1990s Schneider has been presenting solo exhibitions in leading museums around the world, including, among many others, Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris, Museun of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, Museo d’Arte Contemporena Roma. In 2001 Schneider won the Golden Lion award in the Venice Biennale of Art, and from then on his work is the subject of worldwide discussions and controversies. Schneider’s practice is an intersection between architecture, sculpture, and performance, intervening in the fabric of material, social and historical reality.

Curated by Ian Lynam
Artists: Chris Ro, Gail Swanlund, Ian Lynam, Laura Rossi Garcia, Matthew Monk and Randy Nakamura
Alphabetum VII: Writing Writing

Writing Writing explores the connotative and the denotative through writing (e.g: literature) and writing (e.g.: composition). The presentation will include six new presentations by designers, writers, artists and critics, conjuring lyrical/poetic form both in text and how it is concocted. Writing Writing is conceived by Ian Lynam, who is working at the intersection of graphic design, design education and design research, and who is faculty at the Temple University Japan, Vermont College of Fine Arts USA, and CalArts USA.

With Ian Lynam, Matthew Monk, Randy Nakamura, Chris Ro, Laura Rossi Garcia and Gail Swanlund

The Alphabetum is an artistic space which explore the formative and formal aspect of (written) language and to show their underlying contingency. One emerges of the other: a letter is a letter, because it looks like a letter; and when something looks like a letter, it becomes a letter. Due to the self-evidence of written language and letters, we mostly overlook this important connection. This can even happen to people who deal with letters on a professional level. Typographers and type designers are primarily focused on the letterforms whereas writers do not see the forms of the letters they use to make their words visible. Despite the fact that we are all dealing with letters on a daily basis, we hardly notice the letters which are manifesting the languages in which we exist.
The Alphabetum aims to sensitise its audience to the phenomena of signs and written language through exhibition projects and events, to reveal the essential meanings of our ‘culture of writing’.

Joseph Sassoon Semah

Exile, hospitality and friendship are key themes in the work of Joseph Sassoon Semah (b. 1948, Baghdad). In 1950 he and his parents were forced to leave Iraq for Israel, and Joseph eventually arrived in Amsterdam in 1981, via London, Berlin and Paris. On Friendship… will for the first time bring together 36 architectural models of houses, a synagogue, schools and cultural buildings made by Sassoon Semah that refer to the liberal Jewish culture of his Babylonian ancestors – a culture which, he says, barely exists except in memory now.

Artist: Agnes Mezosi
Brutalist Marcel Breuer

Brutalism is a movement within architecture that originated from modernism. At the end of the 19th century, society industrialized and it became possible to develop a new conception of art, architecture and the way we live together. The technological innovations of that time made it possible to resist traditional conceptions. Brutalism is characterized by the robust use of materials. For mostly large buildings unfinished concrete and masonry is used. By showing the character of natural materials, repeating forms and giving functionality the leading role, a very recognizable style is created.
In the photographs of Agnes Mezosi we see the similarities and differences between the different locations. Each time the details show in their rough elegance a timeless architectural style. The concrete forms, often with characteristic angles, are complemented by details of wood and stone surfaces. Together with a small group of contemporaries Breuer showed the sensual side of concrete, which made him one of the pioneers of brutalism from the middle of the last century.

In response to the Corona crisis and the necessary and restrictive measurements, West is making its program accessible to all people staying at home with the section Thuistezien (dutch for watch at home).

With Thuistezien the institution wants to contribute to the quality of life in this serious situation. By means of a daily video, publication, report or column, the institution aims to soften the stay at home with a moment of imagination and reflection. For suggestions and reactions you can contact us via: thuisblijven@westdenhaag.nl.

See everything here:
https://www.westdenhaag.nl/thuistezien

until 05 Apr
Lisa Brice

Two years ago Lisa Brice had a major show at Tate Britain. This autumn KM21 proudly presents her first museum exhibition in the Netherlands. Lisa Brice (b. 1968, Cape Town), who divides her time between London and Trinidad, paints and draws women, often naked and absorbed in everyday activities – lingering in front of the mirror, perhaps, or casually smoking a cigarette. Depicting them with sketchy faces and sometimes striking blue skin, Brice deliberately obfuscates their identity.

Artist: Helena van der Kraan
Helena van der Kraan – Bear & Teddy

Many of us had a teddy bear as kids. A friend you took with you everywhere. You probably even gave it a name, like Bear or Teddy, making the relationship even more personal. So it is no surprise that in psychology a teddy bear is regarded as an important transition object, supporting the child as it explores the world. Helena van der Kraan (1940-2020) has photographed over two hundred teddy bears over the past few years, portraying them in the same way she portrays people. The bears in her pictures sometimes appear proud and self-assured, sometimes fearful and melancholy, but they are always dignified. Around a hundred photographic portraits of teddies will be on display at The Hague Museum of Photography.

Helena van der Kraan died on the morning of Sunday 14 June 2020, her eightieth birthday. Luckily, Helena did live to see the publication of her book and the opening of her exhibition, and was delighted with the positive responses she received.

until 18 Apr
Curated by Willemijn van der Zwaan
Popel Coumou

Artist and photographer Popel Coumou (b. 1978) plays in her work with the main elements of photography: light, paper and perception of reality. By carefully lighting her collages she manages to give the paper relief a third dimension, bringing the flat surface to life. In a space with tall windows depth is created by the sunlight shining in, a simple little house appears in a large field, and illuminated geometric shapes loom out of a dark and desolate natural landscape. In other images, we realise only after looking very carefully that what we are seeing are not life-sized objects, but miniatures still lifes in clay, some of which even still bear the occasional fingerprint. Popel Coumou creates empty spaces, graphic lines and compositions verging on the abstract. Although her work rarely features any figures, there is always a sign of recent human presence, such as an empty chair or an open door. Popel has produced new work specially for the projects gallery at Fotomuseum Den Haag , using the space itself while at the same time revealing her creative process. She has enlarged her collage technique, which she had previously used mainly in a small format, to create an installation that will allow visitors to step into her illusionary world. Popel Coumou drew inspiration for the work from the iconic Kunstmuseum Den Haag building next door, designed by architect H.P. Berlage (1856-1934), as well as the architectural lines of the Fotomuseum.

Qasim Arif (ILLM) – Division is Multiplication

‘The food of one person is enough for two, the food of two is enough for four, and the food of four is enough for eight.’

This is the English translation of the saying in Arabic that Hague designer and artist Qasim Arif inscribed on a bowl commissioned by Kunstmuseum Den Haag. The museum asked Arif to reflect on its Arts of the Islamic World collection. Inspired by the idea of eating together and sharing, he painted this universal message in modern calligraphy. His bowl will be displayed alongside three Iranian bowls from the ceramics centres of Kashan and Nishapur, dating from circa 900 to 1200. He has also painted a large calligraphic mural on the wall.

Bas van Beek – Stokroos Ceramics Stipend

Just how exclusive is design, and why should design classics not be copied, adapted or extended? These are the kinds of questions that fascinate Bas van Beek (b. 1974), winner of the Stokroos Ceramics Stipend. His work, which touches on design, architecture, visual art and commerce, often causes a stir, and that is precisely what he wants: to unleash debate about the status of contemporary and historic design. From Berlage to Disney, and from disposable items to famous bodies of work, Van Beek copies, alters, adds to and expands, presenting them all on the same platform in his first museum retrospective.

Jeroen Toirkens & Jelle Brandt Corstius | Borealis – Life in the Woods

The importance of forests to our planet is more apparent now than ever before. It is trees that filter our carbon emissions out of the atmosphere. Over the past four years photographer Jeroen Toirkens (b. 1971) and journalist and programme maker Jelle Brandt Corstius (b. 1978) visited forests in the boreal zone for their Borealis project. This zone is a circle of mainly coniferous forest extending across the northern regions of Europe, Asia and America. Thirty per cent of all trees are in this zone, and they are vital for maintaining the earth’s ecological balance, converting huge quantities of CO2 into oxygen. Yet less than 12% of the forests are protected, and they face threats from all quarters: commercial logging, the vulnerability of newly planted trees and raging forest fires, as seen last summer in Siberia. For Borealis Jeroen Toirkens and Jelle Brandt Corstius sought out the stories of the forests and the people who live there. The exhibition at Fotomuseum Den Haag will feature all eight parts of this project.

Artist: Donna Haraway
Donna Haraway Circles 2021

No other contemporary thinker has more forcefully and implacably pursued an understanding of humanity, its history, present and prospects with as much radical appreciation for its complexity, interdependence and incompleteness. From the canonic Cyborg Manifesto proposing a revolutionarily feminist understanding of pervasive technology, Haraway’s social(ist) commitments have broadened to embrace the beings entire biome. Her thinking carefully and compellingly weaves scientific insights with interpretations of ancient philosophy, cutting analyses of contemporary techno-industry with rich accounts of the lives of the critters of the earth, transversal accounts where nothing is fully autonomous, least of all anthropos, and all transfused by the legacy of technology.

In this series, following the structure initiated for the Spinoza Circles series, we will read Donna Haraway together, opening up her dense, multi-dimensional and often prsimatic language to explore their relevance for the conditions we experience today. These readings will be accompanied by readings of other thinkers from today and from the past who have engaged in the complexity and enmeshedness of the technological condition of their times with Harawayan feeling for exigency in difficulty.

A series of readings and artistic encounters

Fee: 6,- euro / 0,- euro - Every last sunday of the month: 14:00-17:00
Location: Online or at West Den Haag, Lange Voorhout 102, Den Haag

Each session will begin with an introductory exploration of the days theme elaborating key concepts through various authors. This is followed by the circle taking turns reading from Haraway out loud, breaking to elaborate uncertainties, ideas and emergent curiosities. The session concludes with a synthetic discussion and an Haraway-inspired introduction to one of the projects which is currently on display in the exhibition spaces at West.

The sessions are convened by Baruch Gottlieb and will be held on the last Sunday of each month. The Haraway reading circle is open to anyone who would like to read Haraway regardless of previous experience. Main language of discussion will be English. Texts will be provided online to participants a week before the events.

06 Feb 25 Apr
Bob Bonies

For the past six decades Bob Bonies (b. 1937) has been building a consistent body of work. Since the 1960s he has been producing abstract geometric paintings that still look fresh and contemporary today, and with a pronounced architectural effect that impacts on the space around them. Bonies, who was born in The Hague and lived in America for a time in the 1960s, was the first Dutch artist to create ‘shaped canvases’; he composes his paintings with geometric shapes. Bonies always approaches his work rationally and consistently, creating his paintings on the basis of predetermined rules. The mathematical laws that underlie his compositions produce a harmonious result. He can therefore be regarded as a proponent of pure conceptual painting, and there is clearly a close relationship between his work and the minimal art of Sol LeWitt.

Artists: Ana Navas, Evelyn Taocheng Wang and Mila Lanfermeijer
III – She spins the thread, she measures the thread, she cuts the thread

In this exhibition, the three artists explore the meaning of repetition, appreciation and appropriation. In seven rooms, designed for them by architect Donna van Milligen Bielke, they tell a layered story about friendship, artistic kinship and their autonomy within. Copying and reproduction are important ways of understanding, appreciating and interpreting their place in art history.

12 Feb – 20:00 – 21:00
Artists: Ana Navas, Evelyn Taocheng Wang and Mila Lanfermeijer
Artists Talk

On Friday February 12 we present an artists talk with Ana Navas, Evelyn Taocheng Wang and Mila Lanfermeijer. Hosted by curator Rieke Vos we will walk through the various rooms of |||, during which the artists will talk about the thread that connects not only their artistic work but also their lives.

14 Feb 20 Mar
Artists: Andre Kruysen and Ton van Kints
What’s on

recent work of Ton van Kints and recent sculpture of André Kruysen

28 Feb 04 Apr
Artist: Nour-Eddine Jarram
Nour-Eddine Jarram

Parallel to his restrospective exhibition 'Beeldenstorm' ('Iconoclasm') at the Rijksmuseum Twenthe Nour-Eddine Jarram (1956) has a solo show at Galerie Maurits van de Laar featuring works on paper and paintings.

Jarram studied at the Académie des Beaux Arts in Casablanca and at the AKI in Enschede NL. He decided to continue to live and work in the Netherlands and developed a characteristic style in which Islamic calligraphy, Dutch golden age painting, biblical figures and surrealist motifs come together, next to poignant images of refugees and Moroccan youth. The exhibition at the Rijksmuseum Twenthe follows Jarram’s creative development and his quest to balance his preference for figuration and the influence of Morocco’s ornamental visual culture. In his work Jarram wants to rethink history by creating images that alter our view of the past.

Curated by Baruch Gottlieb
Artist: Simone Aughterlony and others
Winter School: Deep Sustainability

Please join us for our insightful and empowering Winter School. The online workshop (1 till 5 March 2021) aims to train artists, students and other professionals and is designed by performance maker Simone Aughterlony.

Applications are open! https://tinyurl.com/WestWinterSchool2021 or visit our website: www.westdenhaag.nl

In order to keep the discussions and experiences substantive and immersive, this Winter School is limited to 25 participants. There is per participant a fee of € 75,- The program will be held online and in English. If covid measures allow us, we will gather in the auditorium at West in The Hague. To apply, please e-mail chloe@westdenhaag.nl before 16 February 2021 with a 100-word motivation. If successful, you will receive a confirmation within the week.

The core of this Winter School is a thematic series of workshops designed by performance maker Simone Aughterlony. Aughterlony is a daring and engaging creator whose work merges social commitment and theory through physical engagement with objects and spaces. Participants will practice with Aughterlony in workshop sessions and then guided to apply insights gained from these to their own practices. The theme of deep sustainability running through the performance workshops will be informed and invigorated in four special encounters with specialists from philosophy, computer science, bioengineering and climate activism each of whom will present and discuss their approaches from their specialised points of view, exploring how the arts can bring these disparate insights together. The discussions will moderated with a view towards helping synthesize the specialist insights through the daily performance exercises.

28 Mar 16 May
Artist: Zhang Shujian
Face

The exhibition "Face" provides an overview of the work of the Chinese artist Zhang Shujian of the past ten years. Since his graduation from the prestigious Central Acadamy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Zhang has developed a fascination for the human face and all its odd features. His merciless portraits present a unique point of view on the social fabric of contemporary Chinese society. Zhang Shujian (Hunan, 1987) lives and workes in Beijing.
Curator: Melle Hendrikse

28 Mar – 13:00 – 17:00
Artist: Zhang Shujian
Face

The exhibition "Face" provides an overview of the work of the Chinese artist Zhang Shujian of the past ten years. Since his graduation from the prestigious Central Acadamy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Zhang has developed a fascination for the human face and all its odd features. His merciless portraits present a unique point of view on the social fabric of contemporary Chinese society. Zhang Shujian (Hunan, 1987) lives and workes in Beijing.
Curator: Melle Hendrikse

17 Apr 15 Aug
Curated by Yasmijn Jarram
Oscar Murillo

Oscar Murillo (b. 1986, Colombia) creates powerful, immersive installations in which multiple artistic mediums and disciplines come together: from painting and sculpture to video and performance. Drawing on personal experiences Murillo investigates universal themes such as globalization and cultural exchange. An impactful range of new, large-scale paintings is at the heart of his first solo exhibition in the Netherlands.

24 Apr – 14:00 – 18:00
Curated by David Maroto
Artists: Benjamin Seror, Cally Spooner, Mark von Schlegell and Raimundas Malašauskas