As a lover of the arts, I have recently made a promise to myself to take the time to reflect and write about my experiences and discoveries at art exhibitions and vernissages. On the evening of January 13th, I had the chance to attend a number of exciting events in Amsterdam, where many galleries had unexpectedly opened their doors to the public.
My evening began at the Galerie Caroline O'Breen, where I was able to enjoy a refreshing drink while taking in the stunning photography of Hans Bol. The images captured using silver gelatin and mud left a lasting impression on me and my companion, particularly the idyllic scenes of birds soaring freely in the sky and their silhouettes reflecting in the water.
After visiting a couple of other galleries that failed to impress us, my friend and I stumbled upon the Torch Gallerie. To our surprise, they were showcasing a truly exceptional exhibition, entitled "Departure," conceptualized by Casper Braat. The entire gallery space had been transformed into an airport terminal, complete with two friendly "flight attendant" performers greeting visitors at the entrance. Along the walls, marble sculptures of various items such as shoes, briefcases, and earphones were displayed, amidst real coats and hats left behind by the enthralled visitors.
I was struck by the ingenuity of the entire concept, as Braat used marble, a material associated with the grandeur of Renaissance masters like Michelangelo, to create affordable, everyday items such as perfumes, food, and even personal hygiene products. This juxtaposition of the grandeur of marble with the banality of these items made me contemplate the intersection of art and capitalism, as Mario Pedrosa once stated, "to the market, art is just another ham."
Before leaving the "Departure" exhibition, we decided to visit The Merchant House, where we were introduced to the ENTERTAINMENT collection of photo and video performances by Mary Sue. Her use of costumes and her transformation into various characters drew comparisons to the works of Cindy Sherman in the 60s, but Sue's performances delve much deeper into the relationship between the artist and the art. By changing her name to Mary Sue, a French version of Jane Doe, she frees her character from the constraints of her own identity and places the emphasis on the art itself.
To end the evening, I purchased PATATRAS, a game designed to be played alone and conceptualized by Mary Sue during the COVID lockdown. The lockdowns provided introverts like myself a unique opportunity to spend time with ourselves and find new ways to entertain ourselves. Overall, it was a truly memorable and thought-provoking evening.