Going Dutch, continued:

Emerging art from the Netherlands

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Germaine Kruip

Germaine Kruip

Germaine Kruip's sculptural installations and interventions are marked by a lightness of touch that belies their affective power.

2 Seconds (2000), installed at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, consisted of a platform beneath one of the gallery's windows, accessed by a simple staircase.

Providing, quite literally, a new and unexpected viewpoint from which to survey the museum space, it also served as a stage for its temporary inhabitants.

Inevitably viewed from the ground as a kind of performative exhibit, glimpses of those intrepid enough to mount the platform could also be seen outside the museum, with the window framing a continually changing human sculpture.

Wish, conceived for a 2003 exhibition at Beelden Op de Berg, Wageningen, was advertised in the local press with the words "Wish - 00:00 every night". As promised, at midnight for the duration of the show a rocket was fired into the night sky, its sparkling trajectory mimicking a falling star.

Both these early works reveal an interest in light and architecture, themes which take central roles in Kruip's acclaimed recent practice.

The use of the window as a bridge between interior and exterior worlds - as well as provider or withholder of light - is reprised in site-specific works that often necessitate physical restructuring of the gallery space.

Rotating blinds that both block and reveal daylight are a favourite device, sometimes coupled with coloured filters or mirror surfaces (top).

Further dramatic manipulation of light is achieved through Kruip's series of mirrored mobiles, their form based on paintings by De Stijl founder Theo Van Doesburg (left).

Germaine Kruip, Dutch contemporary artists
images © Germain Kruip

Designed to rotate mechanically, the movement of these works perpetually scatters luminosity through the exhibition space; an act echoed in reverse by static sculptures lit to cast soft grey shadow on white walls.


Koen Delaere

Koen Delaere, contemporary painting from Holland

(b. 1970) As a painter, Koen Delaere lives dangerously: breaking rules and defying convention, his canvases emerge from chaos by the finest of margins.

Belgian-born Delaere's assault on aesthetic boundaries reflects the dynamism of his own actions as well as the energies of his medium. Rapid brushstrokes and a frequent mixing of different types of paint encourage an element of unpredictability. Thick swathes of pigment are worked and re-worked into tactile layers that attest to the extended process through which Delaere attempts to contain the problematic visuals he deliberately engenders.

Koen Delaere, contemporary art from Holland

Teetering on the brink of discordancy, Delaere's 'bad painting' is so nearly unsuccessful that his triumphs fascinate all the more; few would be able to paint this way and actually make it work.

Koen Delaere
images © Koen Delaere

Bas van den Hurk

Bas van den Hurk

What is a painting and what isn't? Bas van den Hurk's recent work poses exactly this question.

How, for example, should we categorise what's basically a wall-mounted assemblage with a couple of streaks of paint?

And if the piece consists of a sub-standard print of a previous work, or a decorative fabric stretched on canvas, what approach should we take to its identification?

Of course, artists from Blinky Palermo to Angela de la Cruz have already covered similar territory and, in a sense, provided enough answers (the consensus seeming to be that it's hardly a question that matters in the first place).

For this reason, if regarded in a spirit of probing critical enquiry van den Hurk's stance can seem forced and even somewhat irrelevant. If, however, his work is seen as a systematic exploration of the myriad self-referential forms wall-mounted art can - and has - taken before, van den Hurk's visual re-articulation is certainly fresh enough to support his increasing visibility on the contemporary circuit.

Bas van den Hurk
images © Bas van den Hurk

Semâ Bekirovic

Semâ Bekirovic: new Dutch art

(b.1977) Young artist Semâ Bekirovic uses photography, video and installation to explore the imposition of natural and man-made worlds, as well as the role of chance in both these realms of existence.

Koet (Coot), her best-known work to date (left), provides photographic documentation of a pair of coots as they go about building a nest.

Well known for their habit of utilising almost any material, Bekirovic provided the birds with various objects - photographs, drawings, small toys - which they duly incorporated into their sprawling construction.

In this way, as well as instigating an artwork beyond her control, the artist's personal world literally becomes intertwined with the natural habitat of the birds.

Semâ Bekirovic: new Dutch art

A similar confrontation is the subject of the 2008 video Birds of Prey (left), in which various predatory birds are set loose in a typical office environment.

Perched on computers or photocopiers, the discrepancy between their natural habitat and easy adaptation to unfamiliar territory is brought into relief (it's also tempting to assume that shots of rapine birds gathered around a boardroom table possess a certain irony).

In other works, Bekirovic allows the unpredictability of natural processes to provide captivating spectacle.

Rookobject (Smokeobject, left) consists, essentially, of a sculpture within a sculpture.

Semâ Bekirovic: new artist from the Netherlands
images © Semâ Bekirovic

A shaped glass case is slowly filled with smoke that takes on the form of its container. The restrictive nature of the glass walls contrasts with the protean properties of the smoke which, as Bekirovic points out, is capable of "endless possible shapes", and "Even when confined by the glass ... keeps on moving and shape-shifting."


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