The past weeks I’ve been thinking about how we use our phones – and I think you should, as well. Funnily enough, what started it all was a new Dutch prime time TV game show that will start airing next month. I’m not allowed just yet to share any details, other than a) I’m a contestant in one of the episodes and b) it’s going to be fun and a half. One of the show’s many, many rules is that all the contestants had to hand in their phones during the three days it took to tape the show. Stop the presses! I spent thirty-six whole hours not checking every five minutes how many likes I received on Instagram, not refreshing Huffington Post every once in a while to read the latest news about Donald Trump or not getting worked up over Facebook comments from people I do not know and will never meet. Instead, I read a book between takes. And it was great. I’m not here today, however, to go on about our collective phone addiction. Instead, I am here to talk about Big Art 2019 and as a true slave to the algorithm, I have to mention this in my first paragraph at least once to please the SEO gods of Google (who also demand that I mention the subject of my blogpost in the title of my next paragraph).
Big Art 2019
Now that I’ve made sure this article doesn’t sink without trace once it is indexed by Google, I am going to talk about photography. Or, more specifically, the way we use the camera on our phones. I suppose we’ve arrived at the point where we’re taking way – and I mean way – too many photos. Dozens of new data centers are being built around the world as we speak, just so that we can store the literally thousands of photos we’ve been taking willy-nilly over the last decade. Why on earth would I want to look back at a salmon steak that I apparently ate on August 15, 2014 and that will be taking up 2.1 MB of cloud storage long after I’m gone? Then again, some photos are definitely worth saving and going over again once in a while. I don’t know about you, but I take tons of photos at every art exhibition I go to. Sometimes I think that whipping out my phone every minute to take a photo of a painting keeps me from truly looking at the art in front of me. Then again, that strategy also allows me to look up the artists online now that I’m back home (if I don’t forget to take a picture of the little sign next to their work, that is). It’s the ultimate First World dilemma, but hey, that’s what’s on my mind. Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the photos I took at Big Art 2019 last weekend. And for those of you not in the know, Big Art is an annual exhibition organized by curator extraordinaire Anne van der Zwaag. No prizes for guessing it features oversized works of art.
Big Art is held at a different location each year. For the 2019 edition, I traveled to the historic Hembrug area in the town of Zaandam. And as you can see, Big Art was bigger, better and more beautiful than ever before. First up, artist Zwier Cornelissen.
In the back of the first hall, there was a piece by Petra Hart called From Dusk Till Dawn. I didn’t realize until I checked out Petra’s Instagram feed just now, that it changes color and simulates…you guessed it the 24-hour cycle from sunrise to sunset and back again.
Peter Vink makes works that are site-specific. For Big Art 2019, he took one of the halls of Zaandam’s Hembrug area and emphasizes its structure. Definitely a crowd favorite – it took me ages to make a photo without anyone walking in the shot at the lat moment (don’t you just hate it when that happens?)
Haven’t we met before? I interviewed architect-slash-artist Tiwánee van der Horst a while ago about her 3d-painting techniques. You can read the full interview on the website of my local art library, Kunstuitleen Rotterdam. I have to say, I was duly impressed with Tiwánee’s latest work. Can you imagine an entire house in the same style? I know I can!
The eyes have it! This video installation by Yani greeted everyone who entered hall number two. Totally mesmerizing, don’t you think?
I couldn’t choose which photo of this beautiful work by Lon Godin to share with you and so, I figured I’d publish both. And as I sit here at my desk and try to contemplate this painting, I realize I really should start reading books again. I can’t even put together a semi-interesting thought about Godin’s painting other than it’s colorful and out of focus. I can be so shallow.
I’ve been a fan of Joana Schneider ever since I first saw her rugs during the 2018 edition of Dutch Design Week. This work, called Totem Raufen, is part of a series of giant faces that she’s been making. Fascinating stuff!
Oshin Mother was another work by Joana Schneider that was on display at Big Art. Give this woman her own exhibition already! God knows she deserves it. I also just found out that Jochem Rotteveel, the artist behind that colorful work in the background, practically lives around the corner from my place in Rotterdam.
“At the moment Midas is preparing his studio, and developing a new show. Discovering new inspirations in unknown thrift stores and old barns deep down the polder landscapes.” That’s what it says on the website of artist Midas Zwaan, whose work you can see here. Should be exciting to see what he finds next!
In Return by Bas Wiegmink was just *made* for my living room. Oh well, maybe one day!
You have to hand it to her, Mae Engelgeer sure knows how to make stunningly beautiful rugs and tapestries. These textile panels, called Lavish, feature some of the best color combinations I’ve seen in a while.
I think 2019 is the third year in a row that I’ve enrolled in a drawing course for beginners. Never finished it the first two times around, but when I look at Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil Roland Sohier,by I feel extra motivated to make it work this time around.
Glitch Panorama I by Cathelijn van Goor is a lot to take in – just the way I like my art.
It was virtually impossible to take a good photo of the Matchbox Cupboard by Diederik Schneeman – so many people were oohing and aahing over it. And rightfully so! Made out of a collection of 5,000 matchboxes, this work is definitely very Instagrammable. Not that there’s anything wrong with what!
All aboard this magnificent Humpback Dreadnaught by Jeroen van Kesteren!