25 January – 29 March 2015
Curator: Laurie Cluitmans
In Liesbeth Labeur’s work, words fight – the word fights – for a place, sometimes as a starting point, sometimes as an ultimate form, but always informed by the specific context of the experiential Calvinist culture. Labeur grew up in this strictly religious culture in which the word – especially the Pietistic vocabulary of the language of Canaan – predominated and strictly shaped everyday life. Within her originally biblical context the title of this exhibition, Nachthutje in de komkommerhof (‘A lodge in a garden of cucumbers’), has a specific meaning; but here she also uses the visual, associative power of this phrase to reveal a different potential in language.
Taken from the Book of Isaiah (1:8), the title A lodge in a garden of cucumbers refered to a refuge from noise, a place of shelter where reflection is possible, a kind of inner chamber. At De Vleeshal, this archaic inner chamber was the starting point for a monumental installation in which the artist combined architectural features with references to a Pietistic idiom that is sometimes impenetrable to the uninitiated. Labeur’s full-size installation in the Gothic, almost church-like Vleeshal invited visitors to play with various linguistic interpretations and engaged in an exchange between images and words.
This exhibition was part of the 2013 Middelburg Foundation for Visual Arts (SKBM) / De Vleeshal Art Award. The purpose of the award is to encourage the development of artists from the Middelburg region. Local artists were invited to take part in the 2013 award, and the selection committee and the curator Laurie Cluitmans selected eight artists for studio visits, after which the winner was announced. The exhibition was the result of an ongoing dialogue between Liesbeth Labeur and Laurie Cluitmans in 2014.
This project was made possible by the generous support of the Mondriaan Fund and the municipality of Middelburg.