Echoes of Artificial Landscapes
Nicole Bianchet, Tamara Dees, Kees Wijker
14 September – 2 November 2014
Curator: Lorenzo Benedetti
Echoes of Artificial Landscapes is a group exhibition with works by Nicole Bianchet, Tamara Dees and Kees Wijker, artists living and working in the region.
The work of Tamara Dees is about experiencing and investigating what it is like to be small in a big world – often the world of shipping. In recent years she has repeatedly investigated the actual size of ships, as well as the actual size of various ‘big’ works of art. Although ships are a recurrent feature of her work, she is more interested in what happens alongside the nautical world. How big are ships, actually, and what happens if you use them for a quite unintended purpose? Turned upside down, or broken, they become something very different. In 2008 the artist built a partial replica of the side of a barge for a project at the Caesuur exhibition space in Middelburg, to show the relative sizes of ships and houses. The work, entitled Ware Grootte (Full size), was a huge black surface placed behind the windows of the building – visible and yet invisible. Dees also investigated the actual size of the wave depicted in Hokusai’s famous print The Great Wave. She estimated the size of the boats and the wave by taking the human figures in the print as her yardstick. She then used these sizes to produce an installation at the Kipvis guest studio in Vlissingen. A small newspaper report about a tragedy in 2011 was the inspiration for several works in which all the passengers in an older newspaper photograph of ‘boat people’ were coloured with a marker pen, to emphasise the disappearance of the subject matter. The Disappearance (2013) is based on a book of pictures about the history of sailing. All the ships shown in the book, as well as the people on board them, are coloured with permanent black marker ink. Where is the boundary between presence and disappearance? Tamara Dees studied sculpture at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design and Visual Arts at the Post Sint Joost Academy in Breda. Her work has been purchased by the Sanders-Ten Holte collection, the Woongoed housing corporation in Middelburg, the Vlissingen art library and various private collections. It has also been commissioned for temporary exhibitions in public space by clients including the Province of Limburg/Roermond Municipal Museum and the Province of Zeeland Visual Arts Centre (CBK Zeeland).
Nicole Bianchet studied at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe, Germany, from 1995 to 2002. During the same period she trained as an opera singer with Inge Bidlingmeier in Karlsruhe. Her work is a blend of various disciplines, such as painting, photography and music. In the broader context of working from art history and in the context of her own work, she seeks her own as well as primal human emotions – a pursuit of the personal and the universal. She is interested in the sometimes wavering boundary between kitsch and aggression, between intuition and calculation. Her overall artistic output appears to form a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk, in which her songs, drawings and large paintings refer to one another. Language plays a key role in all three disciplines. The ostensibly romantic content of the works operates on various levels, and appearances are always deceiving: a seemingly naïve girl, a cold cheek on a warm mirror…. The artist puts together a puzzling, wondrous landscape that invites the viewer to enter a parallel world and walk through it in his or her own way. Nicole Bianchet lives and works in Berlin and Middelburg. She has exhibited in Germany, Austria, France, the United States and Japan, and is represented by Galerie Michael Haas in Berlin. Her latest CD is called House of Silence.
Kees Wijker is working steadily on an oeuvre all his own. His need to understand what he has seen is reflected in his often mechanical works. If these function properly, so does his understanding of them. This work is also known as Mechanical Poetics. An attempt to make non-functional – and hence incomprehensible – images led to Krankzinnige Beelden (Crazy Images), a series of literally thoughtless wire drawings. When they were finished, the thoughts they turned out to summon up were written down. Words often find their way into Wijker’s work. If these are written, they can be re-read and so perhaps understood – but not if they are unwritten (unless they are thought or spoken, but that is a very different matter). The resulting texts are regularly read aloud in special settings, for instance the series of short stories entitled Let’s give him shoes and a long way to go, which was read straight off a long roll of paper in a typewriter during an exhibition at Mon Capitaine in Middelburg. Of course, things are not as straightforward and unambiguous as described here. They merge, just as morning merges into afternoon and a train journey into the act of alighting. The exhibition at Vleeshal Zusterstraat shows various aspects of this intriguing oeuvre. Kees Wijker studied at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam from 1982 to 1987, and exhibits regularly. He lives and works in Middelburg.