Rooms of Now #7
29 January – 28 February 2022
Curator: Luuk Vulkers
For the seventh edition of Rooms of Now, Vleeshal invited the New York-based artist and writer Hardy Hill to develop new work for the abandoned movie theatre in the Schuttershof building complex, located at just a stone's throw from the Vleeshal.
Originally built for the archers’ guild at the end of the 16th century, the ‘Schuttershof’ building complex has since undergone numerous transformations. Over the years it has housed a tavern, cafes, nightclubs, an emergency shelter for Belgian refugees during WW1, restaurants, a retirement center, a sports and dance school, a men's club, a museum, and a film theater.
It is refreshingly anachronistic how young artist Hardy Hill has forged an intellectual alliance with fellow multidisciplinary Pierre Klossowski (1905–2001). This self-proclaimed ‘monomaniac’, whom Hill greatly admires, considered the artist to be a fetishist, and the production of art a pathological and obsessive act. According to Klossowski, the making of art consists of nothing more or less than an endless and futile attempt to represent a deep-seated phantasm in the material world. This phantasm is nestled in the subconscious, the world of impulses, and cannot be comprehended rationally or emotionally. Although the phantasm and its persisting reign over the human psyche are unpleasant and unwanted, the fetishist’s repeated attempt to represent it (i.e.: the making of art) produces an ephemeral sensation of frantic pleasure.
It is somewhat disturbing, then, to imagine what this ingrained phantasm might comprise in the case of Hardy Hill. His drawings, etchings and photographs feature a legion of naked adolescent males in different postures. They are all beautiful, polished, and charged with a homoerotic promise. The boys are depicted naturalistically and crafted with a remarkable attention to detail. Yet, something about them just seems terribly… off. After a careful inspection of the mise-en-scène, one might come to the conclusion that, despite all their photo-realistic vigor, these bodies fundamentally resist being ‘lifelike’. Instead, Hill’s figures are rigid, two-dimensional, uniform, and clinical — stripped from both sensuality and identity. Tabulae rasae on which one can project their own phantasmic desires, idyllic or perverse.
For this exhibition Hill created a photoseries, Paper Children 35 – 38 (2021) and his first audiovisual installation, My Submission (2021).
Rooms of Now is a project series in which an (inter)national artist is invited to create an artistic intervention in people's homes, in Middelburg. The title is borrowed from a photography project from the artist Maurice van Es, who realised the first edition of Rooms of Now. The series took place from 2019-2022.
Rooms of Now is the follow up of the public program So You Don't Get Lost in the Neighborhood.
In 2015 Vleeshal kicked of its Nomadic Program, as an extension of its existing exhibition program in Middelburg. In its Nomadic Program Vleeshal goes on tour, organising exhibitions and other events in collaboration with venues in the Netherlands and abroad, such as Art Rotterdam, Amsterdam Art Weekend, the Spring Performance Festival, WIELS Art Book Fair, Brussels and Poppositions, Brussels.
This project was made possible by the generous support of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the municipality of Middelburg.