Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Longing For Perfection

Krüller-Müller Museum in Otterlo honors the departure of their director Evert van Straaten with a review of art acquired by the museum under his directorship, together with masterpieces from the permanent collection. The atmosphere of the museum collection is shaped by works of art in which the longing for a better world or for paradise is embedded. At the same time it shows the human struggle with 'the perfect form' and the tragedy of the human condition. Twin concepts such as nature and culture, imagination and knowledge or destruction and construction are found in the presentation in all sorts of ways. Together with five fellow graduating classmates I travelled to Otterlo for a day to be amazed by the building and the collection.

Cai Guo-Qiang
Inopportune: Stage Two from 2004
In his monumental installation Inopportune: Stage Two from Cai Gou-Qiang we see nine life-sized replicas of tigers shot with arrows and a decorative element in the form of a mountain and a tree. Standing and floating all around you in the enormous exhibition room, they seem to be frozen in time. Visitors can easily view them from all sorts of angles. Together with the dramatic lighting they become very theatrical. We all responded differently to the work. Making it our first exchange to discuss and question the intentions of the artist and his presentation. For Jeannette they did not represent real tigers and Claudia wasn't happy about the violence on display. I couldn't get over the fact that they reminded me of the Salvador Dali tigers linking their pose and attack to a surreal experience. We moved on, feeling that I could spend an entire day with them losing track of time and space if I stayed there. Up next were Jeff Wall, Jan Fabre, Gilbert & George and Joep van Lieshout. It wasn't until I saw the Hurt Models by Christiaan Bastiaans that I stopped again and thought: What is this....

Christaan Bastiaans
Hurt Models 
Extremely rich in details, made with different fabrics and posing in various postures, Hurt Models gave the impression of theatrical costumes while others resembled iconic figures. Looking at the tallest figure in the installation, dressed in golden robes and a red velvet pillow as a face, she reminded me of the Blessed Virgin. And I had the overwhelming sensation that I'd discovered something that the other visitors were not seeing. For she was standing in a corner, surrounded by others, hard to make out. And although the hanging sculptures are inspired by clothing worn by rebels in conflict areas they resonate a harmony and beauty that shows a hint of life seeping through destruction.  

The exhibit continued with works of Van Gogh, Mondriaan and Anselm Kiefer, I got reminded that this part of the building always seems to have less oxygen. The further I go, the more I get stuck in that 'room after room filled with art' situation that I no longer can perceive the works. Thank God for light at the end of the tunnel with Bruce Nauman's 'BRRRR' installation. Together with Claudia we were transfixed on his video's, what a relieve! Only to see that most visitors couldn't stay there for more than 5 seconds made us laugh out loud. We loved the emotional charge of the obsessive, hallucinative shaking of his head.

Longing For Perfection
Audiovisual artworks
The real treat, the cherry on top was the tent complex on the activity area in the sculpture garden! In nine separate spaces, you can emerge yourself with the works of Christiaan Bastiaans, Willie Doherty and Jan van de Pavert. This is the reason why I need to return to the Krüller-Müller museum. These audiovisual works take time to experience and there are some I must see again! When I heard my name I knew the spell was over and we had to rush back to reality for the museum was closing. A wonderful day with fellow artists; discussing, laughing and recharging our inspiration! We must do it again...thank you so much Claudia, Paula, Anneke and Jeannette! X

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