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dinsdag 8 mei 2012

the Exhibitions

I lost a lot after leaving Spain: scrapbooks, films and many photos. What I found on some disks to fill up my luggage is represented here; some random picks from a whole career of over 30 years. That happens if life takes a wrong turn. I didn’t foresee what was coming when I moved to Europe’s most southern country almost eleven years ago and couldn’t fore come that it would be almost impossible to live there - especially for a foreigner - thanks to the economic circumstances. I don’t regret. Spain is a fantastic country, and if I had to make the decision again, I would...
Still from what is left, the silent witnesses, I composed a website dedicated to a life of hard work and achievements. I exhibited all over the world, started in my home country: the Netherlands, I was able to show my work as far as the US, Brazil and Japan. I did gallery shows, but exhibited also in museums, cultural centers and enterprises: often alone (solo), but also many in group, invited by fellow artists or organizations. I hope you enjoy this small contribution and let me know what you like or don’t...

Achter de Toren Sambeek 1980

The first invitation I got as a teenager, 15 years old, to exhibit in my hometowns’ youth-center Telstar 65; an adolescent show of immature work of which I show two examples here. I don’t consider that opportunity as my debut however. It was just a side-kick and to fill the basement bar of a society I was too young to enter.
My debut came more or less by accident. I didn’t want to show my work, made my living as an illustrator when Cor Borsje asked me to do a show in his gallery Achter de Toren in Sambeek. I just returned from the US after a stay of more then two years and Cor was also the PR manager of Rank Xerox Benelux. He invited me to work in their showroom with the prototypes to develop computer generated art, and I wanted to favor him when I said yes. Seen afterwards it was one of those big decisions.
The show was a success, the critics were fantastic, and so it tasted for more. That’s why I consider this exhibition as the start of my professional independent artist career.
It brought my first representing gallery: Adri in Nijmegen, owned by Richard Eichner. He represented me for over a year until the gallery went bankrupt. In that year he organized a show with my work in his fathers’ gallery in Jerusalem and he got me in touch with the Israel Linka gallery in Amsterdam which also represented me for a while.
Even more important was a trip to the Hague where a fellow artist – Theo Bitter – introduced me to Henry de Brey, owner of gallery Edison who showed my work till he died in 1991.
I did a lot of shows with Edison, every year, sometimes more then once, or was invited in the group exhibitions Henry organized. It was a successful association as he showed my work during fairs and manifestations. After his death I never replaced Edison with another representing gallery, mainly because I didn’t depend on art in making a living anymore. My focus was more on what was going on in the computer world: experimenting with multimedia and later with web-based developments.

Amber 1982 cultural center de Beejekurf Venray

In those early years of artist life I have to mention Chih-ling Tseng an entrepreneur who owned a restaurant in the town I lived. Not only did he buy a lot of my work, he also allowed me to turn his business into an art-gallery. I showed work myself and invited colleagues to exhibit. It became a success, as well for the artist as for the owner.
Due to my activity in resto Quick In (as the restaurant was called) I got remarked as an artist by the community and was visited by two colleagues who wanted to launch an art-council for the area. I became involved as a board member of the Amber society with responsibility for presentations like exhibits and fairs.
At that point I already was a member of the BBK – the Dutch Artist Union – and with the experience I developed in the Amber council I was able to contribute in the international art-shows initiated by the union. Themes like Orwell in 1984, or Heinrich Heine, the year after were shown in galleries and museums in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France and Germany.
Thanks to the Orwell exhibition I was discovered by Peter Küstermann who asked me to do a show in his Kunstverrein Wolkenstein in Minden (Germany). As one of the leading mail-artists of that time he dragged me into it, after which I participated in a lot of projects.
It was when I moved to Amsterdam that union life became more important. Living in the North quarter I was invited at the base of the foundation of an art-council for the region, again with responsibility to represent the artist members. That is how the Noordzij association found and invited me to design an exhibition about the Amsterdam IJ-borders and how I got involved in their plans for re-structuring, and designed exhibitions around the subject for over three years.

cultural center De Weyer Boxmeer 1984

My first show in “Achter de Toren” was already a large one, especially for a debut. Over a hundred works were exhibited.
The second and largest exhibit I ever did was in 1984 when fellow artist Arno Arts – what’s in a name – asked me to fill the entire cultural center of Boxmeer: “De Weyer”. Boxmeer is just a small town but the impact was huge. Some 200 works I exposed and the critics came from all over the Netherlands, the border areas of Germany and Belgium.
In 1985 I exhibited again in “de Weyer” with just a couple of works as one of the exposing artist over the past year.
However I did large shows after that, I never showed a so diverse collection of my work and styles. Almost everything I did so far was represented: my work as an illustrator, artist, copier and mail-artist.

Hammam Amsterdam 1988

In 1986 I moved to Amsterdam and became actively involved in the capital cultural circle, but already before that I exhibited in the city. I showed my work at several moments, mainly in group and with special occasions like in the New Church (Nieuwe Kerk) or during the IV Russell Tribunal in the Moses & Aaron church.
In 1983 I had my first solo exhibition in Amsterdam in cultural center De Meervaart where I showed my series of “Rhythm Balls”, works in black & white and mixed media inspired by a Native American music instrument.
Almost immediately after I moved I got involved in Gollem, a cultural café in the town center, where I was asked to take over editing their monthly magazine and where I had a show, my works screwed against the ceiling, at the end of that year.
Thanks to my decision to go to Amsterdam, times became busy as an active board member of the BBK, ‘t KAN (Amsterdam North Artist council) and later the Noordzij association. I got a lot of opportunities; from exhibiting in galleries and cultural centers to co-working at the decorations of the first Dutch Hammam and organizing the opening exhibition for it. My show in the Shaffy Theater was widely broadcasted on television thanks to a weekly cultural program which was located there.
Not only in Amsterdam but also in the immediate surroundings I used the opportunities to show my work, like in cultural center De Drommedaris (Camel) in Enkhuizen where I dedicated a theme exhibition around the animal the center was named after.

Crcifix, mixed media 1988

victims of power & violence
In 1988 I was invited by Eurometaal, the national Dutch ammunition fabric. I accepted under the condition that I had carte-blanches to react. I titled the exhibition “Victims of Power & Violence” What did they expect when I asked?
The works weren’t even there for 24 hours, removed immediately as if blood shatter flooded the floors. Newspapers wrote about it and even the Queens’ cabinet got involved. I moved the exhibition to my gallery Edison in the Hague where it didn’t got the attention I hoped for after all the fuzz. In fact the whole matter died silently. Could a company of arms be that influentially?

Open Haven Museum 1992

doors of melancholy & desire
Anneke Peereboom and I worked already together for a couple of years when I got the idea to bring a show together. As location I found the Open Haven Museum, an old Holland-America-line building at the docs of the Amsterdam IJ. Perfect, and thanks to the location Anneke invented the title: Doors of Melancholy & Desire.
Painting on doors – old and used ones – was already a fact before I found the location. We collected them from everywhere: old buildings which had to be demolished, or from people who had just stored them in their basement.
We worked in my studio, together, but not at the same door, to see if we would influence each other. Sometimes we worked with a model, mostly inspired by the moment, and the installation grew.
It had to become a huge construction: the doors really hung in their slots, and it was Anneke’s husband who meant that we had to paint the whole installation black.
It was a brilliant idea; situated in the large entrance hall of the museum. The colorful doors jumped immediately in sight. The opening was a success and the show got a lot of press attention, even a video release, but there were no continuing ambitions.
It was 1992, over two years after I launched the idea and my interests were more and more in consulting, organizing and the fast evolves in the computer world. Besides I was preparing for the Biennale in Brusque St Catharina (Brazil) were I was invited for the year after.

preparation for Dubai, end 2011

As mentioned before: from the early nineties my focus was more on computer developments that happened in those days then on creating art, which didn’t mean that I wasn’t in any exhibitions anymore. Those were mainly invitations for group-shows; however I still had a couple of smaller solo-exhibits like in an NMB bank office in Amsterdam.
At the end of 1996 I moved to Antwerp where, together with some fellow mail-artists, we tried to establish a nation-wide network in order to organize shows and performances. That we didn’t succeed is due to the nature of the beast: mail-artist - however connected world-wide - are individuals in itself.
In 1997 I went back to college as one of the chosen ones in the first course “Internet Developer Expert”, and because of that the main focus glided to web-based development. Still I did some minor shows where I lived; a big and monumental office-building in the town center.
Also after I moved to Spain early 2002 I had some shows in the immediate surroundings with computer generated art-work which was quit new, especially in the beginning. Those were prints or environmental work shown in traditional places like galleries and cultural centers. Because of my involvement in Internet and multimedia developments I didn’t had much time to exhibit, and strangely enough web-based shows just started after my return to the Netherlands last year.
Today I’m looking for new challenges. There is an upcoming show in Dubai for the end of this year, and I’m experimenting with all kinds of opportunities the Web has to offer.

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