Arnoud Holleman
Amsterdam, Saturday December 16, 2017
On ne touche pas
Lecture/performance in ongoing development, accompanied by a simultaneous screening of ‘Museum’, dating from 1998.

Performed on the occasion of:
'Past in the present' (october 21, 2007, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam)
'On Post-Secularism' (february 1, 2009, BAK, Utrecht)
'Roma @ Motto' (march 14, 2010, Berlin)


Fragment of reading @ BAK, Utrecht


Full text:
On ne touche pas: “Don’t touch.” That is the title of my story dealing with the matter of copyrights. It is a work in progress - this lecture has grown from earlier versions and is meant to do so in the future.

Although at first sight it may seem disconnected, I’m happy with the given context of iconoclasm for it automatically provides a certain vocabulary. I can go straight away to “the absence of images” as a theme of interest. Although I’m not a religious person, the absence of images connects my practice as a contemporary artist/writer with the second of the biblical Ten Commandments, which is known as the prohibition against images. That biblical prohibition against images runs parallel to similar passages in the Torah and the Koran. So, there’s a certain agreement among the three world religions when it comes to the value of absence of images. That makes me wonder why the prohibition against images is seen today as something “foreign” in the context of “our western, Judeo-Christian culture. Rather than something internalized within the western way of thinking about visual culture, it is seen as a threat, as a form of censorship used to curtail the freedom of (artistic) expression.

As an image-maker, rooted in western culture, I’m pro freedom of expression, of course. At the same time, I find it a little too easy to dismiss the prohibition against images as proof of the supposed backwardness of Islam. Freedom of expression is fine, but I feel just as uncomfortable about the absence, or at its best very tiny presence, of the second commandment in the western discourse about visual culture. The production of images is apparently already taken for granted to such an extent that any discussion about their absence is no longer a serious option, or at most destined to meet with indifference.

Isn’t that strange? Many artists, myself included, tend to adopt a critical and reflexive attitude, and want to distinguish themselves from the daily portion of image-pulp through their work. But at the same time, the call for production is stronger than ever - also within the art world. It is against this background of super-abundance that I ask myself which strategies I can use as an artist to come up with images that make a difference: if iconoclasm offers unforeseen values, and if the second commandment may be of help.

In my view, which is influenced by of the writings of dutch author Frans Kellendonk, which I read in art school during the eigthies, the second commandment is based on the assumption that images have a double nature, and the commandment reminds me not to lose sight of that equivocality. It warns me that reality is not automatically represented by the images we make of it. Instead it reminds me that the mystery, or complexity of that reality is lost when an image is thought to represent or replace it.

As an image-maker, I can work despite this fact or thanks to this fact. One image is not the same as the other and there are also images that know their place: images that not only form a world in themselves but also refer to a more complex reality beyond themselves. And this is what I would like to focus on today, with the help of this film Museum, dating from 1998. For me, reflection on earlier works is not meant to dwell in the past. It is meant to stimulate preciseness and to develop internal coherence. I recognize myself in Rainer Maria Rilke when he talks - in 1908 - about “something past comes again, as though out of the future, something formerly accomplished as something to be completed.” And to achieve this I rely on two non-visual qualities, writing and speech.

Something to be precise about is the length of the film: 8 minutes and 18 seconds. And since 24 images fit into one second of video, we are looking at a collection of 11952 successive images, all presented in a fixed sequence and in a fixed rhythm. That is called montage or editing. Forty-one different shots have been edited together, which vary from close-up to total. We see people walking around in a museum environment, suggesting a unity of time and place. The film is presented as a loop, which means that after shot number 41 the film goes black and begins again with shot number 1. As I continue, I will be steering your perception by examining the various types of contexts in which these images have manifested themselves since they were first made. I will do this on the basis of a script that I wrote, with eleven scenes going back and forth in time.

Scene 1 – Artist in restaurant.
25 June 2005. The setting is a dinner party in celebration of the successful opening of an exhibition in De Hallen in Haarlem. The opening was well attended and the festive dinner marks the conclusion of a period of concentrated, hard work. As we are waiting for dessert, the museum’s director Karel Schampers takes me aside and lets me know that he would like to buy a work that is not included in my exhibition, namely “that film in the museum… It would be a fantastic addition to the collection.” I tell him right away that the sale could be complicated since it concerns “found footage,” the rights to which have not been secured. The footage comes from the film Musée Hom, which the French director Jean-Daniel Cadinot made in 1994. When dessert arrives, we agree to discuss the matter again soon.

Scene 2 – Artist in studio.
In my studio, two weeks after the dinner party. 7 July 2005, three minutes past eleven to be precise. My computer says quack and I’ve got new mail, from Karel Schampers. Unfortunately, the museum has to abandon its plans to purchase the work because:
a) Cadinot was never approached about the use of his film.
b) Cadinot had never given permission to “cut” his film.
c) Cadinot owns the copyright for the film, which means it is not mine to transfer by means of sale.
I reply to Karel that he is completely right, but nonetheless I propose that I discuss the situation with a specialist.

Scene 3 – Artist with his lawyer.
Two weeks later, 21 July 2005. My lawyer and I have the same first name. Aernoud Bourdrez is a lawyer who works in the area of intellectual property and copyrights. He shares his office with an advertising agency. I show him the film in the screening room, where the agency normally shows commercials to its clients. “Copyright on images,” Aernoud says, “is a grey area between quoting and stealing. And basically there are two options; you either settle things in advance or you don’t. In the first case you notify the entitled parties of your intentions, with the risk that you may not receive permission, or only at a gargantuan fee. In the second case, you take a risk as soon as you publish the material. You gamble on your ability to convince the judge of your cultural, non-commercial intentions in the event that it comes to a legal battle.”

I tell him that I don’t want to continue having an illegal status and want to get in touch with Cadinot. Not because I can earn money with it, but simply to approach things more professionally. The film is eight years old by now and - since then I have used found footage more often - formalizing that re-use of existing material is a logical step. We discuss strategies.

Scene 4 – Artist on his way to the post box.
Amsterdam has been suffering from a heat wave for days on end. I walk to the post box in shorts and flip-flops. I’m holding a small package addressed to Cadinot. In it, a DVD and two letters: one is from me and the other is a letter of recommendation from Karel Schampers. I hesitate for a moment as I place the package in the slot. From this point on, there’s no turning back. It’s 29 August 2005.

Scene 5 – Artist in a local bar.
Is a major flashback. From 2005 we go all the way back to 1997. Exact date unknown, I’m a regular at the De Spijker bar in those days. When I enter, Onno is standing behind the bar. That implies that the films will be good this evening. Above the bar are two television sets for visuals with no sound. They function as dynamic wallpaper, and while whoever happens to be the bartender gets to choose the films, the concept is always the same: the set on the left shows regular films, both mainstream and cult movies, and the one next to it shows porn films. Onno is more creative in his choice of films than the other barkeepers. He has an eye for similarities in color, form, or subject matter. As Onno passes me a beer, Tom and Jerry are doing their thing on the left-hand screen. Tom is in the middle of stuffing a burning stick of dynamite in Jerry’s little mouse hole. On the other screen, perfectly matching, a penis without a condom is penetrating another man’s hairless arse - in close-up.

Scene 6 – Artist at same location.
Two beers later. With the two screens side-by-side, I need to choose where to look. Tom has risen from the dead at least six times already, and on the other screen the two young men have also managed to survive la petite mort of orgasm. They adjust their clothes and leave the men’s toilet as if nothing has happened. The porn film turns out to be situated in a museum. I totally forget about Tom and Jerry and watch, fascinated by the way that in this pornographic universe visitors wander past examples of western, Egyptian, and Meso-American sculpture. The surprising number of guards in the hall lends an extra tension to the game of seeing and being seen. Everything and everyone is being watched. Touching the artworks is not allowed. On ne touche pas. A few of the sculptures are so true to life it seems Pygmalion himself must have made them. And indeed, as the night watchman does his rounds, he sees the sculptures come to life. Instead of setting off an alarm he joins the party. I ask Onno what film it is and he writes down the title on the back of a beer coaster.

Scene 7 – Artist in porn shop.
The man behind the counter of the porn shop bleeps the barcode indifferently as if it were a carton of milk. I pay 179 guilders for an official consumer copy of Musée Hom by Jean Daniël Cadinot

Scene 8 – Artist in editing suite.
In the loading room of the editing company, I upload the raw material into the computer. Out of 95 minutes I select 35 minutes of raw material. The pornographic material in both ends of the sections I have selected leads to uncomfortable giggles in this non-sexually defined environment. The company has its reputation to think of. The video editor I work with is known for serious documentaries on socially engaged topics. We use the original set noise with its minimal dialogue. Along with all the explicit porn scenes, we leave out a lot of non-pornographic material as well, like the night shoots, and all exterior shots, taken in front of the Musée de l’Art Moderne in Paris. Also, Cadinot’s humoristic storylines are not working for my benefit, such as the scene in which the black actor, reading a book about Pompeii, makes a shocking discovery. On Cadinot’s website I learn that he plays an art student who discovers that the sculpture in the room is not an original. He taps on the sculpture and finds out it is hollow inside, made of plaster! He feels cheated and knocks the sculpture to the floor, at which point a guard carries him off to the museum director. Once in the boardroom the iconoclast is roughly - but willingly - penalized by both the guard and the fictitious colleague of Karel Schampers. At the end of the scene, the guard returns to his post and places a replica of the same sculpture on the empty pedestal, as if nothing ever happened.

Scene 9 – Artist picking up bill.
I reach down towards the doormat to pick up an envelope containing an invoice from the video company: 1800 guilders. What remains for that amount of money is a film of 8 minutes and 18 seconds. 11952 images showing people wandering through a museum. If there is any climax in the plotless drama, it must be the close-up in which a visitor takes her shoes off and massages her own tired feet.

Scene 10 – Artist in museum.
Summer of 1998. Half a year after the film is finished. The film is included in From the Corner of the Eye, an exhibition about “queerness” in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The opening of the exhibition is well attended and the visitors are performing the same ritual ballet as in this film. The legal department of the museum has looked into the copyright issue and has come to the conclusion that as long as you don’t sell the film, it is defensible to show the film in public in a cultural context.

Scene 11 – Artist on the phone.
Back to 2005. Karel’s secretary calls me. Anneke has bad news: Cadinot is not amused. He is honored that a museum director is interested in his work and would therefore be more than happy to discuss an exhibition of his work, but on his terms only. Under no circumstances could he possibly endorse the mutilation of his film that monsieur Holleman has sent him.

End of script - but I’m not finished yet.

Other letters are sent back and forth, but to no avail. I have lost my film. Karel Schampers tries once more with a whole explanation of “appropriation art” and I write Cadinot again myself as well. He accuses me not only of plagiarism, mutilation, and theft, but also of trying to censor gay pornographic images.

I don’t agree of course. My act of iconoclasm is not based on a moral judgment about pornographic images, but rather meant to create new meaning with the same material.

On the supposed censorship, I quote here from my second letter to Cadinot:
… By leaving the porn out, I place the viewer in a situation that seems politically correct, but in fact is not: the viewer sees people who are enjoying “high” art in a museum. At second glance, it becomes clear that those people are not only looking at the art, but just as much at each other and that their gaze is sexually charged. And in that sense, I catch the viewer watching in a way that he would rather not admit to. For me it’s not about being politically correct, but rather precisely the opposite. I really can’t see my re-edit as anything but a tribute to you as a pornographic cineast. It turns out that you are not just a brilliant pornographic filmmaker but also a sharp observer of the human spirit. I would very much like to make this known, also outside the socially marginalized context of pornography.
All of this is to no avail. Cadinot once again responds only to Schampers and not to me: My work is not Campbell Soup, and Monsieur Holleman is certainly not Andy Warhol.

Cadinot is in his right. On ne touche pas. Even so, I do not want to leave it at that.

In connection with the re-use of images, one should also talk about the amount of images we are constantly bombarded with on a daily basis. That constant flow of images is only manageable thanks to our ability to select, edit. That editing happens naturally. We chose what we want to see and leave the rest out, that’s how we deal with reality and that’s how we construct the stories of our lives. My re-edit of Cadinot’s material is no more than a technical representation of what I had assembled live with my eyes that first evening in the De Spijker bar. What happened that evening was that I was watching Cadinot’s version from a different perspective than Cadinot himself. I saw the porn scenes as entreact and the inbetweens as the main film. That is the point of departure for my montage, which shows a number of shifts in meaning compared to the original.

In the first place, along with the sex scenes, the pornographic convention of showing everything has also disappeared. The explicitly visible became implicitly understandable, and now that the sex is only vaguely suggested, there is room for another subject. We see people who are not only looking at objects but also using technology as a go-between between themselves and whatever they are looking at. We see shots of people who not only look at images, but also make images. Cadinot has even emphasized this by adding artificial sounds of clicking cameras. And for those who are open to it: in that clicking of shutters one can also hear another Frenchman, namely Roland Barthes.

Barthes links the clicking sound of the camera to the snap of fingers that ends up in pointing. The photograph, he says, is never anything but an antiphon of “look,” “see,” “Here it is.” Among the terms Barthes uses to define photography we find operator, spectator and spectrum. In short: the operator is the photographer, the spectator is the viewer, and the spectrum is the person or object being photographed. Museum shows people who assume all three roles at once in differing, fused constellations. Index finger and camera are equal instruments in Museum. Unmediated experiences of looking at objects are naturally supplemented with secondary layers of information, from different sorts of leaflets, and then leisurely immortalized and replicated by camera or video camera. Their looking at things is portrayed as an activity and also as an act of taking on different roles.

And then there’s also the museum guard who looks into Cadinot’s camera for a fraction of a second and blushes. Barthes might say about the blushing museum guard that: “He turns himself into a posing person, he suddenly fabricates another body, he metamorphoses himself into an image.” That is the moment when it is revealed that the museum visitors, the guards, and even some of the sculptures are well aware of the fact that they are in the process of becoming images we glance at.

Of course, when I was quaffing my beers in the pub, I was hardly mindful of Barthes. But there was something in those images that made me sit on the edge of my bar stool, something that I was sure could be of greater value in another context. The question is now: is what I saw in Cadinot’s work that evening at De Spijker bar the intellectual property of Cadinot? I think not. But then what is the status of my interpretation of Cadinot’s image the moment I want to share this with others?

At this point it’s good to have a closer look at the different kinds of copyright laws there are. Roughly speaking, there are two systems: European and American. Contrary to what you might expect, the Americans who are living in a disclaimer culture are more moderate in this than the Europeans. In America, I would be able to appeal to the idea of “fair use.” Fair use gives reusers like me the chance to make a plausible justification for the copyright-related actions they are undertaking with someone else’s image. Fair use acknowledges the possibilities of the image, and thus reuse is not against the law on forehand. In Europe, however, the law one-sidedly chooses the side of the maker, which makes the entire territory of exchange and transfer illegal and subversive. The two exceptions, namely parody and quote, create only very limited room for maneuvering and room for a specific type of visual output. Overall, the author remains the “exclusive” entitled party.

In other words, a presentation such as mine is punishable here in Europe. I am guilty of violating the copyright law, BAK is guilty of illegally displaying Cadinot’s film, and you as an audience are also guilty, since you are expected to know the law and nobody grasps his phone to report a violation of that law.

Let us, potential criminals, now return to the second commandment. I think the copyright issue grates in a strange way against the politicized issues revolving around the second commandment and the prohibition against images. We all have the image of the Danish cartoon of Allah with a bomb in his turban imprinted in our visual memory. As a result of its role in a discussion on the prohibition against images, it got an enormous amount of publicity - and along with that an incredible platform. The comparison may be far fetched, but the censorship exercised by European copyright law on the other hand is quietly ensuring that Museum literally has no right to exist and can only be seen in closet situations.

When it comes to the prohibition against images in connection to with second commandment, we are all ready to defend freedom of expression, but copyright laws impose infinitely more limitations on that freedom of expression, and no one in the media ever raises any questions about that. Copyright is evidently considered to be sufficiently “of our own” and not “backward” that it fails to arouse any moral indignation.

This is because image-makers have a long history of protective measures, going back to the early nineteenth century, in which only rather one-sided legislation has been developed. Image-consumers do not have that history and therefore also do not have those rights, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t get them. Nowadays the viewing of images is not only connected with new forms of production, but new forms of distribution as well. I see Museum as an old school example in this development. What cost me 1800 guilders for Museum in 1997 can now be done for free on any laptop with Photoshop and Final Cut Pro and distributed wirelessly on YouTube. Especially these accelerating technical means to distribute images are putting more and more pressure on the existing copyright laws.

If you would apply the two legal modes to the second commandment, you could say that the European law ignores the second commandment in favor of the “idol.” It is the product of the image-maker that is protected, instead of the “divine mystery,” or whatever you wish to call it, that it is supposed to represent.

The American fair use model, on the other hand, is the secularized translation of the prohibition against images from the Bible, since it acknowledges the capricious nature of images. Although in America, too, it is mostly the author who is protected, fair use leaves at least an opening for discussion. A way to be more precise, and to make distinctions between reproductive and transformative reuse for example, which is how I have used Cadinot’s material. The reality of cultural practice of today is screaming for a correction in legislation. And since legislation tends to adapt slowly to changes in reality the question is now: How do you go about lobbying for such change? My lawyer simply turns it around and says: “If you quote something as an artist and you want to create the legal possibilities for doing that, you need to allow others to quote you as well.”

And this is where I have to face my blind spot, I guess. For it is easy to be rather light-footed in considering Cadinot’s objections, but if I were him, I would be equally “not amused” if someone else were to use my work without my permission. So what about my own principles? On which substantial grounds would I myself agree to someone else re-using my own work?

When we talk about reproductive re-use I think legislation is sufficient. You can agree about credits and fees, but for transformative re-use I think we need to develop new models. And again Barthes might be of help when he is talking about the “death of the author,” as a concession for the “birth of the reader.” Conventional authors, the ones protected by laws, have been unmasked by Barthes as a fiction, invented as a way of solving a number of problems. Like problems that stem from the discovery that a text or an image never has an ultimate meaning, which is difficult to couch in rules. Barthes helps us further by introducing the terms “lisible and scriptable,” “readerly and writerly,” to make a distinction between passive and active reading. The readerly attitude stands for reading without consequences, a pastime. The writerly attitude, on the other hand, edits everything together, no matter what it might be, in order to question pre-existing values.

Of course dead authors and newborn readers are fictional entities as well, but they are useful in this context. Adapted to the current situation, I would say that Barthes’s idea of the birth of the reader, which stems from the seventies, is more and more matching with the reality of image-making of today. For me that difference between the readerly and writerly is important when it comes to criteria for re-use of my own work. Of course this isn’t solid ground for lawyers yet, but this is where we are, or at least this is where I am. Terms such as transformative and reproductive, readerly and writerly are welcome additions to parody and quote to discuss criteria for re-use. And others should follow, based on developing practice. Think about open source methodology for example, or the design practice of Creative Commons. If you want to develop generally applicable rules for this shift in reality, there is little else you can do but to reconsider each case. That is a complicated and time-consuming process, but there’s no way around it. It is in any case better than to park the entire field of transfer and exchanging images in illegality.

Compare it with the rise of the anti-smoking lobby. Ten years ago, no one would have believed you if you had claimed that smoking would one day no longer be allowed in bars and restaurants.

To recap: in the ten years since Museum was made, the film has been shown in various ways: as an art film in its own right and as illustrative material for this lecture. As an art film, it was turned over as such to the eye of the beholder, while in the setting of this presentation it was accompanied by a voiceover with the entire archaeology of its development, including the various confessions of my own illegal actions. My act of iconoclasm is condemned on legal instead of moral grounds - not because I am taking the name of Allah or God in vain, but rather that of Cadinot. Even the fact that Cadinot died last year - and we can therefore take the death of the author literally - doesn’t change the situation. Cadinot is protected by a law that ignores the tenor of the second commandment, which protects the image as a fetish, instead of protecting the reality to which it refers.

As I see it, in his distinction between readerly and writerly, Barthes reiterates the biblical second commandment. He would not use the word God and he would also dispel as a myth the statement that “reality is a mystery,” but he approaches the same material when he says: “The writerly text is ourselves reading, before the infinite play of the world is traversed, intersected, stopped, plasticized by some singular system which reduces the plurality of entrances, the opening of networks, the infinity of languages.”

They may be difficult words, but I read them as a non-religious invitation to internalize the second commandment. Not by prohibiting images per se - although I’d love to trade half of the smoke-free public environments for image-free public environments - but by acknowledging that a good image is in between two others, a previous one and another to come.

Melanchotopia
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Als Zijlstra praat, dan hoor je de positieve, neoliberale peptalk van Rutte, maar ook de anti-elitaire en antiglobalistische onderbuikpraat van Wilders. Het roer moet niet alleen om, maar de bestaande structuur moet – als doel op zich – schade worden toegebracht. Met andere woorden, schepping en destructie gaan hand in hand – en uit de mond van Zijlstra klinkt dat allemaal verbluffend unisono.
Illustraties
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Provisional Space
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In memoriam Krijn Giezen
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De Burgers van Seoul
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Klein Holleman
Website voor tekeningen, fotografie en collages. Met de verkoop financier ik mijn langlopend onderzoek naar wat de kunstenaar van nu (nog) vermag. Het mythisch kunstenaarschap van Auguste Rodin dient als historische referentie voor onze eigen tijd. Tekenen is een van de weinige skills die nog onlosmakelijk met het kunstenaarschap verbonden zijn en de kunst een gemeenschappelijke taal geven. Prijzen vanaf 100 euro.
Herman Heijermans
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Homage
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Roosegaarde en Rodin
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Temporary Stedelijk 2
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Passie en Ruimte
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Retitled
For the last couple of years in a row, artists had been invited who felt at home in a big show environment. This had thrown up a number of lively and playful installations, but this year the budding tradition was in jeopardy: for a variety of reasons there was next to no money for art projects. The only kitty in the budget that might be called upon had been set aside for the printing of the half a million paper napkins that were to be used during the festival.
Broken Thinker
De Denker van Auguste Rodin is een iconisch misverstand. Sinds het ontstaan in 1881 wordt er een beroep gedaan op het denkvermogen van het beeld, terwijl het slechts de pose van het denken uitdrukt. Welbeschouwd is de Denker een lege vorm waar iedereen op mag projecteren. Dat heeft geleid tot een waaier van ideeën - en clichés - over de mens die nadenkt over zijn bestaan.
Me and Jan Hoving
Inventarisnummer BK53086 - BK53115. Serie van 30 potloodtekeningen. Begin 1 juni 1976, einde 30 juni 1976. Kunstenaar: Jan Hoving. Titel: Zonder titel. Beschrijving: Vierkant met potloodarcering, met begin- en eindtijdnotering. Materiaal: potlood, papier. Hoogte: 54,8. Breedte: 54,8. Staat: redelijk. Organisatie: Instituut Collectie Nederland. Rubriek: Beeldende kunst. Dit werk wordt afgestoten door Instituut Collectie Nederland.
8th Gwangju Biennale
As an artist and writer, Arnoud Holleman’s extraordinarily diverse output is connected by a strong thematic concern with the life and significance of images. Often this concern is manifested through acts of appropriation that transform an image’s meaning through a shift in context, or a removal of contextual elements. This concern with the lives of images has also led him to create works that explore the historical prohibitions on image making.
Rodin research
From 2005 onwards, I have been focusing on Rodin as a research topic. The main question that I ask myself is in what way Rodin consciously helped shaping the mythical proportions of his own artistic persona. By studying his life and works and by studying the timeframe of the second half of the nineteenth century – in which his work came to existence – I seek to create a context of paralel references as a source of inspiration for nowadays artistic practice.
Now
What happens is that the grit under your feet mixes with the noise in your head. And in the monotony of the constant succession of footsteps, residual thoughts escape like intestinal slugs. Initially this is unpleasant. The physical exertion is a booster, the cadence of your breathing and your footsteps become the haunted baseline under the story of your life, as you recount it to yourself at that moment.
Media Suicide
De 38-jarige Karst T. uit Huissen reed even voor het middaguur in op toeschouwers in een bewuste actie de koninklijke familie te raken. De man raakte zelf ernstig gewond en verkeerde gisteravond in levensgevaar. De man ontweek op de Jachtlaan in Apeldoorn twee afzettingen en reed met zijn zwarte Suzuki Swift in op de menigte. De koninklijke familie zag vanaf een paar meter afstand hoe de man tegen monument De Naald botste.
Questioning History
In visual art and photography there has been growing interest in history over the past few years - and in reflection on the past in particular. This interest relates to historiography, the oral tradition, historical consciousness and collective memory. Visual artists who address these themes find themselves in a highly relevant social context. The exhibition encompasses a diversity of work by 19 distinguished artists.
Onkenhout
Staring at the picture of the garden on the postcard I catch a glimpse of my mother in a version of her life that she never lived, one in which Nico had gotten in touch, after that evening out. Perhaps now she’d have a different surname and be sitting by a different fire drinking wine with a different child. In a moment that feels like an oedipal short circuit, I experience something impossible: that I never existed.
Immovably Centred
Everything just chucked away. Subsidy handed back. A total failure. Fine. Well done. I’d like to know when you’re not going to be a failure. If you’re not. And whether I’m going to witness it in this lifetime. So vain. So weak. So lacking in backbone. I have to keep the whole show on the road while you just sit upstairs crying at your desk, your tears staining what you’re only going to scrunch up again any second and toss into the corner. On that laptop of yours.
Aaltje Kraak
In de Marslaan stond een rijtje van vijf jaren zestig-huizen te wachten op de sloop. De bouwnorm was in het centrum tot vierhoog verhoogd dus op die plek voldeden ze niet meer. De grote ramen, die de huizen ooit tot moderne doorzonwoningen hadden gemaakt waren nu dichtgetimmerd. Op het blanke hout van het underlayment stond over de volle lengte van het huizenblok met spuitbus geschreven: Weg met die zooi!
The Return of Religion and Other Myths
The Return of Religion and Other Myths is a large-scale multifaceted project, consisting of the exhibition The Art of Iconoclasm, a discourse program taking place in early 2009 titled On Post-Secularism, and the publication of a BAK Critical Reader on the subject in 2009. The project explores the popular assumption of the return of religion to the public sphere, contemporary politics, and the media in the West as a constitutive "myth."
More of the same
Photo column in Amsterdam Weekly, focusing on similarities in the city environment. Based on the '700 centenboek' from 1975, in which Jos Houweling photographed objects throughout the city of Amsterdam in the same manner. The photo column appeared biweekly and was combined with the work of Hans Eijkelboom, whose series focus on similar human behavior or similar dress codes.
Over de filosofie van de verdunning
Als aanzet tot de verwezenlijking van hun ideaal ontmantelde Muller de hiërarchie in de verpleging. In deze anti-autoritaire omgeving stond voorop dat zwakzinnigen en begeleiders elkaar hielpen om ‘zichzelf’ te zijn. Met zijn oprechte, onaangepaste gedrag kon de zwakzinnige zelfs als positief voorbeeld dienen voor de ‘zelfactualisering’ waar ieder mens naar diende te streven.
www.nieuwkomer.nl">www.nieuwkomer.nl
For months after I first stood on that little bridge, I continued to circle around the windmills. Not only with my camera, but also with a microphone. When you look closer, the polder turns out to be an arena of conflicting interests. The cluttering of the landscape stands in opposition to climatological necessity; economic and ecological interests are locking horns for dominance; innovation oriented towards the future has to compete with the appreciation for history.
Marcel
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking, earth has disappeared. As we will not be able to crash, we will continue flying until we run out of fuel. Well so do something about it you’ve been wining about it for years. Well. Halfway. Everything’s fine. Stay calm. Come on guys what’s the big idea? You know, these days when somebody on the street says ‘sorry’ it’s a junky. You see you don’t get it. You’re just a character in someone elses plot.
Call me
It’s either filthy thoughts or intellectual blah-blah, and nothing in between. Look closer. More closer. Look at me! You hear me?! If there’s any reason for me to be ashamed, it’s you. The only reason I’m standing in front of the town hall is because I happened to have been ‘created’ by a world-famous sculptor: Rodin, the genius of deep emotions and existential gestures. Yeah right. The way I’m standing here, Rodin is the only person who’s never once laid a finger on me.
Just in Time!
Guest curator Kopsa asked the artists who submitted proposals for ‘Just in Time’ to define what they regarded as ‘necessary’. Just in Time (JIT) is the name of an economic principle, based on producing the right component at the right place at the right moment, in order to prevent waste. Artists manage their time in the opposite manner. They deliberately choose indirection, and are open to mistakes and unexpected tangents.
The Second Commandment
The best way to make the difference between meaning and madness is by saying the things you have to say as precisely as possible, with every means available to you. In that respect, the recontextualisation of older work is one of the strategies that could be investigated in more depth. Sometimes it makes more sense to ‘re-present’ old work than to simply produce for production’s sake and prematurely declare the old as passé.
Hester
In the drawing, she has her head down because she was reading. She’s spent most of her life reading, its her way out of her depression. I remember being quite conscious of drawing her double chin, since she hates it. My mother hates the fact that she’s losing her jawbone. I thought, ‘No, I’ve got to scrub it out.’ So I drew a shadow there. But these dark areas, the chin and the bags, emphasize her depression more than they show her reading a book.
Re-Magazine
Re-Magazine's great virtue is its willingness to expose sentiments that seldom find public expression, most often relating to the apparently trivial experiences and memories that make up the larger part of existence. Alongside this editorial idiosyncrasy, it is beautifully designed and photographed, each issue adopting a form to suit its subject - Emily King, Frieze, October 2003.
Food Coma
De inhoud van FOOD COMA wordt twee keer opgediend: een keer als theater, de tweede keer als tijdschrift. Centraal in voorstelling en tijdschrift staat Marcel, een 44-jarige computerdeskundige uit Wavrin, een klein dorpje onder de rook van Lille. Marcel wil en kan het maar over één ding hebben: voedsel. In FOOD COMA heeft Marcel een "monologue intérieur", een manische opeenstapeling van feiten over voedsel die begint waar dieetgoeroe's, chefkoks, boulimie-patiënten, slowfoodactivisten, fruitariërs en andere lekkerbekken ophouden.
Re-Magazine #12 (Hester)
The door slammed behind us and we got locked out. We decided to deal with that later and first take the furniture down to the car. So we got into the lift with the filing cabinet and then the lift stuck. There was hardly anyone in this building, I was maybe one of only five people that had moved in. We were stuck in the lift for three hours and every time we heard a noise we’d bang on the door. Eventually somebody came past and realised we were stuck and went to get help. When we got out of the lift we found out the car had been clamped while we’d been stuck, which meant a penalty of 120 pounds.
Re-Magazine #11 (Marcel)
I forced myself not to spit, but to swallow. The undissolved salt got stuck to the back of my throat and oesophagus. I ended up nearly choking. It was as if I had eaten a mouthful of sand. I then began to drink one glass of water after another, but the salty taste persisted. It was terrible and wonderful at the same time, and in some strange way physically exhausting. I had eaten about 30 grams of salt, only five times the recommended daily allowance. Committing suicide can be very easy: one kilo of salt is all it takes.
Re-Magazine #10 (Claudia)
At times, her intelligence left me speechless and her beauty left me breathless. Her overwhelming height of 1m98 and dazzling charisma makes Claudia a woman who is almost too big for this world. This is a story about Claudia's monumental size, breathtaking beauty, staggering intelligence, mind-blowing success and pure happiness. Claudia has it all and she’s ready to share it with you.
I am flying
Event. Airplane with banner, 2003
Captured on 16 mm film, duration 32 seconds.
Camera: Sander Snoep
Me and Larry Clark
Holleman looped the legendary shot of one the protagonists relieving himself after a night of steady drinking, emptying a last can of beer while doing so. After a while the calm splashing becomes reminiscent of a Zen fountain rather than a toilet, forming the audio backdrop to the show. Holleman filmed this fragment with a video camera in a cinema, in an exploration of appropriation, as well as of the status of the original images. (Willem de Rooij in Frieze magazine)
Solipsistic Sky
He ejaculated on the paper, outlining the blobs with watercolour crayon. Once it had all dried, he made everything around these constellations black with pencil. The drawing then became a window looking out towards a cosmos-like world, full of nothingness. This blackening process was a monotonous task, which allowed him to withdraw happily into the right side of the brain, where timelessness rules.
My Dad Playing Piano
The closet in his study kept the usual mix of essential and trivial: drawings from high school, student paraphernalia and tons of paper work from his job as a teacher. In an old shoebox we found a microphone and some old music cassettes. When he had retired, eight years before his death, he had picked up playing the piano again. He had taken lessons again and had studied every day. Sometimes he would make a recording of the pieces that he played, as a reality check.
Re- Magazine #9 (John)
I still remember the moment perfectly, it was summer and I thought, I’ll disappear in the autumn. And that’s what I did. I hatched my plan in secret. What surprised me was that my decision didn’t calm me down. I heard people who commit suicide live in great harmony with themselves and their surroundings during the period between deciding and carrying it out. For as long as I can remember I’ve felt hustled, and that feeling only grew worse after my decision.
Family and friends
Seven drawings of penises in various forms and sizes. Black pencil on 9" x 11" sheets of paper. First published in Butt magazine # 4, summer 2002 and later in Butt book - adventures in 21st century gay subculture, 2006. Based on dating site profile pics, named 'Dieter', 'Bram', 'Henk', 'Andrew', 'Harry', 'Erik', 'Martin' and 'Edward'. The drawings are framed in individual frames and for sale as a group. Price on request.
Driving Miss Palmen
I understand why you want to be a writer. It’s better to be mediocre and famous than just being mediocre. But the difference between you and me is that I’m able to create a character of myself in a story I choose to live in. And you, I’m sorry to say, are not. That makes me a writer and you just a character in someone elses plot. And as for my work: The big misunderstanding about my work is that critics keep comparing the fictious Connie Palmen with the real Connie Palmen, instead of comparing her to other great characters in litterature, like Madame Bovary, or Lolita...
Untitled (Staphorst)
In this mediation between being and non-being we can do nothing else than continually behave as camera-genic as possible. See and be seen via the image has become a cultural and existential duty. This primacy of image and visibility however is no universal, natural condition: Islam’s interdict on images originally, according to the second commandment, also applied to Christendom.
Me and Madonna
When she comes past I click away hysterically. Not even with the intention of getting her picture but more because I’m in the press enclosure and have to prove that I’m a photographer or so. I’m so busy with the camera and she goes by so fast that I hardly catch a glimpse of her. The print I have made is blurred. Also that night was the first time she showed up with a black hairdo instead of her usual blonde, so nobody recognized her on the photo.
Me and Paolo
Masked newspaper spread. Photo shows Italian soccer player Paolo de Canio, saluting his fans in nazi-style while celebrating the victory for SS Lazio over AS Roma in january 2005. Text at bottom centre: I just wanted to celebrate with my fans. A photographer using a camera that takes 500 frames a minute just caught this moment in the celebration and made it look as if I held my right hand in that position.
I = for Impasse (Re- #4)
I meet a lot of people, both friends and strangers, who are in the middle of their personal acts of expression, but when I hear them talking, and compare their intentions to the final result, I very often think that the process of making is better than the expression of the product itself. I wish I could blame this on their lack of talent, but when I look at the results of my own acts of expression, I get the same feeling that a documentary about the making of that particular act of expression would have been much more interesting.
Co*star
Dus toen kreeg ik heel erg de wens, als mens maar ook als kunstenaar, om me te bevrijden van al die dingen... om werkelijk iets nieuws in te slaan. Maar dat gaat niet, want je kan het nieuwe niet bedenken op basis van al die ouwe zooi. Dus ik dacht, ik wil daar van af... en toen bleek dat soap ... bleek een deur te zijn naar... zeg maar dat je die ruimte in je hoofd weer werkelijk leeg zou kunnen maken en als een soort potentie zou kunnen gaan vullen... zelf.
Me and Bert
That summer I was into the differences and parallels between drawing and photography. I saw myself as a human camera and tried to copy photos as precisely as possible. I was intrigued by the fact that I had to work for hours or days or weeks on end and would still fail to come anywhere close to what the camera had seen in a split second. One night, after a long day of working with minute precision and concentration, I went out to a bar and ran into Bert.
Inner Child
Ik kan tekenen door te beginnen. Al tekenend vond Clanice een waarheid waarin ze veilig was voor haar stiefvader en halfbroers. Ik besta. Clanice weet zich zoo te draaien dat zij zich het eerste laat naaien. Vrijwel meteen werd Clanice teruggeworpen in haar moeders schoot die het geschop in haar buik opvatte als boodschappen van een jongetje. We gaan naar Zandvoort. Clanice en haar zorgzame moeder maken gewoon lekker rustig een korte wandeling naar de kalme zee.
From the Corner of the Eye
For many artists, sexual orientation is just one of the many significant aspects in their work, but is an aspect which is often ignored in exhibitions and art criticism. From the Corner of the Eye offers an image of contemporary visual arts, seen from a "queer" perspective. In this exhibition, it is hoped that the homosexual gaze will sometimes be emphatically present and at other times will disappear into the background.
Museum
Museum (1998) is a re-mastered, projected version of a 1980s video by French gay porn director J. P. Cadinot. After Holleman cut out all the sex scenes, all that is left are young boys in hot pants and uniforms wandering aimlessly through a cheap film set of rooms in a nondescript museum. The eclectic art collection functions merely as a prop, but since there is no apparent action either, it’s not clear what the props are for.
Recto / Verso
Interview covergirl Lauren Hutton was photographed by Francesco Scavullo in 1973. She's wearing Galanos - from his exciting fall 1973 collection. Accessorized by Galanos, makeup by Way Bandy, hair by Rick Gilette. The photo was re-photographed by Anuschka Blommers and Niels Schumm in 2003, with model Uta Eichhorn posing as Re-Magazine covergirl Claudia. She's wearing a black dress by Hermès. Styling by Katja Rahlwes, makeup by Renata Mandic.
Wij / We
The definition of the word definition is: ‘the description of the essence of something in one or two highly precise and succinctly formulated sentences.’ That is by no means easy, and we certainly don’t pretend to be able to do so. Nevertheless, there are a lot of characteristics that we find interesting and that we come up against in wondering about what might be typical of the region known as Twente. But those things aren’t so much absolute as they are relative.
Life is a Dream Come True
In most of my dreams there are no images or storylines to assign to their nightmarish feeling. They are more about certain dynamics, of shrinking and growing, for example, or being crushed. My body caving in on itself. As a depressed person I live inside my head and there’s always a sense that my body is deteriorating and weak. So feelings of weakness and lightheadedness come to me naturally. There’s a vacancy in me that is connected to my dreams.
Interieurs
Zoals een ander naar de slijter loopt om zich te bezatten, zo loop ik wel naar het venduehuis of de veiling of naar de antiquair om me visueel te bezatten. Zo zou je het eigenlijk best kunnen noemen ja. Je bezat je d'r an. Het heeft daarbij nog het voordeel dat dat bezatten langer duren kan dan die slok die je naar binnen werkt. Maar wat het verwerven van die dagelijks weerkerende pret betreft kan me dat dan wel eens zo ontzettend bezig houden dat ik er helemaal high van word.
Time Warp
A cinematic report on the processes of growth and change taking place on W.G. Witteveenplein in Rotterdam. Each film begins with the construction of the park in early 2003 and shows the various changes that have taken place so far. The films are supplemented four times a year with new material. This will result in five twelve-minute films in 2023.
Verzameling Verzamelingen
De burgemeester had met de mooie stukken uit de collectie van de Van Sytzamastichting zijn kamer ingericht, maar de rest van het cultuurgoed voerde een verloren strijd tegen het dagelijks leven. Stenen beelden stonden zonder sokkel op de gang en werden gebruikt om de deuren open te houden. 18e-eeuwse miniatuurtjes hingen op een paar verloren spijkers naast een groepsfoto van de brandweer.
Tekeningen 1995 - 1997
Met een zweepje onder z'n oksels geklemd 'berijdt' een naakte man een op z'n kop staand paard. Terwijl hij met z'n anus over de paardenlul glijdt, perst een eveneens naakte vrouw zich met moeite in het poepgat van het rijdier. Om haar daad kracht bij te zetten, duwt ze met haar hand tegen een denkbeeldige muur - een muur die tevens de kadrering vormt van het op papier getekende seksspelletje. (Nathalie Faber - Het Parool 3-2-1998)
Me and Susan
I’ve always thought of photography as something very magical and it is my belief that this is based on a genuine experience: in my early childhood there must have been no sharp distinction between a real thing and its image. In the same way that kids see themselves as inseparable from their mother until the age of three, I thought that object and image were simply two different manifestations of the same energy.
Miscellaneous
This is a selection of older works, dating roughly from 1990 until now. It's a reservoir of lose ends. Part of my practice is to go back in time, and re-evaluate previous motives and actions. Therefore, a lot of my works have an unfinished, ambiguous nature. Either they have lost their momentum after they were exhibited, or were never shown outside of my studio, or are just waiting for completion in another context.
Auntie Truus and Auntie Mok
With utmost concentration I tried to capture the atmosphere in the photos as closely as possible, but again and again I would screw up somewhere halfway. Either the balance in shading wasn’t right, or I couldn’t get the expressions right on their faces. When I finally managed to give Auntie Truus the right expression, I reached the point where I had a physical sensation of being on that lawn on Texel again on that day in 1969, asking Auntie Truus and Auntie Mok to pose for me. At that very moment, reality as such was redefined as an object for exhibition.
Unframed drawing
In later years, after being trained as a visual artist, I got interested in the differences and parallels between drawing and photography. When I redrew a photograph of a young boy looking at a horizontal piece of paper, I re-experienced something of that primitive power of the image: the boy and I coincided and somewhere inbetween, reality as such was redefined as an object for exhibition.