Arnoud Holleman
Amsterdam, Wednesday July 26, 2017
Immovably Centred
Immovably Centred is a cross-over production that integrates theatre and visual art, by writer and artist Arnoud Holleman (NL, 1964) in collaboration with Mugmetdegoudentand theatre company. An exhibition in de Appel is combined with a series of live performances featuring different actors and artists. Registrations of these performances will be incorporated into a video installation running continuously at the de Appel gallery from 1 - 22 June 2008.

Video software and technical support: Geert Jan van Ouwendorp.

The title of this text derives from the inscription used by Rainer Maria Rilke in his lyrical biography of Auguste Rodin of 1902: ‘The hero is he who is immovably centred.’ In Immovably Centred Rilke is quoted or paraphrased a number of times. For this we have made use of the German publication AUGUSTE RODIN von RAINER MARIA RILKE – Leipzig: Insel Verlag, 1913 and the Dutch translation by Philip van der Eijk and Willem Bierman – SUN, Nijmegen 1990.


Performances by Axel Rüger and Maureen Teeuwen.
immcen_5.jpg
immcen_4.jpg

Live registration Marcel Musters and Debbie Korper

Installation view
immcen_1.jpg
immcen_2.jpg

Cover article by Edzard Mik. NRC Cultural Supplement of june 13, 2008.
supplement_1.jpg
supplement_2.jpg



[Nederlandse versie]

Full text:

(A woman and a man onstage.)

Woman:
Well, a fine state. The sum of conversation on earth turned out to be endless, but what do we end up with? Nada. 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.

And oh, aren’t you so terribly unhappy. If you could still cry, that is.

Do you really think it makes a jot of difference, one masterpiece more or less in the world? I don’t think so. But you do, don’t you. Your whole life given to humanity. And it doesn’t give a damn.

Incessantly squirreling away information like some worker ant, making connections, giving meaning. Creating images, for the sake of some idiotic ambition. You will and you must bring that first man to life. Conjure, create, realise, fulfil, mould your material from nothing into something.

Play God. That’s it. Like you’re God himself.
But an atom bomb lies between Rodin and you.

Well anyway, if you can’t get your material sorted out, I will. According to my own vision. Actually, I’ve been wondering why you’ve worked of your own free will all these years on what’s ultimately going to be your downfall. Which you know well enough yourself. Can’t you see that your career’s not going well, that you have to earn your bread in anonymity. But what else can you do, you think.

You’re an artist, you create art, you think. That’s the choice you made. Every day you go to your studio and you create. Because it’s important. That you make things, draw, paint, model, chisel, photograph, film, edit. And when the visuals won’t float, you write it down. You piously announce at breakfast how we live in an age in which the pure image is no longer the extreme frontier of modern art. How it’s all about reflection now. Research. Well it looks like you didn’t hear the alarm, did you. You act as if writing’s some visionary move to drag the whole of the visual arts on to the next plan, riding the coattails of your own ‘fascinating development’; if only it was. But you’re not that innovative. At best trend sensitive. You surf along on the zeitgeist. You sniff around what others have already pondered infinitely more deeply and you call that thinking outside the box.

What self-delusion.
And the world just keeps waiting.
Not to talk about me.

And on the days when there’s no ink in your pot either, you tidy up. If you can’t manage real creation you can always create the conditions. You say. So you’ll be ready when God’s service hatch swings open. But in all these years I’ve seen you busy in your studio, I haven’t seen anything but an endless stream of the same little notions running through your head, and the same stuff passing through your hands, in a space that’s barely six by six. That stream of stuff driven up by what, if you look closely, is a stagnant idea that you have to ‘do something’ with it all.

To create something from nothing. And your thinking is more a thinking that precedes thinking. You think. You follow your intuition, you say.

Cup of coffee while you’re at it.
I can’t take it any more.

Thinking preceding thinking? I think it’d be braver to admit that your mood in those moments of alleged personal insight is vegetative. Because you don’t draw the consequences. Your work is one great, artistically-reconstructed survival strategy. Your philosophies are no more than Wikipedia drivel about the unconscious steps you’ve taken in your life.

I’ve heard you, you know, mumbling away when you’re working. When I tiptoe through the studio to the balcony with the wash basket so as not to disturb you. You’re just trying to get your courage up.

That’s the way it has to be. See. Just so. Do you see? Good. You can do it. That’s what you keep telling yourself.

Your voiceover glues it all together. And usually the voiceover is calm and solemn, as though it were some worthy nature documentary about deer in the forest. But the more you need self-confirmation, the more that voice morphs into an excitable sports reporter’s. A hysterical commentator giving your actions the automatic allure of an historical event: Yes ladies and gentlemen, he’s taking something from the pile in front of him, what is it, it’s a photo, it’s a photo of himself and he’s taking the scissors and it isn’t a question of whether he’ll snip but where he’ll snip and when, and now the scissors are slicing through the paper and finally he cuts himself in half and he’s done it! Right across the full length of his face!! Truly phenomenal!!! What a moment and a poignant example of craftsmanship and a delight to have witnessed ladies and gentlemen!!!!

It makes no difference if you’re creating something or playing patience. Without a clear, guiding theme, you tell yourself, and me, and everyone else, year after year, that you’re a Homo Ludens, a human of the playful genus. Go ahead, do what you like, the meaning will come later. You dare not demand a vision, you say. You flow and so your work flows. And like that you’ll create the first man in your own image. Your masterpiece will be fluid.

In that way your work’s a skid mark from your good intentions. Sometimes they turn out well and sometimes they don’t. And you console yourself by saying that ultimately, in the very, very long term, probably long after your death, your struggles will give birth to a perfect coherent oeuvre. And at that moment it’ll dawn upon the man in the street that the saviour was among us all the time and we didn’t even recognise him.

At least that’s the fairytale you cling to like a life raft, because the reality is that a pitifully small amount of your work manages to find its way out into the world. Your talent is not fortified by that other necessary skill, to be able to inspire complicity in others. Your work exists, among millions of works of art by tens of thousands of artists. And that just about says it all. You know that well enough yourself. Too damned well. If it’s a cog in the greater network of museum directors, gallery owners, curators and journalists, then it is a very tiny one.

You wave to them all at other people’s openings. And they wave back, but they don’t call. They never call. If we go to a film you can safely leave your mobile on with no worries.

That’s how it’s been for years, but only now and then do you catch yourself in a vague realisation that it’s probably going to be like that for years to come. Only rarely do you dare ask yourself if you could still surprise yourself, but before you can answer you’ve already switched back to your stand-by mode: denial.

I don’t think, I know for certain, you’ll never surprise yourself. I think that when you’re exposed to particular circumstances for too long, then psychological mechanisms come into play; they become a working component of your personal morality, a survival tactic. And definitely when they disguise themselves as the artist’s ‘positive values’, as with you. That’s the way you conceal from yourself and others how the noble struggle for the sublime is just a delusion of grandeur that stems from a commonplace struggle for survival. Which is why change is so difficult, for who could ever object to the high temper of the arts?

That being said we’ve got to the point when you’ve got to accept that your delusions and your persistent sense of sin, futility and guilt are only the survival tactics of a man in a permanent state of siege. You have to hold on to the idea that you can exercise control over your life. After all, if you accept that your life is not determined by you, but by others or by circumstances, then you’d have to cash in your mental chips. But, does it all make any difference? Even if you accepted that you don’t want to face reality, you’d never really let the significance of that penetrate your mind: all you’re doing is re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. Because otherwise you’d have to accept that your life, as you’ve lived it up till now, is founded on delusion, which over the years has not manifested itself in the world as reality. You can’t turn back, but you can’t go forwards either. Walled-in.

If you’d been a ballerina, you’d have been the one who tiptoed around. Falling on your face would have been part of life then.

Girly, if ya fall, alwis make the best uff it.

The only thing you can still do is decide to raise the survival tactic that’s held you in its grip for so many years, and swings from megalomania to a total sense of failure, into the theme of your work. That’s the only ‘something’ you really still need to ‘do’ to ‘make’ something of ‘it’. Use your defect. Alwis make the best uff it. But if that has any meaning outside of yourself and the walls of your studio, whether you’ve been chosen as well as called, doesn’t mean a shit to me.

It’s all fine as far as I’m concerned, as long as you don’t stick it under my nose.
Your dinner’s in the cookbook.

(Woman exits. Man sits quiet. Woman enters again.)

Woman:
I’m not pedantic. That’s just the way it is.

The starting idea was simply no good. Adam, the first man, immortalized from the moment that God blows consciousness up his nose. Who wants to hear about that these days?

But oh no, Michelangelo did it. Rodin copied him and now you’re copying Rodin. You wouldn’t do it for any less. But different, of course, special, in a class of its own, like hey...take the zeitgeist by the short and curlies.

Well, if the Zeitgeist is impotent, you’ve taken it by the scruff of the neck. Have Rodin’s Adam speak, through an actor, as though a living statue. How contemporary. Like on a city square, but in a museum. Simple comme bonjour.

And that Adam just keeps talking. In the form of words spilling out of his mouth. To emphasise the live moment. A man, but hollow inside. 300 kilos of bronze, but with feeling. And in that emptiness, a consciousness like an archive, a Wunderkammer, or miracle room, a database. For an hour and a half, dishing out pretty words about everything Adam feels, about everything that runs through that hollow self.

Ambitious, for someone who says he dares to have no vision.
A kliko bin full of odd rags that are oh so interesting, but lack direction.
If that isn’t a self-portrait.
You just aren’t on top of your material.

Man:
God damn it.

Woman:
Precisely. That’s how far you’ve come. Adam says God damn it, but is stuck in his first sound broadcast. One word, the rest apple D. Such a mountain of research, but no personage to hang it all on. No drama, no psychological development. Zero.

And to conceal that, layer upon layer upon layer. One amusing observation after the other.

... If they start to whine at me I know the weekend’s on the way.
... Not to mention pigeons shitting on my head.

Onions have layers! You should have made it inevitable. If only Adam had had that apple tree chopped down. If you know in advance that you aren’t allowed to eat the apple because it’s hung on the tree of good and evil, surely you must already know the difference between good and evil? De-mystify the business. At least then you’ve got something to perform as an actor, to rebel against, like the real Adam rebelled against his creator.

And anyway it wasn’t an apple tree, it was a pomegranate tree. A stupid mis-translation.

But oh no, it had to be high-minded, refined. It had to be art. We wouldn’t do it for less. Not bronze in your hands, but gold.

(She shows her ring-less fingers.)

The only gold in this house has been down at the pawnshop for months.

If that’s consciousness, you’d be better off talking for two minutes on Memorial Day and then shut up for the rest of the year.

(She’s quiet for a while.)

I’ll tell you. Everything.
Suppose fame is the sum of all of the misunderstandings that accumulate around a new name; is the absence of fame then founded on more or less misunderstanding?


Man:
I uh...

Woman:
You’re fourteen, so your mother’s fifty-three. When your mother was thirty and still single, she went on holiday on a scooter, to the Rivièra. Wonderful! Savoir vivre! On the way back she stays over in Paris and visits the Musée Rodin. She buys a ticket, ups-a-daisy, in she goes, opens the door, and is profoundly struck by the master whose reputation was then being re-cast into the sort of immortality that we know these days as branding: when the name’s more important than what’s hanging on the peg. What Rodin’s work really brought about inside your mother we can’t say, she doesn’t have any artistic aspirations of her own, and she doesn’t keep a diary, but we do know that she buys two books in the museum shop to the left of the entrance, which she stuffs between her camping gear on her scooter and takes back with her to The Hague, which she probably leafs through a couple more times, then she places them in the bookcase and gradually forgets about them. The years pass and the books are only taken off the shelf whenever she moves house. She finds a husband. Your father. They marry. Fourteen years after your birth, the two books from Paris have finally reached the bottom shelf of a bookcase deep in the provinces. Where they are found by you on a Sunday afternoon.

Because what else did you do when you were fourteen? You just lay around on the floor mostly. The hormones screaming through your body and you literally didn’t know what position to adopt. Not with yourself, not with the world and definitely not with the life that was meant to bind these two together. That’s why you lay there, on the floor, preferably on long, tedious Sunday afternoons. Feeling the cold tiles through your clothes.

And when your mother screams from the kitchen In God’s name do something! it sounds like a voice coming from far, far away. At that moment she can’t suspect that you’re on the point of doing something – and in God’s name too – which will determine the rest of your life.

Your eyes glide along the spines of the books, item by item, behind which lurk unknown, threatening worlds, because they’re unfamiliar to you, except of course The Goblin by Rien Poortvliet. This time you pass by its striking red spine and halt at the two books your mother once thought worth the trouble of bringing back on her scooter from Paris to The Hague. You take them out of the bookcase and look at them. The spines are faded, the bindings unbroken. You take the largest book first. Rodin is written there. You know him. And you know the photo on the cover too. In the city where you go to school there’s a statue at the entrance to the museum: Balzac. No idea who that is. How would you know? How would you know that Rodin’s fingers never touched this Balzac? You still don’t know a thing. You’re lying on the floor, you’re fourteen, late with everything, still haven’t had your first orgasm and for the time being you’re impressed only by the theatrical pathos in Balzac’s pose, the writer of La Comedie Humaine, which you’ve also never heard of, but without realising it, you are already part of it. And how!

The book of photos you’re thumbing through is from the 1950s. Rodin’s sculptures have been depicted in black and white and, in the fashion of the time, the contrast between light and dark is sharply accentuated. Theatrical light, whereby the existential distress of the posture is even more powerfully evoked. The sculptures all appear as though falling, unable to free themselves from gravity. Just like you, lying there on the ground, in savàsana – dead body posture – but there’s no yoga instructor in the neighbourhood to tell you that. You think the photos beautiful and you love Rodin.

The other book is less clear. The cover is uniformly dark blue and on the black spine in dulled gold letters is written: Rainer Maria Rilke ~ Rodin. You know the latter, but who’s the former? Again no idea. Is it a man? Then why’s there a girl’s name in the middle? Or is it three people, Rainer, Maria and Rilke, writing about Rodin? Are they Rodin’s three children? You don’t understand. When you open the book there’s nothing in it but text. In German. You can’t speak German. Haven’t done it at school yet. Not until next year. If you hadn’t taken it from the bookcase together with the Rodin photo book you’d never have opened it, but now that you’re looking at the two of them together, you’re curious about what it says. Perhaps not so much what’s written there, but whether you’ll be able to understand the German.

On the flyleaf there are two inscriptions, one of which is in English: The Hero is he who is immovably centred.

Of the eight words, you understand seven. Even lying motionless on the floor, immovably is the one word you don’t understand. The second inscription is in German. Your eyes read: Die Schriftsteller wirken durch Worte... die Bildhauer aber durch Taten... Of the ten words, you understand one: Bildhauer. Sculptor. The word resonates with the images in the other book, which is still lying open on the tiles beside you. Sculptures. It’s a hop, skip and a jump from your own hobby, carpentry; DIY with junk materials, making Muppets from foam rubber and papier maché. You even like women’s work, like crocheting and knitting. But what the nature of this creativity is, you have no idea.

Alwis make the best uff it. From nothing to something. The fact that you can also explain that negatively is going to remain concealed from you for years.

The significance of the inscription, the fact that words and images are two entirely different areas, escapes you. You turn over the page and begin to read. Out loud, phonetically. In amazement you hear German words suddenly emerging from your mouth: Rodin war einsam vor seinem Ruhm. Und der Ruhm, der kam, hat ihn vielleicht noch einsamer gemacht. Denn Ruhm ist schließlich nur den Inbegriff aller Mißverständnisse, die sich um einen neuen Namen sammeln.

The sounds are there. The meaning comes only slowly, like a mongol bringing up the rear of a parade. But understanding the meaning is only celebrated at linguistic level: German is really quite easy!

The true meaning, the relation between Rilke’s words and Rodin’s life, which they sum up, escapes you. What happens afterwards is a-theatrical, for what does happen: absolutely nothing. You lie in front of the bookcase on the floor and put the two books back in their place. You leafed through them out of boredom and in apparently equal boredom put them back.

Nevertheless, what happens during this action is that you completely identify with Rodin, whose work and life and fame are the opposite of the lethargy that you find yourself in at that present moment. Rodin, that’s me – you think. And if I’m not him I want to become him. I want to be him. He becomes your example. And that’s not just because of the photo book with reproductions of his Deeds, but more because of Rilke’s Worte about Rodin. Even though the German keeps the literal meaning from you, you understand better the devotion in the book: written out of boundless adoration for the genius Rodin. A genius not so much confirmed by the work, but by the way Rodin is glorified by Rilke.

If Rilke had written about football, you’d have become a footballer.

You liked the sound of such Ruhm, or fame, because einsam, lonely, you were already that. And even though you couldn’t literally understand Rilke’s voice, by reading it, the voice began to resonate with a mood below the level of language. Ultimately to fuse. This was your second voice, which was opening its mouth for the very first time.

That moment on the floor by the lower shelf of the bookcase was the moment that consciousness was breathed into you.

It’s just that you didn’t jump and skip, scanning everything about you, seeing everything in its true form for the first time, whooping Eureka and understanding what you had to do with your life. The great clocks of the monastery deep inside you were motionless and quiet. Your second voice was working on you at a frequency that you couldn’t hear with your ears. You just lay where you were.

But from that moment you were divided. No longer alone. Because I was there too. If no one saw how exceptional you were, then I would tell you.

From that moment on the floor I juggled with the first, second and third person singular to artificially compensate for your lack of self-esteem. Permanently. You’d get up in the morning, I’d say: How exceptional, he’s getting up now. Will he create? You feel unappreciated because of the absence of compliments and confirmation from others, but I say: wait till you’re famous, your time will come. I’m a translation machine. While you’re astonished by the German sounds spilling from your mouth, I’ve already filed away the first three of Rilke’s sentences as follows: I was lonely before I became famous. And the fame that came to me made me lonelier still. For fame is the sum of all of the misunderstandings that accumulate around a new name.

And the new name is you.

Your course is settled. You’ll become famous. You’ll do something, in God’s name. But you’re not famous yet. For the time being you’re a stranger in your own life. A tourist who destroys the authentic in every situation by his mere presence. Your drama is that the words you live by were written for someone else. You only have them on loan, but you believe in them as though Rilke is concerned personally with you, there on the tiled floor by the bottom shelf, and will raise you up to immortality.

You own the statement, but it’s not yours.

Rather than being something that opens and allows creativity to bloom, a world is actually closed to you. The world. That moment on the floor is the moment that you close yourself off from the outside world. Thanks to Rilke. But as long as you’re not conscious of that your life is in the service of that misunderstanding. You go to the arts academy, old style. You submit yourself to five years of outmoded education. Your second voice drags you through it.

He can do it folks. Here’s a task as great as the world and he has to face it alone. He feels called, while for now he’s no more than some unknown who has to earn his fame, working hard in anonymity. A conviction, anchored deep in inner peace, guides his way. His limitless patience reveals his great talent and profound connection to nature – which stretches so much further than the boundaries of his name or body – like the infinite patience and great good in nature itself that begins in winter’s nothingness and from there proceeds to the superabundance of summer.

And meanwhile you couldn’t punch your way out of a wet paper bag.

The sum of all misunderstandings remains. The second voice doesn’t exist outside you, and what it says, absolutely not at all. God damn it, how sad. What the breakfast table isn’t good for; or drinks before dinner for that matter. I’ve had to listen to them until we’re between the sheets, those daily monologues.

God damn it. I’m humanity too, aren’t I? But oh no, that’s when reality gets a little too close. You won’t get that blind spot out at sixty degrees. What more am I, the one who’s closest to you, than a guest who just won’t leave?

You can say a whole lot about it, and whether genius or not, the best thing about God and Rilke and Rodin is that they’re finished. Frightened men. Demodé. Passé. Fini. No longer happening.

Now just you.

If you’re contemplating suicide, I shan’t be at your funeral.

(Woman exits, man stares out ahead.)
Curtain.

text by Arnoud Holleman
translated from Dutch by Paul Evans

Immovably Centred is supported financially by Fonds BKVB, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Platform Theaterauteurs and Lectoraat Beeldende Kunst Avans Hogeschool AKV/St Joost.

Melanchotopia
From large-scale interventions to very simple gestures, Melanchotopia supports a range of artistic practices that go beyond the classical approach to displaying art in public space. Working with the existing dynamics of the city, Witte de With’s intention is to bring forward the diverse layers of daily life in Rotterdam, creating a rich framework for subjective encounters. It is an exhibition about the reality of Rotterdam.
Niet-weten als norm
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
'De Sprookjes van A.E.J. 't Mannetje' van Arjan Ederveen, met tekeningen van Arnoud Holleman, werd in opdracht van Uitgeverij De Harmonie te Amsterdam gedrukt door Drukkerij Hooiberg te Epe. Het bindwerk werd verzorgd door boekbinderij EMBE te Meppel. Grafische vormgeving: Anne Lammers, Amsterdam. ISBN 9061695872. Eerste druk oktober 1999. De Sprookjes werden door de VPRO-tv uitgezonden in het seizoen 1998-1999.
Provisional Space
ROMA Publications presents: Provisional Space - Nickel van Duijvenboden, Kees Goudzwaard, Arnoud Holleman, Rob Johannesma, Irene Kopelman, Jan Kempenaers, Mark Manders, Batia Suter, and Roger Willems. Curated by Mark Manders and Roger Willems. February 11 - April 7, 2012. Opening reception, Saturday, February 11th, from 6pm to 10pm, with a talk by Arnoud Holleman at 8pm. Castillo/Corrales, 80 rue Julien Lacroix, 75020 Paris.
In memoriam Krijn Giezen
De niche die hij voor zichzelf creëerde getuigt van een haat/liefde verhouding tot de kunst en dat zie je terug in het werk. Kunst geeft vrijheid, maar ze is ook overgecodeerd. Via een omweg sluit ze de geest evenzogoed weer op, in regels die even kafkaësk en beperkend kunnen zijn als de verregaande arboficatie van de firma Nederland, waar hij als landschapskunstenaar voortdurend mee te maken had.
De Burgers van Seoul
Een betere verbeelding van hoe kunst aan macht en geld gelieerd is – en gecorrumpeerd kan raken – heb ik niet eerder zo gezien. Met de glaswand die me van hen scheidt hebben de Burgers van Calais een nieuwe huid gekregen. Het heeft weinig meer te maken met de gevoelige expressie in de beeldtaal van Rodin, of met de innovatieve kracht waarmee hij de beeldhouwkunst in de moderniteit heeft binnengehaald.
Valéry Proust Museum
Curator Camiel van Winkel has taken German philosopher Th.W. Adorno’s 1953 essay ‘Valéry Proust Museum’ as the point of departure. The exhibition is not a regular group show, but an environment composed of selected works by a range of artists from different periods. Avoiding art historical and thematic selection criteria, the exhibition is based on the idea of the inevitable disappearance of the work of art in the empty spaces of the museum.
De Wilhelminasteen
De geschiedenis van de Wilhelminasteen begint op 30 mei 1891 als de dan 10-jarige Koningin Wilhelmina en Koningin-moeder Emma een bezoek brengen aan Rotterdam. Om de gebeurtenis luister bij te zetten varen er honderden bootjes op de Maas en brengen 3000 schoolkinderen een aubade. De kersverse kleine Koningin zal haar naam verlenen aan de Wilhelminakade en de handeling die daarbij hoort is een steenlegging.
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
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.
Homage
Since 2008 there has been a lively dialogue in the museum between old masters and present-day artists. Arnoud Holleman (Haarlem, 1964) is taking this a step further. He made a film in the Schutterszaal in which ‘watching’ is key. Frans Hals’s world-famous civic guard works and a selection of sculptures by Mari Andriessen, Han Wezelaar, Charlotte van Pallandt and others create the background for a cast of eighteen actors.
Radio Balzac
De Balzac van Auguste Rodin staat vanaf 1 februari in Het Oog in het van Abbemuseum, als special guest in een installatie van Arnoud Holleman. In deze tijdelijke opstelling draait het beeld langzaam rond. Bezoekers kunnen het beeld van alle kanten bekijken en de 19e eeuwse schrijver kijkt ondertussen rond, naar onze tijd. Via een online radiozender – Radio Balzac – worden meningen, discussies en andere inzichten over het beeld verzameld en uitgezonden.
Roosegaarde en Rodin
Zoon van de romantiek. Vader van het modernisme. Grootvader van het postmodernisme. Overgrootvader van de beeldvorming. De mythe van Rodin is er sterk genoeg voor. Hoe het Roosegaarde zal vergaan hangt na College Tour vooral van hemzelf af. Roosegaarde maakt zich in heleboel opzichten los van de kunst, maar aan één ding blijft hij vasthouden: een persoonsgebonden kunstenaarschap. Dat wringt.
Temporary Stedelijk 2
The Stedelijk Museum proudly announces the gift of 63 artworks from Dutch collector Maurice van Valen. Beginning May 10, 2011, a selection of works will be presented at the Stedelijk Museum during Temporary Stedelijk 2, as part of the ground floor installation. The Van Valen gift is notable for how it complements and builds upon the representation of several artists in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum.
Passie en Ruimte
Geer was in deze klimaatverandering een ideale docent om je tegen af te zetten. Hij was onverzettelijk, op het romantische af. Kwam het lokaal binnen, ging staan als de Balzac van Rodin en poneerde dan iets waarvan vooral de stelligheid me bijbleef. Zijn stijlopvattingen werden niet de mijne, maar het was glashelder waar hij voor stond. Ik studeerde af. Geer bleef als klassiek docent verbonden aan de KABK-nieuwe stijl.
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.
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."
On ne touche pas
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 in this lecture, with the help of my 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.
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.