Arnoud Holleman
Amsterdam, Thursday October 19, 2017
Wij / We
Curatorial project.

‘Wij / We’ opened on Saturday 22 December 2001 at the Rijksmuseum Twenthe in Enschede and at the Kunstvereniging Diepenheim. The exhibitions investigated which forces play a part in the desire for a region-specific identity in the Dutch region of Twente.

Participating artists:
Hans Aarsman, Michel ter Denge, Lars Eijssen, Arnoud Holleman, Jan Jans, Piet Mondriaan, Cas Oorthuys, Jan Rothuizen, August Sander, Kathrin Schlegel, Marijke van Warmerdam

During the research for the exhibition I spoke with a large group of individuals who were in some way involved in Twente’s culture, either professionally, or through their background. This resulted in an ‘ongoing monologue’ that was republished in 2004 as an autonomous insert in Open #7 - (No) Memory. (see below)


Installation view Kunstvereniging Diepenheim.
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Installation view Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede.
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Autonomous insert in Open #7 - (No) Memory, 2004.
Graphic design in collaboration with Lonnie van Brummelen.
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Polaroid - multiple
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Full text of 'We':

1 We.

2 We are.

3 We have arrived in the era in which we ourselves live.

4 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.

5 We live in Twente.

6 We have been here, century in, century out.

7 We lived in the kitchen, counted the money in the backroom, kept yellowed papers in the walnut cabinet and saw the familiar old landscape when we looked out through the panes of the high windows. The farmhouse stood there with its side facing the road, a brick-paved lane. No one could pass by without being observed and discussed at the dinner table. The family around the table was seated on rush-seated chairs, leaning forward slightly since the front chair legs were worn down from having been pulled over the fire-hardened tiles that for generations had been sprinkled with white scouring sand. The evenings were short, but long due to the paucity of words spoken.

8 We keep our coffee cups in the kitchen drawer.

9 Although new generations replaced the old and names and faces and ideas all changed, the farmhouse remained forever the same. Old, hunched, and curving under a protective thatched roof, with tiny windows like smiling eyes. Stacked above the recessed entrance to the barn, the onderschoer, were the oak boards from which the coffins for the farm’s inhabitants would be made. Whoever went inside through the doors of the onderschoer had to bend forwards and would thus make a gesture of greeting that was deeply respected. Death was part of life. As t oew tied is, mu j goan. Doar doo j niks an (If it’s your time, you have to go. There’s nothing you can do about it). That’s what life was like.

10 You don’t need to tell us about the lamp above the table.

11 Poj, poj.

12 Joa is yes.
Joa joa is no.
Nao joa is maybe.

13 Following the success of the past few years, it is with great pleasure that we inform you about our midwinter-horn evenings. Together with the midwinter-horn blowers we are once again organising this enjoyable midwinter event. In the darkest weeks of winter everyone has a need for light, good cheer and tasty food. In good weather, the horn blowers will receive you on the bridge by the watermill with a glass of homebrewed firewater. Afterwards we will serve you a fixed menu of homemade farm-style pâté with candied pearl onions and raisins, leg of rabbit smothered in Trappist beer served with red cabbage and mashed potatoes, and a mousse of mocha with mocha parfait. The midwinter-horn evenings will take place on 7, 14 and 28 December at 7 p.m. The fixed menu costs 50 euros, including the aperitif.

14 We don’t do Halloween.

15 We have completely decorated our café for Halloween. There are plastic rats biting each other’s tails on the bar; frames with monsters creeping out are hanging on the wall; branches with dry leaves are hanging from the ceiling, and there is a toilet against the wall with a blinking lamp, a skull, snakes and a fake turd, all of which we bought at the wholesaler’s. So we’re all set.

16 In Twente there is a strong desire to make things more Twentish than they are. These days we are building more houses with a wooden voorschot than were ever built in the previous century. Those gable tops are made with unplaned timber, so you can still recognize the form of the tree. And then they are all given a coat of clear varnish, because it is oak and the neighbours need to be able to see that it is oak.

17 A hundred years ago, we would have scratched our heads a dozen times before we would have put clear varnish on anything, due to the maintenance involved.

18 We have replaced the small windows with larger ones. The outside walls have been plastered white and we have built a sauna in the vegetable garden. The sauna was finished even before our kitchen was.

19 The farms now lie like lepers throughout our countryside. In renovations lasting only a few weeks we have spoiled what the centuries had invested in beauty.

20 Yes indeed, we are an industrious people.

21 When we visit Münster and Ahaus, just across the border in Germany, with their intimate monumentality and harmonious town squares that rival the beauty of Bruges, we realise with regret that we no longer enjoy such admiration in Twenthe.

22 We have always tackled everything.

23 The farm where my family had lived for centuries has been torn down, and in its place, we built a Saxon-style house.

24 We refer to that as the ‘made-old’ category, where the new house looks older than the old house, raised from neo-styles. This process can also happen in regional languages or regional customs.

25 You have to look at it as a bit of recreation and relaxation. If the weather is okay, we hike the midwinter-horn route with friends. It is fun to see and hear all the different horns. Some are as long as one and a half metres. We walk, we listen and we watch that ancient custom. We have a drink, or once in a while someone will make split-pea soup. It takes place in traditional costumes but you shouldn’t expect too much of that. The costume for men is rather cheerless. They wear a kind of cap that you would never see in Amsterdam. The women stand beside them, wearing a goffered bonnet or knipmuts. But they don’t blow the horns.

26 With regard to blowing the midwinter-horn, to vlöggelen, to klootschieten and to katknijpen, it is only of vlöggelen—the annual Easter processions of eight unmarried Catholic men through the town of Ootmarsum—that we can say that it derives from a tradition that goes way back. Klootschieten, a game with weighted wooden balls, and katknijpen, where you throw sticks at a barrel containing a cat until the barrel bursts and the cat runs off in terror, as well as the blowing of the midwinter-horn, were revived by the local tourist promotion board. All three stem from the same era in which a few Shrovetide customs were transformed in Brabant into the ‘age-old’ Carnival. In Twente, those customs were all described in the early twentieth century by people like Elderink and Ter Kuile, writers who highly idealised Twentish life.

27 With all the changes that are taking place, we feel the need to record something of the past and of those things that are so characteristic of the people of this region. In doing so, we hope to preserve the memory of the old population, its customs and aristocratic simplicity. Our way of life was sober and modest, due in part to the largely infertile soil here. Great stretches of heath, on which the shepherd drove his sheep, characterise the landscape of our countryside. Perseverance, hard work, a tremendous reserve but also a steadfast loyalty were the characteristics of our population.

28 A hundred years ago, weaving by hand was still practiced in many farmers’ homes, and in passing, one could hear the rattling of the loom in the weaving rooms. This sound has faded away, just like we no longer hear the merry sound of flails hitting the mud threshing-floor of the barns.

29 When we read this old stuff these days, it is unreadable. That slaver of ‘Oh, oh, the elderly grandmother is sitting by the blazing hearth and the rest is out working in the fields.’ In reality, it wasn’t so marvellous. The stork had flat feet from overwork, but twelve of the sixteen children drowned in the well. The horrors were utterly denied.

30 Twenthe, our past, our soil conditions, nature and inhabitants differ significantly from the western part of the country, and from Holland in particular. Until recently, our Saxon origin and racial features had left their mark on us as a population, and they continue to do that to a lesser extent today. That is not widely understood, so visitors from outside find it somewhat difficult to project themselves into Twenthe and to adjust to us.

31 When did we take the h out of Twente?

32 We not only have a long history, we also have a long history of historical consciousness about our cultural heritage.

33 In dealing with history, we always find it interesting that people in Twente consider monuments to be tremendously important, as long as they are on someone else’s property. On one’s own property, they are merely seen as junk that’s in the way. Things that are truly old are often nothing but a hindrance, but what people make themselves must be made to seem old. There are more things in Twente that seem old, but that have merely been made to look old, than there are things that are really old, and they are often considered more interesting than the truly old things. We also find this expressed in budgets. More money is invested in reconstructing things that no longer exist than in maintaining things that are still there but in danger of disappearing. More seventeenth-century mills were built in Twente in the twentieth century than had existed there in all preceding centuries combined.

34 We wonder what the specific character of Twente is, or what her salient features are, and how that character and those features can play a role in the development of a beckoning future perspective.

35 In the first place, we consider ourselves to be Twentish, and directly after that, Dutch. Twentish is the language of our feelings. When we are emotional, we immediately switch over to our dialect. We can express intimacies better in Twentish. Not only with words, but also in terms of intonation.

36 There are no fewer than seven variations of the word ‘girl’ in Twentish. If one of our children has done something wrong, we say ‘deerne’, since deerne is negative, but if she has fallen, we say ‘wiefje come on over here’, since wiefje is warm.

37 In recent years, there has been a tremendous revaluation for Twentish. It has been officially recognised as a regional dialect and practically the entire bible has already been translated into Twentish, as well as children’s classics like Jip & Janneke, Asterix and Obelix and Suske & Wiske.

38 En hier krieg wie kunnigheid an oonzn heald, den strieder Asterix, den juust gangs wil met ziene leefhebberieje: de jach. (And here we get to know our held, the warrior Asterix, who is about to get back to his hobby: hunting.)


39 Our children are called Celine and Melisse.

40 Our Education teacher said, ‘You must disguise your accent or you won’t get a job’, so we began practicing standard Dutch by means of a tape recorder. We forgot that the voice is the most characteristic thing about ourselves that we have. We forgot that all of the great textile barons like the Van Heeks and the Janninks all spoke in dialect. The announcements at church were done in Twentish as well. We have forgotten all that.

41 There are six different ways of writing the word ‘church’ in our Twentish dialect: kaark, kerk, keark, koarke, kark, koaike.

42 Until 1200 there wasn’t a single church building in our parts. Back in the days when Twente was inhabited by the Saxons, our ancestors were heathens. The spiritual realm was limited to explanations for natural phenomena like thunder and lightning, with Wodan serving as a sort of supreme deity.

43 The church is not doing so well in Twente these days. And yet the church is still alive. What is more: despite the slump, we are still doing considerably better than the rest of the Netherlands. And there are but few regions in the Netherlands where the menu of faiths and philosophies of life reveals so many different variations as we have in Twente.

44 We worked in Almelo at the Nijverdal ten Cate textile factory. We went to the Head of Personnel in those days, a Mr Slettenhaar, to ask if he could help us with the expansion of our small prayer space in our living quarters. Mr Slettenhaar was a man of action and got the company’s architect involved and thus was born the idea of building a real mosque. On 27 January 1975, the Netherlands’ first new Muslim house of prayer was brought into use here in Almelo.

45 It was in our city of Enschede that the greatest number of Jews returned after the War. More than half—in fact 53%—of its Jewish citizens survived the War. Even before the War, we already had a refugee council, because all those German Jews who came across the border needed to apply for asylum. Later, when the War broke out, there was that large Jewish Council in Amsterdam. Sieg Menko, the textile manufacturer, went there, and when he came back, he said to his wife: ‘They’ll never see me again. We are going to do things differently here.’ We started hiding people much earlier. They had a kind of scheme. No one knew exactly what the other did, but they had a friend at the police department and he would say if a raid was about to happen. And the minister from the local church would see to it that there were addresses where people could hide. We also have one of the most beautiful synagogues in the Netherlands.

46 Our home is open to everyone.

47 We know of a minister who had helped Jews during the War but who later defended those who had been in the Dutch Nazi Party.

48 We were Protestant and my mother had a Catholic friend whose name we were not allowed to mention inside the house.

49 In Enschede, we speak of Hengeler weend, meaning ‘hot air from Hengelo’, since they are real posers over there. They are not the way they seem. They go to work in a suit, but once in the factory, they simply put on their overalls.

50 It’s too bad for you that you came all the way from Amsterdam, but you better understand that we can’t do anything for you today. You are apparently one of those people who race through grace but want piles of meat. So you better not bother us right now. Please leave immediately, just turn around.

51 We are distrustful of those we don’t know, hardly exuberant in our behaviour, sparing with money and words and fatalistic.

52 We are a bit slow in thought and curt in speech, probably because of our innate character trait that we have difficulty expressing ourselves.

53 We are small and tawny, with big ears and a look of suspicion in our eyes.

54 We always say: ‘Never sit in the front row, that way you won’t fall off.’

55 We danced the Driekusman, the Pierewiet, the Peerdesprong and the Haokseberger.

56 We often use picturesque buildings for our wedding pictures.

57 We cannot avoid generalisations.

58 We have arrived in the era in which we ourselves live.

59 But our romanticizing of the past has already been going on for a hundred years, so that’s something else we can call typically Twentish.

60 We cannot say that the goffered bonnet or knipmuts is typically Twentish. It was worn from Groningen all the way to Brabant. And yet the knipmuts has developed into the head covering most closely associated with the regional dress of Twente.

61 Sometimes it simply depended on the quality of the maker. There is a story of a bonnet maker who could not get the crimp flat. They all stood upright and the women said, ‘We don’t like it that way.’ but they couldn’t do anything about it since there wasn’t any other bonnet maker, and so the entire village went around wearing failed bonnets.

62 Our jewelry could not be compared with what was worn in terms of gold, silver and lace in Zeeland and Friesland. Ours was that very thin kind of gold filigree that you could easily pulverize in your hands. Nor did we ever have large head brooches like the Frisians wore in those fishing villages around the Zuyderzee that were so extremely wealthy, those gigantic gold things they’d even stretch their bonnets over. It has everything to do with geography and with the social circumstances that stem from that. We have sandy soil, and sandy soil is poor soil. The neighbouring region of Salland lies on the other side of the ridges and there you have the rivers, so that is already different.

63 These days we can tell from a woman’s clothing which group she wants to belong to. In the past, we didn’t have that choice. It wasn’t something that people either lied about or toyed with. For mourning, one was to wear black crêpe and black wooden beads. They weren’t allowed to shine. People could tell that you were in mourning from what you were wearing. When we put on our leather bomber jackets today, we look tough, but tomorrow we will be feminine again in our sprightly heels and our cute little jacket-and-skirt combination.

64 In Rijssen they’d even wear the traditional costume in the factories. They used to have six or eight different aprons that women wore depending on their situation: being in deep mourning or in half mourning, being engaged, or whatever else you could think of. That had already disappeared in the rest of Twente. In those days you had a tremendous contrast between the city and the countryside. In the city things had long since disappeared that were still in use twenty kilometres up the road. That distinction arose in part because huge population groups descended at once upon the Twentish industry as a result of the high unemployment rates in the northern provinces. That was a gigantic migration of Frisians, Drentish and Groningers, and nearly all of them were Socialists. As a result, secularisation began much earlier. Enschede has always been a Labour Party city.

65 That the blessing of God, also in the coming period, might rest on all those who live, work and suffer in our town of Rijssen.

66 Working in the factory was nothing to be ashamed of. You had the eldest son, and he always inherited the farm. The rest of the children had to do something, so they naturally went to work in the factory. There was money there, and that meant that we could earn our money in a respectable way.

67 We figured that the textile industry was as solid as the Bank of England. It would never go under. We were wrong. We went on unemployment, thousands of us all at once.

68 We are only just now getting a Bijenkorf. For years, the department store chain had had a wait-and-see attitude, since Enschede had had insufficient purchasing power for such a luxurious store.

69 Just as the rise of the textile industry in the second half of the nineteenth century had had such a devastating effect on the Twentish way of life that had developed over generations, this industry itself was in shambles over a century later. Industry grew because labour was cheap in the east of the Netherlands, but it later went into decline because labour became cheaper in the Far East. In a sense, the east simply moved further east.

70 We were called here regularly and told: ‘All the files are in the rubbish skip. If you are interested, come retrieve them now’, or: ‘We are getting rid of some of the looms, so if you want to have them, pick them up now, because otherwise they will be turned into scrap.’ In that way, in great haste and with few guidelines, a collection came about that we are now still trying to sort out. And as soon as you include all that stuff, the objects all gain the status of a museum piece, which means you can’t simply throw them away again. We have a hundred executive chairs, for example, and we need to ask ourselves if it is worth keeping all of them.

71 What surprises us about the emphasis on the textile industry is that it only concerns a period of a hundred and fifty years, while Twente has a four-thousand-year-old history of habitation. Its inhabitants have all left their traces behind. A good example of such traces are the essen. An es is an elevated field that originated during one of the Ice Ages, and over the course of time, an agricultural foundation grew over that geological basis. We call this the esdek. It not only formed the basis for how the landscape was organised, but also society, land use and land reclamation. And that has been going on for four thousand years already. In the course of those four thousand years, the textile industry is merely a burp of nothing. Other things have come and gone, but since this happens to be quite recent, it gets a lot of emphasis, while it is really nothing at all in a geological timetable. Shark teeth have been found in the ground, which indicates that Twente was once under water. The introduction of such a time scale is very interesting in terms of developing criteria for the future.

72 What we consider to be so beautiful about the Twentish landscape is for the most part no older than two hundred years, but in terms of all the changes that took place back then, the characteristics, the properties of the soil, high, low, water, dry, sand, clay, peat and so on have always formed the starting point for development. You wouldn’t dream of building something in a wet area. Okay, watermills maybe, but nothing else. We used low areas for meadows, while agriculture took place on the higher places. Altitude is therefore incredibly important. Earlier, no one would ever build on top of an es; that simply never happened. But that is different now. We couldn’t care less these days.

73 The Usseler Es near the village of Usselo is the largest es in Europe. It has always been a legendary site in the history of Enschede and Twente. But it is naturally an open space. You only notice an es because you sometimes go down a little hill on your bicycle and sometimes have to pedal your way up. And now the municipality of Enschede is in a tight spot, since the textile barons laid out so very many country estates just outside the city, with what we call ‘nature’ but which is nevertheless essentially also cultivated land. As a result, Enschede is unable to expand, because things were created in its past that we now consider worth saving. The current city boundaries come up against the old country estates, and now everyone is suddenly crying: ‘Nature! Don’t touch it!’ So obviously, if you find ‘nature’ on every side of Enschede and the es is the only open space left, the options will have to be weighed. What is considered more important in society at this moment: culture or ‘nature’? The answer is then: we consider the latter to be more important. That scores higher in the Netherlands, which means the Usseler Es loses as a geological and cultural-historical element is threatened with development. While in fact the natural value of the es is greater than that of the cultivated nature one would rather preserve. The idea of nature is more successful than nature itself. That is a paradox we encounter more often in Twente.

74 All those manors of the textile barons began with a domed tea pavilion. From there, the most beautiful site was sought on which the house could be built. For the immediate vicinity of the house, a landscape architect was brought in, but for the broader area surrounding the house, it was the character of the landscape itself that served as the point of departure. The landscape was often chosen precisely because of that typically Twentish landscape. At the ‘Eekhof’ estate in Enschede, a line of sight was created, starting from the house, along the boundary between two medieval marks, with a stand of oaks, a wooded bank. The member of the Van Heek family who settled there saw those as typical elements of the landscape. Then he also had a patch of heath with a frog pond behind the house, and in front of the house there was a meadow, followed by a small es and then another meadow. And at the end of the line of sight he had the farm ‘De Broeierd’, which has now become a large restaurant where we recently had a delicious meal. So those textile barons had a clear idea of what Twente was, of what was characteristic of the Twentish culture, and they looked for sites where they could bring all those elements together and cultivate them. They also outfitted the museums. The museum Natura Docet in Denekamp is about the history of land reclamation in Twente and was paid for by a Van Heek. Just like the Rijksmuseum Twenthe in Enschede, which not surprisingly happens to have a los hoes in its collection, an old style farmhouse in which the farmers lived together with their cattle. Van Heek bought a los hoes in Losser and had it removed to the grounds of the museum. In other words, so much of what the Twentish now claim to be emphatically Twentish culture was therefore constructed in such a way with money and ideas from the textile barons. They brought about enormous changes, but also had a keen eye for what their industry was destroying. They played a decisive role in the historiography and that is how it has always been. Historiographers like Dingeldein who recorded the history of Twente were largely paid to do so by the textile men. If you have the money, you can write history however you want.

75 We often go on excursions to the Escher industry park in the Ruhrgebiet. It is a good example of an economically motivated project in an attempt to bring employment and new sectors to the area after the steel industry had disappeared. For ten years, it has been quite an intensive project for attracting new economic motors, like the ICT and service sectors, but also solar energy, and they are primarily located in those old, industrial buildings. The starting point was the reuse of old complexes. And in Twente, most of the industrial buildings were demolished before their unique features and qualities could be appreciated.

76 There are two reasons why we have a relatively large number of new buildings in the city centres. First, there was the demolition fever that swept through the entire Netherlands in the 1960s, and secondly, we were bombed quite heavily a couple of times during the War when the Allies thought they were already flying over Germany.

77 In Rijssen, we have advocated the preservation of the Ter Horst jute factories. They used to make burlap sacks, and the tragedy was that they continued to do that even when it was already being done cheaper in the Philippines. There was no chance of even discussing the possibility of keeping that building standing or striving for a new use for it. They demolished what was a beautiful factory with skylights and cast iron columns and built in its place an Albert Heijn supermarket, a market hall with the same amount of space as the hall they had just demolished, but then without the skylights. Supermarkets don’t need skylights; they simply install fluorescent lighting. If Albert Heijn had reused that old factory, they would have had a covered car park to boot, for free. That’s the way we think about it now, but in those days we were crying in the wilderness.

78 The collapse of the textile industry left us with massive unemployment for years. The University of Twente was established, but while that provided work for the highly qualified, it meant little for the average unemployed Twentish person. This, along with the problem of unoccupied homes and the government-funded schemes to purchase the old factory buildings, led to the city of Enschede’s being given the so-called Article 12 status in the 1970s, which meant in effect that it had become bankrupt.

79 We recently had a lady here from Groningen with a thick accent asking: ‘Is this where the firework factory blew up?’ we told her: ‘No, this is urban renewal.’ No one has ever really spent any time thinking about the construction of new buildings. It’s always done for the short term: new construction, demolition, new construction, demolition. It’s one gigantic mess.

80 Time and again we have aldermen who use Enschede as a springboard for positions in the western part of the country. We are just a nice, large municipality that serves as preparation for the real thing in Amsterdam or Utrecht or for a bench in parliament in The Hague.

81 In hindsight, we haven’t done badly. Twente has been quite resilient. Most of us have found work elsewhere and we made a rapid transition to the service industry, the transport sector and new technologies.

82 We are an example of how the social structure of the world is radically changing as a result of the possibilities that information technology offers. An important consequence of this advance is the formation of an economy on a global scale, that is constantly grazing the world bare in search of new opportunities for production and consumption—an economy in which flexible chains of companies and institutions continually change. The links in the chain complement each other, farm out work to each other and, are quick to take leave of each other once again. It is an arrangement in which everything can be made, anywhere in the world.

83 Those smaller and flexible companies are now very practical. If we consider the major developments taking place in the world, our textile industry collapsed at the right moment. In the network society, it would have been a millstone around our collective neck.

84 In the network economy, old regional connections are losing ground to lucrative international alliances. It is a system that has little respect for national boundaries, reputations and traditions and that has a deep impact on the daily life of people. We have a large group of followers of Manuel Castells at the University of Twente. He’s the one who said: ‘In a world of global flows of wealth, power, and images, the search for identity—collective or individual, ascribed or constructed—becomes the fundamental source of social meaning. It’s an irony of how globalized flows on the one hand lead to a redefinition, a reassertion of identity in localities.’

85 We are used to living with a continuous ambivalence about our identity.

86 It seems historically inevitable that we will leave behind the nostalgic notion of a site and identity as essentially bound to the physical actualities of a place. Such a notion, if not ideologically suspect, is at least out of sync with the prevalent description of contemporary life as a network of unanchored flows.

87 We are aware that every view about the past and the cultural identity that goes with it are representations that are not made to recreate the past in all accuracy, but as an image to function in the age that we call our own. They are representations, like allegories, for the much more complex and obscure whole that passes by with time.

88 We refer to this kind of pamphlet as ‘growing documents’.

89 We assume that we are composed of twenty, thirty, forty identities, among which we can switch as often as we like. So why shouldn’t we take on a Twentish identity? And you don’t need to be from Twente to do that. Van Deinse was from the province of Zeeland, but he still wrote the Twentish anthem.

90 There’s a land between the Dinkel and the Regge
Our beautiful and industrious Twente
The land of labour, the land of nature
The ever-unsurpassed Twente
Where gold-yellow grain waves atop the essen
Where the fast rushing brook spins the mill’s grinding wheel
Where stretches of heath are cloaked in purple
That is our Twente so dear (2x)

91 If you come here to the suburbs of Enschede around the Christmas season, you will hear the midwinter-horns everywhere around you, loads of them, but if we ask our parents about it, they just shake their heads and say, ‘Those weren’t around in our days’.

92 The pall of smoke rising on the horizon
Leads us to the hard-working cities
Inhabited by diligent and reliable people
The centres of our vigorous present
And outside in farmland on heath and in field
Where legends and folktales are still being told
Where the ancient Tubanter lies in his hilly grave
The past beside the present of Twente (2x)

93 In Rotterdam the hooligans sing:
Feyenoord is our glory! Feyenoord is our club!
Feyenoord is our glory! Feyenoord is our club, yeah, yeah, yeah!
And on New Year’s Eve, there’s no party in Twente
They don’t have any fireworks because they all blew up!

94 Feyenoord is our glory! Feyenoord is our club!
Feyenoord is our glory! Feyenoord is our club, yeah, yeah, yeah!
Deutschland! Deutschland! Twente is part of it!
Twente is part of it! Twente is part of it!

95 We wrote a letter to Ajax to apply for a position on the team, saying that we can’t play football in Twente either, but that we are willing to do it for half the money.

96 If we feel like sitting in a car for two hours, we’d rather drive to Cologne than to Amsterdam.

97 If we want to know how it used to be in Twente, we should walk around in the county of Bentheim, just across the German border.

98 Here in Twente, we designate the German border area with the words ‘achter ‘n paol’ (behind the marker).

99 We go for hikes here in the area and cross over the German border without even noticing it. We have Kaffee mit Strudel, talk in the same dialect and then go back home. Twentish family names are found as far away as the other side of Münster. Hotel rooms have maps of the ‘Euregio’. A former railway was just rebuilt, so as from two weeks ago, there is once again a train that goes from Enschede to Gronau.

100 Obviously we have Twente Airport here, but they only fly to Faro, Barcelona, Heraklion, Las Palmas, Lourdes and Palma de Mallorca and not to Ibiza. But in Münster, we also have an airport that does have flights to Ibiza. We access the motorway here via Oldenzaal and can drive there in half an hour. It is a really lovely airport and you can check in a day in advance and you can still smoke on board the plane.

101 We also think German stewardesses are much nicer.

102 Following the firework disaster in Enschede, we received more money from Germany than from the neighbouring cities of Hengelo or Almelo. In the German cities of Gronau and Ahaus, the aid was tremendous. One D-mark of the price of every bread sold went to the Enschede disaster relief fund. And there were little boxes for donations of coins everywhere. The German fire brigade was at the scene even before the relief forces from Zwolle.

103 We were subject to the bishop of Münster. It was only after the Napoleonic era, because we were required to pay import duties, that Twente started trading with the western part of the Netherlands. The two world wars and the animosity towards Germany afterwards disrupted the earlier situation. But now it is coming back. National boundaries don’t really count any more. The restoration of the regional relations between Twente and the German hinterland is much more authentic than all the midwinter-horn blowing and klootschieten combined.

104 If we work together with Amsterdammers and we meet in Amsterdam, then we begin at nine o’clock in the morning. It means we have to get up very early, but we simply do. But if we agree to meet here, it will be at ten o’clock at the earliest. The distance from Amsterdam to Twente is apparently much further than from Twente to Amsterdam. If they think that everything behind the IJssel river is sealed off with newspapers, then let them think so. We are happy with things the way they are.

105 God created from golden ears of grain the folks from Drenthe en Twente
and from the chaff and the rest, the people from the West!

106 God created from golden ears of grain the people of Twente
and from the rubbish and the rest, the people from the West!

107 From the wheat and the golden ears God created the folks from Twente.
From the chaff and the rest, He threw together the people from the West!

108 The Wise Men came from the East and from the rest God created the people from the West!

109 And then we walk with them through the Amsterdam Forest and they say: ‘Gee, isn’t it beautiful?’ while half of Amsterdam is out there going for a walk, with jumbo jets flying overhead and three motorways roaring beside you and then we think: ‘If only it was less pretty but quiet.’

110 We just want peace and quiet.

111 Folklorisation is part of progress. No one can survive as an unguided missile or a buoy adrift. And if nothing is certain, we will just have to find that out for ourselves.

112 We don’t need to show a midwinter-horn, a wooden roof ornament, or a weaver’s shuttle any more in order to make the contemporary Twentish identity visible. When walking around this kind of exhibition, we want to be able to see things that make us say: ‘Hey, we’ve never looked at it that way.’ How about the producers of chicory in Borne, for example. Make sure that there’s a chicory mill, because everybody has forgotten those. There are so many things that have to be included.

113 In the old days, history and an interest for your roots were things for old, pipe-smoking men who were waiting to die, but that is no longer the case. We have a young visitor here, about twenty years old, who is an ardent genealogist.

114 We have a suitcase with a number of objects, in case educational institutions invite us to come visit. It includes some clothing, some prints, some documentation—a bit of everything.

115 We think our schools need to look at our own environment, as that would enrich the teaching material more than you can imagine. By placing abstract ideas in a concrete environment, you arouse curiosity. If you hear in history class that people were burned at the stake for their beliefs and we mention explicitly that two such women were burned to death in Delden, this will immediately produce a clearer image in your mind.

116 Nowhere in the Netherlands did people put symbols on just about everything they could get their hands on as much as we did here in Twente. The incorporation of Christian symbols in waffle irons, for example. You could tell from the waffles whether the owner was Catholic or Protestant.

117 We saw a fashion show last week put on by young students with clothing they made from the fabrics and with the techniques of yesteryear.

118 In fact, we have only just begun to put ourselves on the map.

119 No doubt, people in Twente have also been bitten by the separatist bug, though not exactly like the people in the Balkan or in Catalunya. For the Twentish people, ‘Zwolle’ refers to the provincial political government, which is located outside of the region of Twente. This has always been a little painful. ‘Zwolle’ can mean the province of Overijssel, but also the departments of the Environment, or Spatial Planning, or Culture. That is all ‘Zwolle’. But it could also refer to the inspector in charge of enforcing the regulations regarding the external appearance of buildings, who has nothing to do with the provincial government and could just as easily have been based in Enschede or Hengelo. Everything is summed up in an oft-heard reaction: ‘Zwolle doesn’t approve, as usual.’

120 We’ve had two political operations in the past fifteen years aimed at turning Twente into an independent province. This has to do with the idea that Twente is an entity of its own and that therefore wants to manage its own affairs rather than being dependent on Zwolle. The funny thing is that a large number of the members of provincial parliament come from Twente. The real deals concerning the province are made in the train, somewhere between Enschede and Zwolle. They all travel first class and that is where they informally concoct their plans.

121 In general, the split between the Protestants and the Catholics means that on the left-hand side of Overijssel the government is appointed by God to reign over you, which means you obey the government. On the right-hand side, especially in Twente, the government is seen as something to evade. We also see that in the way people treat monuments. In Twente, it costs approximately two thousand guilders each year for every monument. That is the money we have to give the building’s owner to cover maintenance costs. In Genemuiden, near Zwolle, the same kind of monument costs us one hundred and fifty guilders. They feel honoured that the government wants to consider their house as a monument and they will declare the cost of a can of paint for the maintenance that they do themselves, while the average homeowner in Twente will hire a painter with the idea that the government is going to pay after all, so why not?

122 We dial a number but usually we are not among the first hundred candidates. You have to be one of the first five in order to have any chance at a house. And if you get one, it doesn’t matter so much whether you take a room for 850 or 1250 guilders, since we get so much rent subsidy for the expensive house that it costs us just as much as the cheaper one.

123 We have been together for one year now, so we organized a dinner so that our parents could meet each other. It turns out they already knew each other from poaching. My grandfather did that too, and he even went to jail for it. He had snared roe deer. Those animals don’t die an easy death.

124 Our dear lord knows everything, but not what we put in our Mettwurst.

125 We had a freezer that was no less than three and a half or four meters wide.

126 My uncle has a piece of land, fifty by one hundred and fifty meters, where the whole family plants potatoes. We ourselves have one row, one hundred and fifty meters long, because we are just the two of us, but my cousin has three children and they have three rows. That way, you’ll have potatoes for the entire winter by September. And when you grub them up, you will often come across pieces of flint or potshards. Potatoes that we get from our own gardens have a better taste than the anonymous potatoes from the supermarket.

127 The problem is: my girlfriend isn’t religious. That can be a problem later too, if we decide to have children. Not that my children necessarily have to be baptised, but religious schools really are qualitatively better than public schools.

128 We are against the fact that people are always serving krentewegge these days, while this local raisin bread was traditionally meant for special occasions.

129 For us, serving krentewegge is an age-old tradition, especially in the event of a firstborn child. The entire noaberschap is involved. Rhyming poems are composed for the new mother, the new father and their newborn borelingske. On the appointed day and time, the men pick up the bread at the baker. The loaves are often so large that they need to be carried on a ladder. A little cask of brandy often hangs from the back-end, which is meant for the midwife or wieze moer so that she can wash the borelingske with it, according to ancient tradition, though she often drinks the liquor herself. The bread, which includes all kinds of herbs like caraway and anise that are known to ward off spirits, prevents bewitchment. When we arrive at the kroamhoes, where the borelingske was born, the proud new father lifts his borelingske high. In doing so, he acknowledges the child before our eyes as his own, and we accept the child into the intimate circle of the noaberschap, the tight traditional network of immediate neighbours.

130 Our home is part of a new development built in the late 1960s. Although we are the original inhabitants, in all those 40 years we have never been accepted into the noaberschap of farms across the road. We do have a fair amount of contact with the widow who lives on the farm just across the road to the left, but that is because we also speak Twentish ourselves, and she speaks Dutch poorly. When she recently had problems in her family, she told us: ‘I only told the first noabers about it, but I’ll tell you two as well. The rest don’t need to know about it.’

131 This past summer there was the funeral of a very old farmer who was buried in Usselo and the noabers carried the coffin. The noabers stood in a half circle alongside the coffin behind the grave. The minister said a few words, and those who wanted to could walk past the coffin. First his widow did so, then his children. We were among the last to leave the graveyard, and when we looked back, we saw the noabers still standing there, their caps in their hands. They may have said nothing, but they had lived there for generations, and the man was put to rest in the place in which he had lived and where he had shared love, suffering and struggle, and to the very last, the noabers surrounded him. Even the family had left the site by then; the widow was already having coffee and cake.

132 Naturally, babies were not bathed in brandy. When their teeth and molars appeared, we gave them a wad of cotton wool soaked in brandy.

133 Old cookbooks from this region have no recipes with chicken or eggs. That was trade; we didn’t eat them. ‘If a farmer kills a hen, either his wife or the hen is sick’. A chicken was only killed when it had a thousand hours of flying time. It would be too old and too tough to sell.

134 Our smoked sausage is as snug as a bug in the rug.

135 Bedientjes? That is something we have never come across in all those years we have been interested in regional dishes.

136 We were buying cream slices in the centre of town when panic suddenly broke out because the ceiling modules came down. We drove home and put the cream slices in the refrigerator before we went back to have a look. The whole neighbourhood Roombeek had been wiped off the map. There were lots of people with birdcages or house pets or household items and bloody faces. Some of them were being laid out in the park. The worst thing we saw was an ambulance that rode over the foot of a young girl with its siren blaring.

137 If the firework disaster would have occurred on this side of the museum, we could have demolished the ‘new’ wing and build a brand new one.

138 There are hardly any items left in this museum that were produced in this region. In 1994, we were able to buy an early painting by Mondriaan, a Twentish landscape. We don’t know where Mondriaan painted this farm. The matter was researched, but the location was never found.

139 Whatever was considered to be of value was put in the museum, which was to house not only the Van Heek art collection but also what was then still known as the Oudheidkamer Twente, the local chamber of antiquities. In those days, no distinction was made between art and folk art. We do make that distinction now.

140 No art of any real calibre has ever been produced here, in contrast to cities like Dordrecht or Delft, which have a rich painter’s tradition. We have nothing of a tradition to follow up. Whatever we have comes from somewhere else. That has been the case for as long as the museum excists, and since we have never been regional in terms of our collection or our points of departure, there was an increasing incompatibility with the Oudheidkamer Twente. One could see that as a deficiency, and we sometimes do, but in fact we shared nothing in common.

141 What good to us is an artist who throws mud from a river in France against our walls here? What relation does that have with our lives?

142 The Oudheidkamer Twente moved out of Rijksmuseum Twenthe in 1991 and merged with the Twente Akademie to form the Van Deinse Instituut. We regret that it no longer has an exhibition space of its own. Of course they deserve such a place, but not with us. Now there are plans for merging the Van Deinse Instituut with the Jannink Museum and the Natuurmuseum. The new museum would be called Environ. Environ should be a strongly regionally oriented museum in which cultural history and geological history are presented in one museum. The only problem is that the plans are just collecting dust in a bureaucrat’s desk in The Hague.

143 If there is prosperity, people have time and money to consider the cultural past. If prosperity is lacking, people will lose interest. Three or four years ago, the then Minister of State for Culture, Rick van der Ploeg, proposed all kinds of measures to give people more access to culture. Now that it is not going well, these are the first things to go. Jobs disappear, working hours are being reduced, etc. The reasons are no more profound than these. Prosperity is money and money is attention for the preservation of the past. Only when rich do we have time for Twente.

144 The feeling that we are there for each other is very strong in Twente. We forgot to mention that.


© Arnoud Holleman, 2004

This text was written on the basis of research and interviews conducted in connection with Proeftuin Twente (Twente Experimental Garden), 2001.
www.proeftuintwente.nl

Translation: Tom Johnston
Design: Lonnie van Brummelen
Printing: SSP, Amsterdam
Paper: Royal Print Mat 70 gr.
Letter type: Georgia
Edition: 1700
ISBN: 90-808841-1-1

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in an automated retrieval system, included in any anthologies, readers or other compilations, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the author.


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.
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."
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.
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.