Artists: Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen, Hadassah Emmerich, Gijs Frieling, Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Alexandra Kehayoglou, Paul Morrison, Marcel Pinas, Tanja Smeets, Melanie Smith, Armando, Sebastiaan Bremer, Sanam Khatibi, Maria Klabin, Friedrich Kunath, Simphiwe Ndzube, Erwin Olaf, Olphaert den Otter, Michael Raedecker, Marina Rheingantz, Rinus Van de Velde, Matthew Wong, LOLA Landscape Architects, MAISON the FAUX, Philip Vermeulen
In 2022, it will be 150 years since Piet Mondrian was born in Amersfoort. The exhibition "Scouring Paradise" starts from his quest for an "Earthly Paradise": a modernist dream of a makeable world based on form and style, in which people strive for the true, good and beautiful from freedom.
'The exhibition is bursting with creativity and imagination' (FD)
Mondrian more or less succeeded in realizing his paradise, in his art and his studios. In his personal quest for his ideal, Mondrian abandoned the natural, and brought constructed order in its place.
In contemporary art, the ideal of a makeable world seems to have faded into the background. In its place is reflection on the world and society. Indeed, a hundred years after Mondrian's dream, our world seems anything but a paradise. Climate change, environmental pollution, viruses and mutual tension are palpable threats. Rather than depicting us a utopia to be pursued, artists seek to analyze the current state of being, pointing out to the viewer through experience the reality in which we live.
'Is paradise still to be found, and if so: where and how? Twelve artists go in search in Amersfoort' ●●●● (NRC)
Twelve contemporary artists have been invited by Kunsthal KAdE to fill a space with their view of today's chaotic world. For the first time, a second exhibition location will also be used: the Elleboogkerk in Amersfoort, within walking distance of Kunsthal KAdE.
Michael Raedecker, cast, 2020, courtesy the artist and GRIMM, Amsterdam | New York.
Paradises with an undertone
The "paradise" at Kunsthal KAdE starts in the main hall, which will be filled with a by LOLA Landscape Architects designed street garden that literally bursts out of the paving stones. With this garden, the design firm explores the way nature, as an unstoppable force, reclaims the city. A selection of existing paintings will be displayed on the walls of the main room: paradises with an undertone.
'It is much and overwhelming, with something for everyone'
Tanja Smeets, Under the pavement the roots swirl, 2022. Photo: Mike Bink
This undertone is reflected in the cabinets. Here, the artists explore the contradictions evoked by the theme of paradise: manufacturability versus reality, nature in pristine or degraded form, eternity versus impermanence.
As with the images of Tanja Smeets, large sculptures that grow along walls into space. These organic sculptures form a plant-like landscape, which Smeets then places in an unnatural environment. Another cabinet is filled by Anne Duk Hee Jordan, which uses a combination of sculptural, botanical and technological elements to create an installation that shows a changing and transitory world. The creative studio MAISON the FAUX also creates an alienating, abundant landscape, exploring the boundaries between what is real and unreal.
Alexandra Kehayoglou, Paraná de las Palmas, 2021. Photo: Mike Bink
The work of Alexandra Kehayoglou connects us to disappearing landscapes. In the form of huge carpets, the artist depicts pieces of nature threatened by humans, presenting them in their pure, pristine form. Kehayoglou's carpets are her form of activism; by focusing on stories and details within nature, the artist hopes to create greater ecological awareness.
Also Marcel Pinas brings attention to endangered environments and cultures with his installations. Suriname's Ndyuká culture, from which he is descended, is often the focus. The original inhabitants of Suriname suffer from the felling of trees and the mining of bauxite and gold, which causes heavy pollution and destroys the "paradise" jungle.
Artist Philip Vermeulen works with moving panels with which he creates a moiré effect. With his installation at Kunsthal KAdE, he wants to make the viewer aware of his own material existence, a fact that sometimes seems to be forgotten in a time when we also find ourselves in digital worlds a lot. In his work, Vermeulen explores the tension between these two opposites, the physical and the digital.
Paul Morrison, Half Life, 2022. Photo: Mike Bink
In the setting of a mural of Paul Morrison a special cabinet displays the historical depiction of paradise from multiple cultures. In this space, Morrison questions what it means to want to create an idyllic world, as Mondrian did, and what this desire conceals. The prints on display show the depiction of paradise from different cultural perspectives.
Along the stairs and in the hallway, the walls are shaped by Hadassah Emmerich. Emmerich creates brightly colored, lavish murals, mixing landscape and body into overwhelming compositions. In the film room, the film "Xilitla" by Melanie Smith shown. In this film, Smith examines with a contemporary eye "Las Pozas": a surreal, decadent garden in the jungle of Mexico realized between 1949 and 1984 by English art lover Edward James.
For the first time, a second location will also be used for the exhibition. In the Elleboogkerk, on Langegracht in Amersfoort, designed Gijs Frieling a mural in which he explores human nature in an increasingly technological society. Artist duo Sander Breure and White van Hulzen created an installation in the heart of the church with figures connected by sound.
'A spectacular part of Scouring Paradise can be seen a ten-minute walk from the museum, in the Elbow Church. Here, muralist Gijs Frieling and a group of assistants have painted all the walls of the church from head to toe.'
**** (De Volkskrant)
Installations: Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen, Hadassah Emmerich, Gijs Frieling, Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Alexandra Kehayoglou, LOLA Landscape Architects, MAISON the FAUX, Paul Morrison, Marcel Pinas, Tanja Smeets, Philip Vermeulen, Melanie Smith.
Paintings: Armando, Sebastiaan Bremer, Sanam Khatibi, Maria Klabin, Friedrich Kunath, Simphiwe Ndzube, Erwin Olaf, Olphaert den Otter, Michael Raedecker, Marina Rheingantz, Rinus Van de Velde, Matthew Wong.
Scouring Paradise is curated by Robbert Roos, Lara Stolwerk and Judith van Meeuwen in collaboration with the artists.
And mankind? He should not be in himself and likewise only a part of the whole. When, thus, he no longer feels his individuality, he will be happy in the earthly paradise created by himself. (Piet Mondrian, Paris, 1926)
This exhibition is organized as part of Mondrian 150. In 2022, it will be 150 years since Piet Mondrian was born in Amersfoort. The city is celebrating this with a Festival of Imagination. Exhibitions, theater performances, outdoor activities and much more. For more information visit mondrian150.com
The exhibition was made possible in part by the Mondriaan Fund, Fund 21, the municipality of Amersfoort and the province of Utrecht.