Artists: Marijn Akkermans, Jitske Bakker, Joseph Beuys, Nik Christensen, Marcel van Eeden, Hanneke Francken, Lenneke van der Goot, Susanna Inglada, Arno Kramer, Bart Lodewijks, Jilles de Man, Juan Muñoz, Marc Nagtzaam, Nemanja Nikolić, Roland Sohier, Rudolf Steiner, Thomas Raat, Hans Schuttenbeld, Guy Vording, Marjolijn de Wit, Witte Wartena, Marthe Zink, Florens Kool, Elsemarijn Bruys, Marije Koelewijn, Jip piet, Inge Vaandering, Romy Muijrers
Compilers: Kunsthal KAdE with advice from Arno Kramer
The nostalgia-inducing drawing and writing on a blackboard base is the focus of the group exhibition CRY featuring new work by seventeen Dutch artists and a number of special international loans from Joseph Beuys, Rudolf Steiner and others. Amersfoort-based Blauwdruk 033 is furnishing the upper room, with Amersfoort artists responding to the theme of chalk. At various places in the exhibition (KAdEStudio, KRIJTkamer, KRIJTlokaal) visitors can get to work with chalk themselves.
Marjolijn de Wit, To What Remains, 2018. Photo: Mike Bink
Chalk evokes memories and nostalgia for young and old alike. Since the invention of the black and sometimes green chalkboard in the 18th century, entire generations have grown up with it. Countless letters, numbers, texts, drawings and formulas are drawn and also wiped out again on the multi-layered blackboard. In white or color chalk, with or without the aid of large rulers, compasses and guide lines. All these materials and actions can now almost be called historical, as they have been replaced in school buildings by markers on whiteboard or digital means.
"Most of the artists had never seriously worked with board chalk before. The results, however, are impressive. Chalk is so much more than mere child's play." - The Telegraph
Kunsthal KAdE has invited seventeen Dutch artists to work with chalk on a blackboard ground. Both abstract and figurative artists have been selected, creating a varied picture in different styles and forms. For example, Arno Kramer will create a large wall drawing, Roland Sohier will delve into the green triptych as an altarpiece, and Lenneke van der Goot will create a sidewalk chalk drawing on a plane of sidewalk tiles; a foray into the schoolyard. In addition, Kunsthal KAdE is showing several loans from Joseph Beuys, Rudolf Steiner, Juan Muñoz and a 2016 animated film made entirely in chalk by Serbian Nemanja NikolićArno Kramer, In the time changing light, 2018. Photo: Mike Bink
HKU students also drew inspiration from chalk. After a seminar in KAdE where participating artists Roland Sohier, Marjolijn de Wit and Marthe Zink gave an introduction, students from different fields of study started to experiment with the medium in groups. This resulted in six different moving chalk works. Two of them have been selected for the exhibition.
"KRIJT at Kunsthal KAdE [...] evokes fond memories: a drawing of St. Nicholas, made by the sweetest teacher in elementary school." - Wed
Getting started yourself
In the KAdEStudio, visitors are invited to share their confessions through lines of punishment on a board. For inspiration, the video "I Delayed Peoples Flights By Walking Slowly in Narrow Hallways" (2008) by Mayke Nas can be seen: a musical theater for four performers, who rhythmically write new confessions on four blackboards as if they were lines of punishment. In the KRIJT room, everything may be chalked; the walls and even the furniture. And in the KRIJT classroom, instruments hang on the wall to create a large drawing. Different chalk techniques can be tested during the assignments.
KRIJT classroom. Photo: Mike Bink
Marijn Akkermans (NL, 1975) | Jitske Bakker (NL, 1982) | Joseph Beuys (DE, 1921 - 1986) | Nik Christensen (GB, 1973) | Marcel van Eeden (NL, 1965) | Hanneke Francken (NL, 1976) | Lenneke van der Goot (NL, 1979) | Susanna Inglada (ES, 1983) | Arno Kramer (NL, 1945) | Bart Lodewijks (NL, 1972) | Romy Muijrers (NL, 1990) | Juan Muñoz (ES, 1953 - 2001) | Marc Nagtzaam (NL, 1968) | Mayke Nas (NL, 1972) | Nemanja Nikolić (RS, 1987) | Thomas Raat (NL, 1979) | Hans Schuttenbeld (NL, 1991) & Jilles de Man (NL, 1990) | Roland Sohier (NL, 1950) | Rudolf Steiner (HR, 1861-1925) | Guy Vording (NL, 1985) | Witte Wartena (NL, 1976) | Marjolijn de Wit (NL, 1979) | Marthe Zink (NL, 1990) | HKU students
"Besides happy stuff, chalk is also a vehicle for philosophical exposition - Rudolf Steiner and Joseph Beuys are also represented in the exhibition." - NRC
Special guest: blueprint 033
Kunsthal KAdE, for its exhibition CRY as special guest Blueprint 033 invited. On Feb. 16, 2014, the doors of the exhibition "Blueprint/Blueprint" opened. It was the last exhibition at Kunsthal KAdE on the Smallepad and the first joint project of guest curators StadsGalerij, Haren Majesteit, BV de Gasten and the Observant at Kunsthal KAdE. Organizers Ron Jagers, Martin Honings and Adinda van Wely feel it is important to maintain longer-term ties with artists with an Amersfoort heartbeat. In the summer of 2018, Blueprint 033 will be their guest again, showing a selection of participants from previous editions in the upstairs hall of Kunsthal KAdE. These Blueprint artists also respond to the theme of chalk. Participants: Elsemarijn Bruys (NL, 1989) | Eva Hoogenberg (NL, 1999) | Marije Koelewijn (NL, 1991) | Jippiet (NL, 1988) | Inge Vaandering (NL, 1993) | Corine Zomer (NL, 1983).
Arno Kramer. Photo: Hans de Bruin
Closing KRIJT | Lecture Arno Kramer, Aug. 19
Ode to precociousness
In 1767, a book published in Amsterdam by Pieter Myer contained a poem of praise entitled Triumph of the Art of Drawing. "Sung to ... Jonas Witsen, mayor of the city of Amsteldam ... as chief director of the Drawing Academy of the city, and furthermore to the gentlemen directors ... on the occasion that ... the mayors ... have graciously granted the gentlemen members of the Drawing Academy a room in the town hall of this city, for their instruction". In this poem of praise, written thus for the Mayor of Amsterdam, the writer goes over the top artistically, in rhyme or otherwise, with the goal of moving the city to a building where the noble art of Drawing could be seen and practiced. In the last stanza of the long verse, this is again advocated in this way:
One hears the tongue of Art praising the Burgervadren.
The Stream God joyfully pokes up the gray crown,
On 't see that Draughtsmanship exhibits her hatren magt,
Being led to the throne in the royal city building.
In 1784, 17 years after the publication of this text, Teylers Museum, the first museum in the Netherlands, was opened in Haarlem. Remarkably, in addition to many scientific and physical attributes and books, the collection soon included a huge collection of drawings and prints.
By the way, it did take a long time for the drawing to be taken for granted, and fortunately it seems that in recent years attention to contemporary drawings did grow, though not in the places I would like to see. With the disappearance of drawing curators at some museums, the disappearance of the so-called print cabinets, the flush at the highest level is pretty thin. Fortunately, that does not stop many contemporary artists from continuing with drawing, even discovering that there are always new visual avenues. CRY is of course a great example of this, and KAdE did this before with the exhibition Space Drawings. With CRY has been shown in another way that there is development in drawing. Perhaps it would be interesting to return to the basics with a third exhibition then....with pure works on paper.
How simple it is to draw with chalk on a blackboard. How difficult is it to arrive at a good exceptional visual work? Did we have to write letters, words, texts? Did we have to ask artists at all to work within certain frameworks? Fortunately, that didn't happen. Immediately after the conversations I had with Judith van Meeuwen and Robbert Roos about the choice of artists, (thanks for the trust, it is an honor to work with you.)I thought I would like to use words in my own contribution in any case. This what I am reading here now consists of words. That which you can read in my drawing are words of my favorite Irish poet Seamus Heaney.
If it is also about language, there are hundreds of writers, poets and philosophers who have written wonderful and pertinent things about thoughts and feelings. Such as: If we focus even more on language, the medium in which we express ourselves, then it can be written with conviction that thanks to language there is meaning and truth. Language is the essence of man. However we think, however we doubt and however we will die, we will remain true to language throughout our lives. After all, language allows us to think. Thoughts may form a synthetic, unifying whole of word and image. It is language that allows us to name the world. Through language there is a world even beyond reality, although it exists in that same reality. Language is past and future at the same time. In language eternity has a place and the dead continue to speak to us. Language does not lie, although the lie often takes shape in language.
Because I cannot suffice with using language in drawings, because I cannot suffice with just drawing anyway, I write and cannot help but talk in poems about looking, about discovering lines in the landscape, about drawing itself, whatnot.
The light sang its way into the day and seemed to flow across the island. Everything would
slowly be everywhere and I was lifted out of time and thought, I'll bring
that time did come to life in a flight, in proportions. In a line or in a plane
at least in an image. Bring her back to where she endures, process her
let her move and derail and experience once again that beauty is everywhere in
may be anchored. That the final image controlled solitary
will reside on the edges of existence, that was the idea for a while.
But sometimes it did become appointable, for me, then it was in the name.
You are in your name, you are something, you are your name.
And because speaking is often just speaking,
I rather bend my silence to your name.
Much of the work on view here is full of hope and faith in a beyond, they are provoked brilliant derailments. We see chattering visual worlds. In which we can travel mentally. The variety of everything in CRY brought together not only indicates how inventive the participating artists are, sometimes stepping outside their calibrated path, sometimes staying true to something they did before. It proved to me how subtle, thin a sensible you can still draw with a crayon. That supposed difficulty of converting from the black line to the white line on that black ground, that turned out to be completely out of my mind after a few hours of work. I must honestly confess that at first I was not at all satisfied with what I drew. I also couldn't put my finger on the problem. Surely the considerable size of the work should not be an issue. Large work I had done before. As it turned out later, I found the various visual elements, figurative or abstract or otherwise, just sort of floating in a new shaky universe. But I wanted a new kind of Galaxy-system that was coherent and that showed some consistency. On the last day, breaking the initial symmetry seemed to me, at least, to be in the right mood bring. With the addition of the small drawings on paper, everything felt like it was in place. The adventure of drawing on such a scale is also always a journey, mental or otherwise.
For me, the actual traveling sometimes results in the creation of a poem. That writing, by the way, often shows a parallel with the drawing. Often the basis of the work has to be there right away, which means, as far as the drawing is concerned, that sometimes several smaller drawings come into being in one day. With writing a poem it is not much different, that is, that basis must also be there at once. If I have to think too much about whether something is good, I better destroy it. "Break down and break out.", wrote the Irishman John McGahern. Almost a variation on what that other Irishman Samuel Becket said: Fail again, fail better.
With me, the second part of that Inis Oirr poem became thus:
Inis Oirr 2
How many times did I lie to myself longing for her? Even here where the sea
Roaring against the rocks. Where the stone walls limit my view. Where the lines
are already drawn. How do I bring these images and experiences into language? The silence
who must also be inside that violence of the waves. That everything is fixed,
for centuries. That a single horse whinnies, a wren flies in front of me. I
cherish the rain. And there must lie in those experiences something of the true origin
Of my self-awareness. I was not there but again I was part of something bigger. I emailed
Behind my window overlooking the ocean. I dug for lines and drew lines.
I broke the surf with my glances. Thought you would be found there too.
Looking we all do, but many artists apparently have a special way of looking. They absorb what they see and transform it into an image. Some seem to look more inward, are more contemplative, sensitive and find images in their subconscious.
'Looking unready' is a term P.F. Thomése wrote in his book Collected night work. He throws various paradoxes at it in the texts; you figure it out, he seems to want to suggest. For him, alienation is inevitable and making something means making something else out of it. From something inside you, something outside you develops. Nothing is what it is; it is always in the process of becoming something else. Thomése's way of reasoning in The reality enhancer is unruly and even provocative. I also find lines of thought in it that I can seamlessly superimpose on developments in my own work. Thomése concludes, for example, that when his writing is once again literature turns out to have become, the enterprise has failed. Mission accomplished, he writes provocatively. The important thing is to maintain uncertainties; there are too many certainties; according to him, you shouldn't use art for that. What he is looking for is an open terrain, where words do not know the way. That is an image I like to use for my drawings.
Although the hand is sometimes skillful, seems to know its way around, I am most satisfied when I derail pleasantly pictorial. If what I have drawn looks too beautiful, intervention is needed and more resistance must be put into the drawing. To destroy is also to rebuild. Remember what Beckett wrote. It pleases me greatly when viewers of my work occasionally say that when they see new work they have to "get used to" what they see next.
A word about language. In literature, Maurice Blanchot spoke of the literary space. He defines a literary text as language abandoned by the writer, unfinished. There you have it again! See here the parallel with P.F.Thomese. With him, a text is by definition unfinished. The writer has stopped and continued with something else elsewhere or started again. A text thus becomes an enigmatic, abandoned space, where you remain a stranger, where you can wander around and ask questions, but where no one is present to answer. The essential solitude. This metaphorical image about a text is equally appropriate for visual art. After all, my affe drawings are also always unfinished. I stopped somewhere at some point to continue drawing. I started a new drawing. My earlier drawing has thus degenerated into an enigmatic abandoned space, in which I am ultimately a stranger myself, in which others can then wander and ask questions, but I am no longer there to answer. Paradoxes provide much food for thought. Certainly the language in a book, is the language left behind. Every image I drew I too left behind on paper and each can take from it what he wants. Even if there were "understanding," a meaning found, that is an "answer" to a question I never asked. So the viewer determines for himself what I have to say. Moreover, the drawing can never be better than the viewer, to quote Thomése again.
The poet's words are about things that do not exist outside of words, I recalled a phrase by the poet Wallace Stevens. I wondered if you could say something similar about drawings. Were the artist's images about things that do not exist outside the images? What is at work in a good drawing, as it were, weightily put, is the mind's ability to imagine a new level of self-esteem, a new area for its own activity. I did have to guess at poets to determine for myself what all those images meant. A poetic tone is, I hoped, more than a speaking voice by which the drawing occurs, much more. That tone is not a matter of the aesthetics of a drawing. In drawings and all the other sometimes more mixed media works here in CRY lie opportunities to express the power of imagination through minimal or complex means. Look at the differences in approach, for example, of Marcel van Eeden and Marjolijn de Wit. Or the visual conflict with Romy Muijrers and Susanna Inglada, in the deep solitude in the work of Guy Vording. In those resulting images there is always something of what was suspected and reached for. But here in CRY, on the wall, on blackboards or in space, the works took their contours and felt their place and expressed something. The final filling in on blackboard, wall or space, where the line mostly traveled, that line that became the image, that is the work. Done!
But not quite yet. Judith van Meeuwen sent me this at the last minute:
The Greek Aischylos wrote as early as 458 BC in Orestaia this:
This was life.
The happiest hours
scribbles in chalk
On a board in a classroom. We stare at it,
trying to understand.
And then happiness turns its back on us -
and everything is erased.
The joy was no less pathetic
than the worst suffering.
Translation: Ted Hughes, translated into Dutch by Tom Kleijn
Photos: Kunsthal KAdE