Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Oskar Kokoschka Exhibit

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, photo Hans Wilschut

“Oskar Kokoschka – Portraits of People and Animals,” currently showing at the Museum Bojimans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, displays 148 paintings and sketches by Oskar Kokoschka. As one of Austria’s representative contemporary artists, alongside Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, Kokoschka is often categorized as an expressionist painter. But he maintained his independence from the artist movements such as the Vienna Secession, Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) or Die Brücke (The Bridge).

Kokoschka created many portraits during his career, including sketches and lithographs, and many of his most representational works are also portraits. Rather than depict his subjects in formal settings, Kokoschka preferred to capture them in natural situations such as friends in a conversation or at dinner or children mesmerized in play. His observations resulted in illustrating characteristic poses and unique expressions. In a 1966 television interview, Kokoschka said he was interested in the “aura of a person in space.” The subjects of his work seem to radiate light from within to their surrounding environment.

From 1926 and into the following year, Kokoschka took a strong interest in animals. Living in London at the time, the artist obtained permission to work outside of visitors’ hours at the zoo at Regent Park. His paintings include those of a tigon (a cross between a tiger and lion), crocodile and deer. Among these works is Mandrill. Kokoschka offered a banana to the mandrill every time he went to the zoo. But the mandrill not only didn’t show signs of affection but continued to display a menacing growl. The artist sensed the true determination of a beast to never be tamed and decided to paint the mandrill, not in its cage but in the rich natural setting of a jungle.

Kokoschka worked with a permanent quest to capture the spirit of his subjects. And his resulting portrayals in dramatic colors of the essence of his subjects continue to make a deep impression on their viewers.

Oskar Kokoschka – Portraits of People and Animals until January 19, 2014. (closed Monday Dec 25 and Jan 1)
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Museumpark 18-20
3015 CX Rotterdam
the Netherlands
Opening times:
Tuesday to Sunday 11:00-17:00
Closed on Mondays, Jan 1, Apr 27, Dec 25

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Reynold Reynolds “Lost” Volkspaleis (The Hague) Exhibit

Stills: Reynold Reynolds, The Lost, 2013, 7-channel film installation. Courtesy Reynold Reynolds/West
Foto locatie: Jhoeko

A feature film under production in 1930s Berlin. Like many movies from those days, its filming is stopped under censorship of the Nazi authorities, and the movie never sees the light of day. That is until artist Reynold Reynolds (born in 1966 in Alaska) stumbles upon remnants of the film and spends three years reconstructing it. The resulting “The Lost,” along with various objects associated with the original movie, is currently on display as part of the Volkspaleis event at an electric power station in The Hague.

A team of 20 experts examined the cache of film-related materials. It included in addition to the footage, sketches and storyboards, production notes, costumes and props. Nearly all of the footage is black and white 16-millimeter film and was shot around the world. Some of the filming was done while showing the movie to the public. At the exhibit, the two-and-a-half-hour-long film is shown split among seven enormous screens in the 2,500 square meter exhibit site.

The story follows the lives of a writer who lives in a cabaret in Berlin, a photographer and other artists and cabaret dancers. The movie employs unique filming techniques to capture and intermittently reveal the clash between a hedonistic lifestyle embodied in music, alcohol and homosexuality and the police authorities under the Nazi regime that loathe those elements.
The film is packed with themes that were taboo at the time and the unconventional presentations of them. The film presents a raw portrayal of the internal struggles of artists living in the suffocating environment of censorship that transforms into a world of fantasy.

At the sprawling exhibit where several screens simultaneously show parts of the film, not necessarily in sequence and with a mixing up of scenes and actors, it’s easy to lose one’s sense of footing. So it’s important to take the time to experience the world of this film. Still, mysteries remain as to whether the footage and displayed props are originals from the 1930s or replicas created by the artist Reynold Reynolds. The seven films and exhibited props seem to form a giant whirlpool that slowly swirls the viewer around pre-war Berlin and current day.

“There is no end to this work,” says Marie-José Sondeijker of West which organized the exhibit. She decided to hold the exhibit at the power plant after concluding her own gallery was too white and too small.
This is the second hosting of the Volkspaleis outside of her gallery. That is a radical step out from the insular world of art in the direction of the general public.

Volkspaleis Until October 6th

E.On Elektriciteitsfabriek
Constant Rebecquepln 20
2518 RA Den Haag
Groenewegje 136
2515 LR, Den Haag
The Netherlands
+31 (0)70 392 53 59
Volkspaleis opening times:
13 September — 6 October 2013
Wed — Sun 14:00 — 20:00