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Less is More, More Or Less

Tent, Rotterdam

A discussion with artists, thinkers, and experts on the collecting and de-collecting of art in public space.

comunicato stampa

Artists, thinkers, and experts on the collecting and de-collecting (reallocation or decommissioning) of art in public space: Rutger Bregman, Jan van Adrichem, Omar Muñoz Cremers, Siebe Thissen, Hans van Houwelingen, Observatorium, Hans Abelman, Ida Jager, Marco Jongeneel, Atelier van Lieshout, Kamiel Verschuren, Co Westerik, Lon Pennock, erven Héman, Sarah van Sonsbeeck, Saskia Noor van Imhoff, Witte van Hulzen and Sander Breure, Lilith Ronner van Hooijdonk, The Force of Freedom, Yasser Ballemans.

On Friday June 7 at TENT Less is More, More Or Less opens the discussion on the collecting and de-collecting of art in public space. Thinkers attempt to formulate theoretical foundations for policy (opinions), experts will look at examples in practise (field trips), and artists are showing how they make de-collecting part of their own work (case studies). In a city like Rotterdam, over a thousand works by famous and less famous, international and local, dead and living artists were added to its streets in half a century. Spearheaded by masterpieces such as Zadkine's The Destroyed City and Paul McCarthy's Santa Claus, the collection is a feast for the imagination. But it is also a collection that gradually threatens to perish under its own weight – it squeaks, creaks, and suffers due to different effects of aging. How much is enough? Which artworks should be preserved and maintained, and why? Collecting means organizing, applying coherence to the multitude of things, and bringing structure to the chaos of manifestations. In short, collecting is a core principle of the Enlightenment: notions of progress have been inextricably linked with the practice of collecting, scientific, and artistic progress. We have now entered the century of de-collecting. Is the chapter on progress therefore closed? Do we know enough? What is collecting in the 21st century?

Opinions: What can we know? 11:00 – 13:00
The young historian Rutger Bregman writes regularly for The Volkskrant and NRC Next, and was recently named by Vrij Nederland as one of The Netherlands’ leading young thinkers. How does he see the long tradition of commissioned artworks in public space from the younger generation's perspective? How can today's twenty-somethings relate to the art of the past? In his recent book The History of Progress Bregman writes that the young generation is tired of the nostalgia around them.
Philosopher and writer Omar Muñoz Cremers thinks beyond the physical public domain. He regularly publishes groundbreaking essays about the internet and the interface between techno music, fashion, sociology, and new media. Now that the virtual domain has become one of the most important public arenas, the question is: what role does the digital domain play when it comes to creating ensembles? Should monuments be immaterial?Artworks have been collected in Rotterdam’s public space for longer than Rotterdam's Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum has existed. Art historian Jan van Adrichem focuses on the artistic importance of Rotterdam's public art from his experience as a former city curator of the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum and former member on the committee of the International Sculpture Collection Rotterdam. How does he characterise Rotterdam's collection of sculptures in public space? Van Adrichem will talk about the art that Rotterdam should be proud of but has yet to realise it.
The different views are introduced by Siebe Thissen head art and public space at the CBK Rotterdam. The discussions on collecting and de-collecting mainly take place in the meeting rooms of housing associations, developers, and local councils. Where is the artistic perspective, where are the art historians and artists in this discussion?

Field trips: This is also possible, 14:00 – 16:00
How do artists and curators anticipate the issues of collecting and de-collecting in daily practise? To understand this there will be tours of exceptional examples of public art in Rotterdam.

The artists collective Observatorium are placing orphaned sculptures on pedestals under the Kleinpolderplein flyover. This sculpture park of art from the last century helps to keep the memory of the city alive.
Publicist Ida Jager visits Rotterdam's former Station Post Office. This building by the Kraaijvanger brothers is typical of the architecture of Rotterdam's post war reconstruction period. The building’s integral artworks refer to ideas of progress, growth, and optimism, and it is in this context that Louis van Roode’s monumental stained-concrete artwork of plays an important role.
On 8 June, Atelier van Lieshout opens AVL-Mundo. Joep van Lieshout will open a former factory area to the public in Rotterdam's Vierhaven. During the summer months, this space, which includes a 2000 m2 factory hall, silos, and an outdoor area, houses the sculpture exhibition Territory, with work by Itziar Okariz, Philippe Meste, Erik van Lieshout, Kevin van Braak and Atelier Van Lieshout.
Hans Abelman, former coordinator of the International Sculpture Collection Rotterdam, will give a guided tour of museum pieces that are part of a series of international sculptures located in public space. The works are mainly located along the Westersingel and in the city centre, but also elsewhere in Rotterdam. The current Sculpture International Rotterdam collection has around 50 works.
In 2001, the designers of 75B were commissioned to design a skate park on Rotterdam's Westblaak. This legendary skatepark now needs renovating, so the graphic designer and former skater Marco Jongeneel shows why he thinks Skatepark Westblaak is a dated collection of objects that should be de-collected.
Artist Kamiel Verschuren saved ornamental works by the artist Gerard Héman from demolition; they once adorned the old Zuidplein Theatre and he gave them a new place in the Zuiderpark:De Schouwplaats.

Case Studies: six thinking exercises, 18:00 – 20:00
Many architects reconstruct decommissioned offices to give them new purpose and meaning; is this also possible with art? How are ideas about de-collecting and collecting, as well as concepts such as absence, immateriality, and planning part of an artistic practice? Six young artists, in conversation with artist Hans van Houwelingen, will present their views on the subject with specific proposals. The proposals will be on show at TENT from 7-16 June.

The Force of Freedom is the Rotterdam duo of Micah Princes and Roel Roscam Abbing who started working together in 2009. Their work often makes use of new technologies and social media that they cheekily apply as a means for critical reflection.
The work of Sarah Sonsbeeck (Amsterdam) is based on a single principle: how can humans be present without leaving physical material traces, or actually being physically present. In a memory, a space, or a sound. She captures silence in cubes, offsets the noise from her neighbours in rent, and translates the Dutch political climate into weather conditions. Saskia Noor van Imhoff (Amsterdam) has a profound interest in organizing and systematically capturing our physical world as a means of classification and looking at how meaning is achieved. She operates almost as an archivist when compiling her installations full of photographic works, objects, and videos, in which the distinction between the final artwork and the objects is blurred.

Lilith Ronner van Hooijdonk was created on Labour Day, 1 May 2010 by Lilith Assem, Lieke van Hooijdonk and Elsbeth Ronner. The three Rotterdam architects work according to the metamorphosis-method, 'an apparently pointless transformation under the influence of impulses from other genres – literature, music, visual arts’. Spaces become performative, interiors become backdrops, and an urban plan becomes a play in three acts.

Film, music, and performance artists Witte van Hulzen and Sander Breure (Amsterdam) have been working together since 2007. Their work is often closely related to human shortcomings, and in particular codes of conduct: the dos and don'ts of the art world. They held a surreal mirror to the art world by manning gallery stands on major art fairs with actors and presenting paintings by fictional artists.

In the monumental sculptures of the artist Yasser Ballemans (Rotterdam) he seeks the point where an image manifests itself as autonomously as possible without reference to anything. Alongside this activity, Ballemans is also the co-organizer of major alternative art events such as the Kunstvlaai and Inexactly This, in which he rubs against and distorts the experience economy.

Also on show in TENT
Mini-documentary by Sculpture International Rotterdam on the preservation of the famous brick wall work, Wall Relief No 1. (1955) by Henry Moore. Wouter Vanstiphout talks about this recently removed work, which will be reinstalled into the renovated building it was part of. Filmed interviews with Co Westerik, the heirs of Gerard Héman, and Lon Pennock about the loss and change of art in public space.Rotterdam Art Weekend

Less is More, More Or Less, takes place on 7 June. Foundation AVL-Mundo opens the exhibition Territory on its outer grounds on 8 June. On 8 June, Museum Boijmans opens the exhibition XXXL Painting with Klaas Kloosterboer, Chris Martin, and Jim Shaw at the Onderzeebootloods (Submarine Wharf). The museum also celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Rotterdam City Collection with the opening of two exhibitions at the museum. And from June 7 to 9 the Route Du Nord festival takes place.

Friday 7 June 2013, 11:00 – 20:00

Witte de Withstraat 50 - 3012 BR Rotterdam
Less is More, More Or Less: Participation €25. There is a reduced rate for students.
For reservations and information please contact: Limited availability.
Less is More, More Or Less is a co-production of TENT Rotterdam and BKOR Rotterdam, with thanks to SIR, which are part of CBK Rotterdam.

Nicky Assmann
dal 14/10/2015 al 30/1/2016

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