Observations on the present state
Over the last decade, the artists' collective Observatorium, which consists of Geert van de Camp, Andre Dekker and Ruud Reutelingsperger, has realised an impressive international body of work, comprising various temporary and permanent three-dimensional pieces in the public environment. Stroom Den Haag presents the first major survey of these projects.
The history of Observatorium is recounted by Bram Esser, writer/philosopher with a strong love of the city, architecture and urban life. Like a scout, Esser has explored twelve Observatorium works on the basis of the topographical coordinates. He formulates, visualizes the perspective and questions. His journey past the different works, his travel account, the images and the souvenirs are all attributes of the narrative/presentation ‘observations on the present state'.
These collected reflections, Esser's physical presence in a new Observatorium installation, the interaction with the visitors and the Observatorium archive together form the core of this retrospective. The projects of Observatorium are objects that virtually without exception are intended to create an opportunity for concentration, contemplation and observation. They are often monumental works of art erected alongside highways, in city parks, in new residential developments and near industrial heritage sites. Functioning in the realm of the visual arts, they take their themes from architecture and landscape design.
Antonella da Messina's painting ‘St. Jerome in His Study' (ca. 1460) serves as the foundation for the work of Observatorium. It depicts elements that also recur throughout the exhibition: a platform, cupboards, statues, texts, animals and a human figure who narrates, reads and symbolises contemplation.
The book ‘Big Pieces of Time', an artist's book about the Observatorium design philosophy, will be published this year by 010 Publishers.
The Observatorium exhibition is the first in a series of ‘reference points'. Artists and artists' collectives play an important part in Stroom's policy and programme. Several of these artists can be seen as playing a directive role. In order to stay focused and inspired, Stroom aims to pay specific attention to these artists.
Mondriaan Foundation Amsterdam and The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture in Amsterdam.
Image: Observatorium, Village View, Heino (NL), 2008 photo: Observatorium
Hildegard Beijersbergen-Blom +31 70 3658985 firstname.lastname@example.org - email@example.com
Opening: Saturday 18 April 2009, 5 pm
Preceded at 4 pm by an introductory conversation: Arno van Roosmalen & Bram Esser; Patrick van der Klooster (director AIR) & Observatorium.
Stroom Den Haag
Hogewal 1-9 2514 HA The Hague The Netherlands
Opening hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12-5 pm