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Two exhibitions

De Hallen Haarlem, Haarlem

The Knight's Tour / Lunar Distance

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De Hallen Haarlem kicks off the new season with two international group exhibitions: The Knight's Tour, curated by Xander Karskens, and Lunar Distance, guest curated by Suzanne Wallinga.

Lunar Distance

This year it was forty years ago that the moon landing took place. Lunar Distance refers to this event. The moon landing marks an important turning point in history; it is the beginning of a new world in which technology is omnipresent and embraced, but at the same time a high degree of scepticism exists with regard to the "truth" of images (there are still many people who believe that the moon landing never took place).

'The true is precisely what is made' observed Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico as early as the eighteenth century. During the Modernist period, art was still believed to possess the power to make statements of universal value. Today, a growing number of artists seem to share the conviction that reality is a construct of the individual mind. Lunar Distance brings together artists who in an apparently objective manner investigate the relation between image and meaning on the one hand, and on the other investigate the perception of reality in a digital era. The exhibition systematically scrutinizes the relation between logic and subjectivity.

From the video collection of De Hallen Haarlem the work Sehnsucht, by Jeroen Eisinga (Delft, 1966), has been selected for this exhibition. In Sehnsucht (2002) we see a dead zebra lying on a black and white chequered tarpaulin. Eisinga took photographs of the zebra during the process of decomposition, and then edited these in succession to create a cinematic sequence. As a result, we watch as the cadaver bloats and shrivels. The apparently objective recording of a natural phenomenon is reminiscent of a scientific report, but ultimately this film is more about conveying a sense of uneasiness, vacuity, absence and futility.

This work was chosen for a good reason: it is exemplary for the recent collection and exhibition policy of De Hallen Haarlem, in which the emphasis lies on a tendency that the art critic Jörg Heiser has described as Romantic Conceptualism. What Heiser means by this is that there is a growing group of artists whose work expresses a longing for meaning. In that longing they combine apparently rational methods with often unattainable (and thus romantic) objectives. Thus the conceptual is linked with the poetic and the melancholy.

In the video Théâtre de poche (2007) by Aurélien Froment (Angers, 1976) we follow a magician who arranges images from different contexts and combines then again in an associative manner. The video is based on Arthur Lloyd, a magician from the 1930s who was also known as the Human Card Index. Rather than the standard conjuring tricks his repertoire consisted of producing from his jacket almost all the pictures one could imagine, from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to a receipt from the chemist's shop.

Under the title Parallel Compositions David Maljković (Rijeka, 1973) combines collages of photographs from the surroundings in which he grew up with fragmented images of modernist interior design guides. He investigates how the remains of socialist Yugoslavia are connected with his personal memories of places from his childhood.

Lithuanian artist Žilvinas Landzbergas (Kaunas, 1979) has been invited to create an installation in the cabinet of De Hallen Haarlem. Drawing on the specific qualities of materials Landzbergas constructs situations in which spectators become parts of a spectacle, a play in which the actors are absent and the materials and objects take the leads.

Ceal Floyer (Karachi, 1968) collects everyday objects and arranges them in a circular template. In a continual process of collecting Floyer is constantly arranging them in a different order; there are various versions of the work Helix. By presenting artistic processes that display an analogy with data processing (fragmentation, duplication, repetition, deceleration, categorisation, etc), Lunar Distance examines ways in which we can find an answer to the ultimate question of how, in our present time, we can know the world through 'image'. This also applies to the work of Anna Barriball (Plymouth, 1972), Douglas Gordon (Glasgow, 1966), Christoph Keller (Stuttgart, 1969) and Charlotte Posenenske (Wiesbaden, 1930 – 1985) which is also included in this exhibition. Ultimately, the works in Lunar Distance appeal primarily to specific desires: to our longing for truth, objectivity and impartiality. In other words, to our desire for moral and political innocence.

Lunar Distance is curated by Suzanne Wallinga. The exhibition is made possible by a Young Curators Grant from the Frans Hals Foundation.

Performances & lectures
On 28 November performances and lectures will be presented in De Hallen Haarlem in connection with this exhibition.


The Knight's Tour

The Knight's Tour is an international group exhibition with sculptural work by six artists: Nina Canell (Sweden), Roger Hiorns (UK), David Jablonowski (Germany), Christina Mackie (UK), Navid Nuur (Netherlands) and Jennifer Tee (Netherlands). The exhibition takes place in the monumental Vleeshal.

In a world that to a large extent has been dematerialised and demystified by a wide array of technological and digital developments, the artists presented in The Knight's Tour are seeking new sculptural approaches to 'the thing'. They all pose the question, 'what is an object, and how can we know it?' The relation between idea and end result, which is complicated by the sometimes unverifiable production process that lies in between, is the central focus of this exhibition. The materials they use are significant for all the participating artists: they are interested in 'charged' materials (valuable – such as gemstones; organic – such as brains; or on the contrary, very commonplace – such as plaster and clay) to create meaning that goes beyond the formal appearance of the artworks. The Knight's Tour brings together a number of contemporary artistic positions in which value is ascribed (or again attributed) to the 'aura' of specific material and physical processes – an aura through which an attempt is made to speak to our imagination and to break away from the outward appearance of things.

Nina Canell (Växjö, 1979) makes playful-melancholy sculptures in which volatile physical processes play an important role, and something as invisible as electricity or sound is employed sculpturally. With her, sculpture is often 'in motion', seeking out an active exchange between the material and the imperceptible. This is the case, for instance, in one of the works in The Knight's Tour, which transmits an audio frequency which adults cannot hear, thus imperceptibly occupying the space. In the work by Roger Hiorns (Birmingham, 1975) the sculptural gestures are likewise often ephemeral in nature, and transformational processes form the foundation for the aesthetic experience. Known for his automotive engines overgrown with azure copper sulphate crystals, in this exhibition Hiorns shows a new wall sculpture, as well as an 'invisible' intervention in the lighting of the Vleeshal. The use of lighting is echoed in one of the contributions by Navid Nuur (Tehran, 1976) – a wall text in transparent paint that reflects the colours of the spectrum, and, depending on where the viewer stands, produces differently colored refractions. Nuur intervenes further in the architecture of the space by having one of the columns vanish into another material. The columns of the Vleeshal also take on importance in relation to the work of David Jablonowski (Bochum, 1982), which always is in tension with classic sculpture and its presentation. He has extended the plinth of one of the columns further into the space so that it becomes a pedestal for one of his own sculptures. This poses the question of what precisely their status is: that of an object conceived in advance, or an accidental form or extension? This doubt about status is present at another level in the work of Christina Mackie (Oxford, 1956), which investigates the space between two and three-dimensionality, and for which the synthesis between sharply contrasting materials is important. Finally, for Jennifer Tee (Arnhem, 1973) the suggestion of quasi-mystical functionality plays a fundamental role. Her works take the form of autonomous sculptures with implicit references to jewellery, clothing or architecture, but at the same time they appear to play a higher, more elusive register.

The Knight's Tour is planned concurrent with Lunar Distance, the group exhibition which has been assembled by guest curator Suzanne Wallinga in the other spaces of De Hallen Haarlem. Both exhibitions are contemporary reflections on the verum factum concept that was formulated by the Italian Enlightenment philosopher Giambattista Vico, which proceeds from the idea that 'the true is made'. Or to put it in other terms, according to Vico we can only know that which we ourselves can make. Sculpture is pre-eminently a discipline in which objects are constructed, and which thus according to Vico produces 'certain' knowledge about these objects. But on the other hand, the visual arts are benefited by a certain doubt about what it is: there should be contradictions within the artwork that assure that the result is more than the sum of the parts. It might precisely be in this immeasurable added value that the key to 'truth' resides.

The title The Knight's Tour refers to an old mathematical puzzle involving the knight's move in chess, in which a knight is to occupy each square on the board one time. There are various solutions for this problem, which have in common the characteristic that, when they are visualised, they create wonderfully aesthetic patterns. The artists in these group exhibitions all make a 'knight's tour' in their own manner, in which rational considerations are combined with more unmanageable factors like chance and intuition.


An extensively illustrated publication, Lunar Distance / The Knight's Tour, is published, with texts by Xander Karskens, Suzanne Wallinga, Arie Altena (commentator on visual arts and new media), Nickel van Duijvenboden (author and visual artist), and Mariska Kriek (astronomer). ISBN: 978-94-90198-02-2. Price 15 euro

Performances & lectures
On 28 November performances and lectures will be presented in De Hallen Haarlem in connection with this exhibition.

Image: David Jablonowski, Grabskulptur, 2008. Mixed media, 200 x 250 x 90 cm. Courtesy Galerie Fons Welters

Press informations: Annelieke Van Halen, Tel: 0031 (0)23 5115794

Opening: Saturday 12 September, 2009, 4 p.m.

De Hallen Haarlem
Grote Markt 16 2011 RD Haarlem
Tuesday-Saturday 11.00 - 17.00
Sundays and bank holidays 12.00 - 17.00

Melanie Gilligan
dal 12/12/2014 al 28/2/2015

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