Curatorial project / Exhibition at Nest, den Haag (NL) 2014
In 2013 I was awarded a working grant from the Mondriaan Fund to initiate a new project concerning the biography of the Markus Family. The goal was to research the aspects of dislocation and 'construction of history' in relation to my own family history by creating a personal archive from collected materials.
The close association the Markus family had with WWII and the traces one finds when excavating into actual family members history has led to the interest not only in the primary subject, dislocation, but also essentially in the transience of human life itself. For me the project is all about dislocation and deterioration or in other words; transformation and decay. To be able to engage in discussion on how to deal with such hefty history I decided to connect with other artists starting a discourse with related questions.
In my search and via exchange with others one of my encounters was with a young artist and his grandmother. I found myself in the grandmother’s house sitting next to a coffin, used today as a table. It turns out this coffin was designed and built by the artist on request of the grandmother to prepare for her final rest. I witnessed a truly beautiful and confronting moment where death as part of life and vice versa was discussed. A process that was linked directly to the preparations and closure of an (art) project.
In 2014, when working with my own found and self-made materials in a curatorial way, an overall curatorial perspective started to emerge and conclusively the encounter with the young artist and his grandmother became the catalyst to initiate a second chapter of my "Markus & I" project; I decided to organize an exhibition titled ‘Some Things Perishable’.
This was my first larger curatorial experience with such a direct theme and my desire was to create a poetic but confrontational experience. Making the viewer reflect on the brevity of our existence, the traces we leave behind and the poetry that while living, we know that everything will always perish.
I invited eight diverse artists to take part of this project; Daniëlle van Ark, Niels Albers, Frank Ammerlaan, Saskia de Brauw, Popel Coumou, Amie Dicke, Maarten Rots and Batia Suter. Seven existing works where selected and five additional new works where created specifically for this exhibition, these works came about via discussions or in close collaboration with me.
The short opening times was a necessity to be true to the theme and to emphasize this further I decided to not make my own production visible in the exhibition except for a subtle well-hidden trace, placed between the works of the participating artists. This exhibition was the second chapter and the first public chapter of a greater project.
An hour of opening that was followed by two hours of exhibition and finally an hour of finissage.
With the theme in mind, Radna Rumping was invited to create a soundtrack that she mixed live at the final hour of the exhibition. As a trace of the exhibition Radna's mix is online for anyone to ponder upon, please click here: Finissage music
‘Some things perishable’ was an extensive museum quality exhibition with art works from a wide range of media only to be seen for one evening on May 1, 2014. Close to 400 people saw the exhibition during the four hours it was available to the public and it created a considerable echo afterwards in both reviews, and in social media.
(images by Jhoeko & Charlott Markus) (Poster design by Janneke Hendriks)