Our guest curator Adriana Gonzalez Hulshof on Amsterdam Art WeekendPublished 3 Nov 2016 at 15:15 by Daphne Prochowski
For four days, Amsterdam is filled to the brim with art. Pretty much all the galleries in Amsterdam organise extras, the Rijksakademie opens its studio spaces to the public and behind the scenes, the industry networks like there’s no tomorrow. This year, initiator Adriana Gonzalez Hulshof will ensure Amsterdam Art Weekend (24-27 November) sets off in the right direction. And she’s our guest curator this November!
Back in 2002, an irritated Adriana Gonzalez Hulshof (35) stormed out of the Stedelijk Museum. Accompanied by her Art History class, she had just visited Tracey Emin’s controversial exhibition, the British artist that uses her own life as the centerpiece to her controversial artwork. “I was angry. I thought: why is this being shown in a museum?”
Today, Gonzalez Hulshof is the director of Amsterdam Art Weekend, a yearly weekend that sparks all visual art spots to engage in extra activities. Before this, she had worked in Christie’s auction house, at the Prins Claus Fonds and as a gallery director and curator.
Emin’s exhibition in the Stedelijk provoked Gonzalez Hulshof to look at art differently. “My parents would drag me along to everything. As a teenager I liked Picasso and Diaghilev (founder of Ballet Russes). At the beginning of my studies, I was more focussed on modern art, art dating from the beginning of the twentieth century.” But Tracey Emin arose something in her. That irritating art stuck to memory. “It made me want to know more about it. Why did Emin chose those topics? How did she depict them, and why? I gained a number of questions, which I later started to pose to other artists too. And I noticed this: I’m intrigued by art that provokes a sense of resistance.”
Despite this, her first purchased artwork was a pretty sweet choice. “A photograph by Charlotte Dumas, of an equestrian. Whereas I’m not at all a fan of horses. But the image has something static and mysterious about it. It’s a relatively dark photograph with green, blue and black tints. The shapes are beautiful. I bought it twelve years ago and it’s still up in my living room.”
The Amsterdam Art Weekend is intended to help the entire Dutch art scene progress. The galleries naturally hope to sell even more than average during this weekend, agrees Gonzalez Hulshof. “But don’t forget that the galleries want to provide a stage to their artists. This weekend is the perfect opportunity for that.” In other words: don’t let your fear of galleries get to you, especially not this weekend. Window shopping, taking a look around without intending to purchase anything, is absolutely okay. “International curators and exhibitions directors are all coming over for this weekend. They’re coming to scout talent. That’s part of why galleries do the things they do.” That’s why there’s also networking events taking place during the weekend, especially for the industry. “We bring together art professionals from the Netherlands and worldwide. They also come to spot talent by the prestigious post-academic visual art work locations, de Rijksakademie and De Ateliers. The large amount of collaborations taking place during the weekend, between all of the involved institutions, has a positive effect on the entire city.”
TIPS BY ADRIANA GONZALEZ HULSHOF
“When visiting Rijksopen, you enter the heart of the art. It’s as if you walk right into the mind of the artist whose studio you’re entering. These are no polished exhibitions, rather a genuine insight into the process of creation. You cannot get closer to an artist than this.”
“I’m especially curious about Geo Wyeth’s work. He’s currently in the last year of his residence. His installation last year was so extraordinary, as if you were absorbed into another world. It was some sort of treasure chamber. It really overwhelmed me. And his performance was equally spot on. He continuously delved deeper into the core of existence, into the moment just after birth. He expressed that so vividly. I’ve been keeping a close eye on him since then, and have gone to see more of his performances.”
“We organised a number of tours with different themes. Galleries have organised all sorts of special events especially for this weekend: artists that are on location to talk about their work, there are film screenings, performances, book presentations. It’s really enjoyable to get so close to the artists in these galleries. We put together routes so that you can follow your own interests during the Gallery Night, or during the entire Art Weekend. The routes will be published online on 7 November. Amsterdamart.com/weekend
If you want to hit the road with a guide, that’s possible too. Artifex is organising various gallery tours – departing from various galleries.”
The nice thing is that you can visit so many galleries and view so many different types of art. All types of art forms, everything from established artists to unknown names. The Lumen Travo gallery is showing work by George Adéagbo, from Benin. He makes installations that are location-specific and consist of objects taken from their environment, giving you an idea about the history of the location. He uses textile, painting, flyers, flags, books, vinyl. It’s really nice to see the selection he makes and the rhythm he uses.
Taking a very different approach is Klaas Kloosterboer, an established artist who makes large, abstract paintings and installations. See his work in Galerie van Gelder. Dustin Yellin (Galerie Grimm) uses entirely different materials and is very figurative, a sort of modern day Hiëronymus Bosch. He makes collages that take place in between glass plates. The Quistrebert brothers (galerie Juliette Jongma) from France are, in turn very young boys that use computers in their hallucinatory drawings and paintings.
Adriana Gonzalez Hulshof is our guest curator in November. She selected four events during the Amsterdam Art Weekend especially for you. Find them here.