Remember when going to an art exhibition was normal? Well, neither do I. After one year of living in a world dominated by the C-word, I’ve more or less forgotten about everything that we once took for granted. And it’s not that I *just* realized this. In fact, I distinctly remember going to a press preview of Big Art 2020 last September and already being fed up by the masks, the hand gel and the social distancing. And that was six months ago! To make things even worse, it wasn’t even certain until the very last moment the entire event could take place at all. Just imagine being curator Anne van der Zwaag and organizing this giant art show and then realizing it might never open to the public! Well, luckily it did. I took tons of photos and then instantly decided to postpone publishing them until now. Why, you may ask? Well, I was busy – so there. I finally managed to find some time last week to go through them and turn them into this blogpost.
Want to be the first to know when this year’s edition of Big Art is going to be? Check out bigart.nu for all the details.
Big Art 2020 – the Highlights
Can I be brutally honest for a second? This work by artist Lise Sore actually annoyed the hell out of me at Big Art. There, I’ve said it. Way too much raw emotion for a self portrait, I thought. But then again, what does that say about me? Does everything in life always have to be hunky dory? And does it mean this is not art I should take a closer look at? Definitely not! I guess art bring out all kinds of emotions: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Besides, you have to admire Lise Sore’s truly amazing drawing skills and the scale of this particular piece.
Right next to Lise Sore’s work was something equally big but a bit more accessible – to me, at least. Color Fall by Rive Roshan consisted of nothing more than three colored curtains and a reflecting pool. A very simple and elegant idea executed perfectly.
I remember interviewing artist Donald Schenkel just before I went to see Star Wars Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker – which I guess makes it December 2019, right? He was really talkative – which definitely is a good thing when you’re interviewing someone – and after we were done, I had to run to catch the bus to the movie theater. Looking back, I wish I’d stayed a bit longer because a) Donald Schenkel is a very talented artist and b) Episode IX truly sucked. The giant multi-colored sticks by the way are a work called horses by Cindy Bakker. What does it all mean? Beats me, but I’m definitely going to look into her work.
So yeah, I can be kind of shallow when it comes to art. Which means that his work by Tamar Frank – an artist who works under the name Lightspace – was perfect for me. Pretty lights, changing colors, all fantastically made and highly Instagramable to boot – what’s not to love? It’s Big Art to a ‘T’.
I can’t remember ever seeing a fighter jet up close, but I bet this cardboard version by Lee McDonald is about the same size. If you look carefully, you can see that the entire thing stands on wheels, which meant the artist could turn it a lot more easily than you would suspect. Impressive stuff – although as Boy George once wisely said, war is stupid.
Another big and colorful work that is right up my alley! I can’t imagine anyone ever buying installation by Jimi Kleinbruinink for their home – and not just because of its size. Dusting it every once in a while would be a b*tch!
Ah yes, refugees. The problem Europeans love to ignore. I’m all for letting them in, especially if they look as cool and fashionable as they do in this Big Art installation by Sjaak Kooij.
My big dream is to win the lottery, quit everything I’m doing, go to art school and become a painter as good as Merel Jansen. I found her painting Lam Gods at Big Art so impressive that I decided to share not one, but two photos with you.
Razzle dazzle is not only an ultracool (and apparently highly effective) ship camouflage technique, it is also the title of this work by Marjolein Witte. Find this particular work too big for your living room? Don’t cry! Marjolein also has some fantastic prints for sale on her website.
When I think of all the graffiti ruining the neighborhood I live in, I’m definitely an angry old man clenching his fist. That being said, I loved this site-specific Big Art mural by Kenneth Letsoin aka @naamloozz.
It’s only a matter of time before we start seeing knock-offs of these melting disco balls on AliExpress, don’t you think. For now, let’s enjoy the original by Rotganzen.
Su Tomesen, we need to talk. It may sound really cool that your Plastic Age tower consists of plastic household items you collected during your trips to Indonesia, Colombia, Uganda and other countries. But when it comes down to it, you a) bought lots of plastic crap and b) you fly way too much and then c) now you think you can hold up mirror to your audience and tell them they’re using too much plastic? I don’t know…is it okay to pollute if it’s art? I’m confused – it’s all so Instagramable!
Is it me or do interactive installations in museums never work? It happened to me at the otherwise excellent Africa Museum just outside Brussels AND at the Rotterdam Wereldmuseum. So frustrating! Imagine my surprise when I found out this collaboration between photographer / illustrator Yani and Devin de Vries called Sirens not only worked but was fantastic as well. Oh, and check out Yani’s Instagram. Now, who is this handsome fella in the foreground?
A statue of a guy who looks like a peanut – what does it all mean? I guess I’ll have to ask artist Jan Steenman some day.
So, whaddaya Vink about this light installation by Peter Vink? I spent some time alone with it and left in awe.
I love going to a museum or an art fair and then look up the names of the artists I liked. Case in point: Clementine Oomes. It was one of the first works I saw when I went to Big Art and things were so overwhelming that I couldn’t take them all all in.
The two boxes that make up Casper Faassen’s Recollecting Temple Guardians made me wonder if the actual temple guardian statues were in there or if it was just a photo. Whatever the answer, it definitely is an interesting work.
Do you ever walk into a space and think to yourself, “God, if ONLY I could change things around a bit and make everything look good”? I guess Jacquie Maria Wessels and you would get along very well then, I guess. She visited a few ugly, run down garages and made them look fabulous in this photo series.
Picture it. Zaandam, 2020. Artist Marian Bijlenga fills a YUGE wall with items like these. I took a close up photo so that you can see the details. Now it’s up to you to imagine the entire thing.
Am I shallow? The first thing that I thought of when I saw this painting by Anya Jansen was Ilhan Omar in a white dress.
This worl by Henny van der Meer was tucked away in a corner, but still made quite an impression on everyone who saw it. Check it out on Henny’s website if you want more details.
It’s big. It’s white. It’s called Troost Erik Buijs.– which means ‘consolation’ in English – and it was made by artist Don’t you think it’s like a cross between an Easter Island statue and a Teletubbie? I’m pretty sure that’s not what the artist had in mind.
Normally when I go to a museum or an art exhibition, I make a point of taking photos of all the little object labels next to all the works I like. Not this time – I guess wearing a mask at an art exhibition threw me off a little. Back home, it took me a while to identify this stunning piece, but I managed to find it! The artist is Bregje Sliepenbeek and boy, do I admire her tenacity! It must have taken eons to this metal curtain. Good thing all her work paid off, because this work was apparently sold to an architecture firm.
What better way to end this blogpost than with this particular work by director Patricia Werneck Ribas. Some things will be all right – well, let’s hope so!
PS: Looking for more Big Art? Check out the photos I took during the 2019 edition!