Albert Heijn Mosque in Graphic Design Museum

January 27th, 2011

Connecting the Past and the Future from Graphic Design Museum on Vimeo.

As of Saturday, January 15, 2011, my work the Albert Heijn Mosque is on display in the Graphic Design Museum (Breda, Netherlands) as part of the exhibit Connecting the Past and the Future, which will be open until May 29, 2011. In the window shop of the museum, the mosque has been rebuilt for the duration of the exhibit. The Albert Heijn Mosque has also been added to the permanent collection of the museum. It’s a great exhibit with lots of different artists, among whom are Rem Koolhaas, Stefan Sagmeister, Maarten Baas, and Kesselskramer. You should definitely go see it!

The Albert Heijn Mosque was built in 2001 in an old supermarket in Amsterdam (NL), with big windows showing the prayers to passersby. The walls of the mosque were covered with Islamic mosaics and the name of Allah, created from the logo of the Dutch most famous supermarket Albert Heijn. The prayers in the mosque were performed by imams who had especially come over from the Al Ahzar Mosque in Cairo, the Vatican of the islamic world. Their prayers were very beautiful to listen to.

The praying Muslims in the neighborhood perceived the mosaic and mosque as truly Islamic. The mosque was packed at every prayer. The passersby saw Muslims praying for a supermarket logo and were confused. Some of the people passing by thought the mosque must have been a political action or a funny advertisement by Albert Heijn, instead of what was really happening; the artwork had turned into a real authentic mosque. During the month Ramadan the prayers were also displayed via a live stream on a video wall, in the gallery Smart Project Space in Amsterdam.

Interview about Albert Heijn Mosque with Mieke Gerritzen, director Graphic Design Museum

Press: BN de stem —  Spits —  Breda Vandaag —  Breda Nieuws

Website ArtistExhibit Graphic Design Museum

Smoke – Maarten Baas

March 7th, 2010

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These exquisite pieces of furniture by Maarten Baas are burned and then finished with a clear epoxy coating. The beauty of the structure of burned wood is preserved in an amazing deep black color that you can probably only get by burning wood. I especially like the baroque chairs, cabinets and chandeliers. The curved lines and ornamental pieces, or what is left of it, go along very well with the structure of the burned wood. The beauty of these pieces of furniture reminds me of roses in a vase when they are in decay. I always love that, when the petals are drying, changing color and curling up. What is very nice as well is that Maarten Baas sells these pieces as designer furniture, which they in fact really are. Great work!

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What a catch – Banksy

December 27th, 2009

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Last week I saw this beautiful piece from London based artist Banksy on the street art blog Wooster Collective.  A young boy is sitting alone fishing on the banks of a river.  What has he caught? It looks like a green graffiti tag has just been fished out from the river. The tag is still dripping drops of green paint, a nice little detail that strengthens the idea of just being pulled out of the river. The drips also make the green moss that grows naturally along on the riverside wall, look like green paint that is flowing into the water. The old wall with its patches and weathered bricks, fits the scene perfectly with the boy dressed as if he lived a 100 years ago. The blue shades along the wall and the ground makes the blue overalls of the boy blend into the scenery. Altogether it gives a sense of nostalgia. Very beautiful is the light that shines on the boy like it was a chiaroscuro painting by Rembrandt, nice work of the photographer (Romanwig). The tag says Banksy but it looks like it was made by someone else, certainly if you don’t know Banksy. Either way, it’s very creative.

Store upside down – Victor & Rolf

December 27th, 2009

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In 2005 fashion designers Victor and Rolf created a very inventive boutique in Milan to showcase their clothes. The Versailles style interior is build completely upside down. At first glance, it seems like the interior was just turned upside down, but the elements of the original ceiling are cleverly used to make a new logic that fits the ground. The archways are transformed into benches and chandeliers change into flowers sprouting out of the floor. The ceiling is made of a oak parquet that is normally used for the floor. Victor and Rolf executed their idea very consequently. The front door is upside down as are the chairs, the doormat is on the ceiling, and the cornice moldings for the top of the wall now outlines the floor. Every element of the room seems as if the room itself is turned on its head.

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What I like about this artwork is that it is completely made out of elements, patterns and structures that normally make the interior of a house. It looks like everything was already there, but the elements are slightly changed and rearranged and now make up a whole new reality. The boutique is beautiful and makes you feel like you are in a fairytale. In the store a TV that is turned upside down displays a Victor and Rolf runway show. I wonder if they also put their shirts and pants upside down on the shelves?

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The work of Victor and Rolf might be inspired by Henry Roltair, an architect who built houses and their interiors upside down, for example at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900 (le manoir a l’envers).

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Address:
Via Saint Andrea 14
20121 Milan, Italy

PIG 05049 – Christien Meindertsma

December 13th, 2009

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Dutch artist Christien Meindertsma made this beautiful book about all the products that were made from one pig, nr. 05049. She spend 3 years following all the body parts of this pig around the globe and documented all 187 end products at their true scale. The book is classified by the pig’s bodyparts,  for example one chapter describes all the products that were made from the nose of pig 05049. The content and structure of the book are logically following the initial choice of the artist. PIG 05049 reveales the hidden realities of our modern world. Very refreshing. It remindend me of the book Exactitudes by Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek.

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PIG 05049 shows that it is very helpful for an artist to work within boundaries, especially when these boundaries are real and not just metaphysical. Limitations make creative solutions possible. If you wonder were all the ingredients from a package of chewing gum come from and your initial research shows that one ingredient comes from a pig, you could start wondering what else is made from this pig? If you than dare to limit your research to this one pig and you are ready to spend 3 years following all body parts around the globe to document all the end products, you can truly call yourself an artist. This requires talent, guts, faith and total commitment, but that’s not what makes this work exceptional. The key to the quality of this work is the choice to work within the bounderies of a single pig.

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Dexter

December 6th, 2009

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This highly addictive new TV show is about Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department, who is a serial killer at the same time. I won’t say too much, you just have to watch the show. In the Netherlands, it is broadcasted by the VPRO. I saw the first 3 seasons in the States and I can’t wait for the 4th season which has just finished and is said to be very good. To me, this show is about the true nature of an artist and all the efforts it takes to be one. Striving for total perfection, beauty, completely irrational and passionate, and although it all makes sense, nobody will ever understand. Do I need to say that the killing is just a metaphor?

The Bird’s Nest, Olympic Stadium Beijing

November 29th, 2009

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Architects Herzog and de Meuron created an exceptionally beautiful olympic stadium in Beijing based on the way a bird builds its nest. They made the stadium look like they started with some random construction lines, just as a bird starts building its nest with some random twigs. It is hard to perceive any regularity in the structure of the stadium, and at the same time, it looks completely logical and beautiful, just like a bird’s nest.

The organic character of the Bird’s Nest is unseen in modern architecture. In modern architecture, a construction line is never random, but always follows the most logical (strongest) way to create the desired building. With the Bird’s Nest stadium, the construction is not following, but leading the design. It looks like the stadium wasn’t build, but just grew. The architects made the regularity almost impossible to see. I believe the Olympic Stadium of Beijing is a genuine piece of art. Written in a new language, based on existing languages of bird’s nests and soccer stadiums, but translated and applied into a new context, and not to forget with a great sense of beauty.

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