Opening this afternoon in Harare

exhibitions, writing

at the First Floor Gallery 17:30rotating object

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HIFA 2014 day 5

writing, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has great clouds. Low flying puffs of vapour twisting in the sky. They reach high over the tree tops but are close enough for you to be in contact with them, like messengers from heaven. It is my belief that artists are influenced by their land. Fly over the Spanish landscape and you see the rugged canvas of the Spanish painter. The Dutch painter has the ordered lines. Of course I am generalizing, but a sky filled with endless blobs of beautiful clouds must have some impact on the people.clouds in Zimbabwe

HIFA 2014 day 5

In the HIFA green pavilion, reserved for the artists (as in musician artist?) we sat and compared football management with the arts market. All the Zimbabwean contemporary artists know someone personally that has exhibited at the Venice Art Biennale. Meaning that there are many Zimbabwean contemporary artists who have exhibited in Venice, or there are few contemporary Zimbabwean  artists that everyone knows. Being so close to the grand art market unsettles the  artists, as would happen if a hand full of kids would be sent to Rio to play in the world cup football. My position is detached from the art market, although I must confess, when living in Brussels, we were neighbours with Angel Vergara the artist who represented the French Community of Belgium at the 54th Venice Biennale. But when we spoke, it was never about art nor football.

 

HIFA 2014 day 3

Utsi Mutsi, writing, Zimbabwe

A month ago while preparing for a solo show in Harare, I was finishing off one of the sculptures. My chisel slipped off the wood and dug deep into my little finger. In the ER they told me I cut my tendon. The hospital staff on hearing I was an artist arranged the best hand and wrist surgeon in Holland to sew the two strands of tendon back together. The recovery will be long.

injured, cintiq digital drawing tabletMy 3d work clearly stopped, but with one hand I could still draw the Utsi Mutsies (that is what my son Mickey and I call these imaginary creations). I used a Cintiq digital drawing tablet drawing directly on the screen and so creating the prints for the show.

HIFA Day 3

In the morning I go to the first floor gallery,  known for its innovative programming, to hang up 2 rotating objects and 2 drawings. Yutaka Hirose and Yuki Kamiya come to visit the galley and Yutaka takes my photograph using a very large format camera for his 100s Zimbabwe project.

At 17:00 the show opens with a good crowd of people

detail of Terrence Musekiwa’s sculpture ‘fruit tree’

one-piece cold formed body featuring a black oxide finish

K_Van: one-piece cold formed body featuring a black oxide finish

Rain

writing, Zimbabwe

mondriaan fondsIn April I had met Valerie Kabov during the Art & Dialogue course in Paris. I had lived in  Harare in 1994, she is living in Harare now and runs the First floor gallery space in Harare. In May we met again, briefly, in Amsterdam, to discuss an exhibition. Valerie had already made contacts with the Mondriaan foundation in Amsterdam for funding.

Harare, the rain season has started, I had arrived the night before. During my first walk in the city my eyes would well op with tears. 18 years is a long time to be away, and my sight triggered by so many memories left my brain scrambling to find the right emotions. It is like a dream and not. The past firmly rooted in my memories has to come to terms. The streets and buildings have changed. The songs of the birds seem to be the same. The cell phones and the air time is new. The smell of wax on the floor is old, the cream doughnuts  seem to be larger. The street boys that were 10 years old should now be 28.

Day 1 Arrival Beijing International ART Biennale 2012

Beijing International Art Biennale, writing

The first thing on my list would be, as I had promised myself, to take a swim in the pool of the international Beijing Hotel. After a long walk in the hotel, in sandals and a tracksuit, I found the hotel swimming pool in the basement with 3 assistants waiting for me. I reported myself at the desk. A locker key was produced and went from one assistant to me to the other and at the lockers/changing room a towel was wrapped around my waste, my sandals replaced for slippers, then another assistant guided me to the swimming pool through a labyrinth of passages. The swimming pool was large, at the far end a life guard was perched high in his chair guarding a solitary swimmer in the center lane. I choose the side lane, freestyle, breaststroke and to catch my breath a lazy backstroke looking at the painted clouds on the ceiling. After some time the other swimmer ended his swim and left. Now I was the solitary swimmer save guarded by the young man in the high chair. I thought to myself what an odd job?. The quiet ripples of the waves I created where gently caught and damped by the swimming pool float lines.

swimming pool float lines

As I went up and down the length of the water I focused on orientating myself, regarding the pool’s edge, timing myself before I would hit the side, forth pillar, the float lines changing from white to yellow to red, the clouded ceiling edge would end, time to reach out and touch the edge of the pool, turn, push off the wall with my feet. A bit of crawl, then breaststroke, my ears blocked by the bathing cap, the sounds of water echoing of the walls and ceiling as if I were in a cave. After half hour of swimming or so, I got out of the pool and dried myself with the towel. Putting my spectacles on I thought the guard looked so bored he might be near to sleeping. I felt a pity for him remembering the internal battle against sleep in lectures about leverage and force. Now I observed the guard carefully, picking out a reference point on the chair to determine if his body was slowing sagged and crumbling into sleep as he breathed in and out. It seemed as if he was asleep. On turning myself to collect my gear, I heard a loud clatter. He had fallen off the chair. I did not spin around to look, but gave him some time to regain his dignity. But when I did turn, he was not on the chair, nor on the ground but had hidden himself behind a pile of deckchairs.

That day I met up with Nasser Palangi, Elmar Peintner, Linda Verkaaik, MD.Jalal Uddin, Bishwajit Goswami, Khalid Mahmood, A.S.M.Mustafa Jamal Akbar, Robert Evgeni BaramovMichael Lyons, Laurin McCrackenSidi Mohammed Mansouri Idrissi, Edy Asmara Purta, Uuk Paramahita, Bambang Juliarta, Made Gunawan Le Tran Anh Tuan, Nguyen Dinh Vu, Ly Truc Son, Nguyen Khac Chinh.

[if any of the artists have a website that I do not have please write me. If you do not have one, I recommend you should make one. WordPress offers a free service, or blogger or many others.]

Summary, I object

Art& dialogue

Day 5 Art & Dialogue

One night I managed to get to the cinema. I walked for about an hour, I needed to get away from the intense internal dialogue about art, and longed for a movie that required little thought and that would last over two hours. A science fiction blockbuster. The plot was straight forward: they came and we beat them.

“Intense Proximity”, La Triennale 2012

Art& dialogue

Field trip 4Art & Dialogue

waiting for the barbarians

On April 19, 2012, Paris’ newly renovated Palais de Tokyo opened La Triennale 2012 contemporary art exhibit and the Art & Dialogue group was invited.