Rotterdam / exhibitions overview review

Vivianne Sassen, Untitled 2004, winner Prix de Rome 2007

The program in Rotterdam looked exciting this month: Prix de Rome (the Dutch Turner Prize), residency artists in Tent, the architecture biennale, Le Corbusier in the Architecture Institute and the graduation exhibitions of the art academy, a short review:

Witte de With Institute / Prix de Rome
Prix de Rome is the biggest art prize in the Netherlands, awarding the best artist under 35 with a loot of EUR 35.000! A promise for a fantastic art experience so I go and check Witte de With first. This year however the prize seems to be the product of an anemic compromise. On the one hand by splitting the exhibition in two, one part in Rotterdam, the other in Amsterdam (this is such a pathetic discussion between the first and second city of Holland). On the other hand by a very politically correct assembling of all disciplines: photography, installation, video, drawing etc.
However, the reason for this years’ mediocre quality could be much darker: the absence of true visionary talents.
Oops! Please proceed to next review.

Tent. / Wrong time, Wrong place
No reason to panic, I move on to Tent, a fresh and dynamic art institute who might have found the solution for the above mentioned problem: import artists! In agriculture we get our season workers from Eastern Europe, as in construction, so why not try the same with artists!
Well… The overview of 21 artists who stayed for a working period in artists residencies in Rotterdam is messy at best, pointless and completely lacking quality at worst.
I’m getting worried! If not abroad either, where else can we find good art?!

Willem de Kooning Academy / graduation show
So I turn my gaze hopeful towards the next and upcoming generation of artists. Unfortunately, no big venue was available for the graduation show this year (funny, ’cause I could think of two -mentioned above – myself). Therefore the art department was presented in their studios. And not for the worse, the exhibition is diverse, fresh and headstrong. The usual pitfall for graduation artists is the cliché, thirteen-in-a-dozen works, which this years students have gracefully avoided. Ruben Dario produced six beautiful photographs of the not-so-sustainable preparations of the next World exhibition nearby Shanghai, Wendy Bos makes small, poetic paintings and I-didn’t-catch-his-name very crafty weird paintings.
Well done guys! Thanks for saving the day!

Le Corbusier and the Architecture Biennale reviews will follow shortly


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