Voorwerk 5

Voorwerk 5 was new director Bartomeu Mari’s first exhibition at Witte de With. The exhibition included works by Dutch artist Yvonne Dröge-Wendel (1991), Belgian artist Christoph Fink (1963), Israeli artist Sigalit Landau (1969), and Spanish artist Ana Prada (1965).

Voorwerk 5 was the fifth exhibition in the recurrent series. Voorwerk, meaning preliminary work, is Witte de With’s annual exhibition of younger artists. As a series, it seeks to provide the first substantial presentation of works by relatively unknown artists. Within the art world’s tendency to formulate relationships, Voorwerk is a peripheral event, captivating because of the heterogeneous character of the work. There are no common denominators or themes in these exhibitions, rather the artists’ works and ideas are left open for comparison.

Yvonne Dröge-Wendel investigates the relationship between people and things. She considers objects indispensable extensions of the human body; without them man cannot exist. Dröge affirmed this relationship by marrying a piece of furniture and assuming its brand name, Wendel, next to her own. For Witte de With, Dröge-Wendel created the installation Wooden Sticks. It presented a heterogeneous collection of pictures of people holding sticks, made either during her trips to various countries or reproduced from magazines and art history books. These pictures all had one thing in common: they focused on the contact point between man and stick, revealing the object as an extension of the hand.

Trips by plane, train, bicycle and walks through such cities as New York, Brussels, Venice and Rotterdam form the starting point for the works of Christoph Fink. He designs ingenious systems to document his traversed routes, supplementing the usual place markers with less stable data, such as chance meetings, variable weather conditions, temporal traces of smell or sound and personal musings. All notes are accompanied by precise time indications, resulting in what the artist calls a “cartography of the moment”. Fink’s drawings deny the aims of official cartography; his calculations don’t provide a factual and orderly registration of the landscape, but delight in the complexity of personal experience.

The work of Sigalit Landau comments on the social and political implications of the notion of territory. She builds installations from household goods and building construction materials. Her tents and shelters offer no protection, but bear the marks of destruction and conflict, as seen among communities which cannot achieve social integration and are left adrift, as in Landau’s native country, Israel. In Sandblasting Lighthouse, for example, which Landau created especially for Voorwerk 5, the lighthouse has lost its lantern and looks like a stranded bark; it is no longer a landmark but a shelter wrenched open, “exposed”.

Ana Prada extracts inconspicuous consumer articles, such as panties, paper bags and plastic knives, from their familiar household environment. Each object is pulled apart, examined and cut to reveal its hidden visual possibilities. She then pastes or tapes a multitude directly onto the exhibition space walls, incorporating them into a sculptural configuration. Through these performative interventions, Prada imparts everyday objects with an unexpected yet subtle poetry.



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