The Poetic Condition | De Dichterlijke Aard

Curated by Sonja van Kerkhoff

Backwal Gallery, 99 Atkinson Ave, Ōtaki
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Brit Bunkley | Michelle Backhouse | Hohepa | Brenda Tuuta | Adrienne Spratt | Thom Vink
Pietertje van Splunter | Sanne Maes | Channa Boon | Anne Wellmer
Martje Zandboer | Sonja van Kerkhoff
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Bird of Prey, video + drawing by Sanne Maes,
The Hague.

The Poetic Condition | De Dichterlijke Aard looks at today's big questions as an aesthetic exercise where these artists from The Netherlands and Aotearoa / New Zealand, explore, respond or extend the theme of our human nature and the relevance of the aesthetic of poetic intervention to the self, socio-political or society. They use a wide range of media and approaches to 'big questions' (who are we, how do we live, how do we think about others or relate to the news), so that the exhibition as a whole is like an installation encompassing diversities of vision.

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The Speed of Dark, 3 cardboard models + shelf,
by Thom Vink, The Hague.

Thom Vink’s works take a more material versus human spirit perspective, where architectural models and photographs create a composite humane aesthetic, while Sanne Maes’ self-portrait video/drawing connects the self with the natural world.

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Et in Arcadia ego, 29 minute video,
by Channa Boon, The Hague.
Still at 22 min.

Some artworks are poetic selections relating to political events, such as Channa Boon's video, "Et in Arcadia ego" filmed during Georgia's first elections or Brit Bunkley's replica of the Alice Lake Tower the last remanent of the famed New Zealand psychiatric unit which closed in part due to a whistle blower who spoke out about the poor treatment and abuse of the patients.

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A Red Lemon, still from the 9 min 54 sec, animation.
Soundscape + text selection by Anne Wellmer, The Hague.
Text excerpt from The Writing Notebooks by
Jewish-French, Algerian-born poststructuralist feminist, Hélène Cixous.
Voice: Stephie Büttrich-Kolman
Animation: Harriët van Reek. Drawings: Geerten Ten Bosch

Others take images associated with 'the other' culture or people and relate them to the personal, such as Anne Wellmer's videos. The animation, "A Red Lemon" is a surreal exploration in a mutating organic inner and outer 'strange-scape' where eery sounds and an evocative text complement the sense of biological galatical worlds.

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Warm Memories, photographic emulsion on tea bags
by Martje Zandboer, The Hague.

Martje Zandboer's suspended miniatures, which contain family photographs from the Dutch East Indies, mix Dutch colonial history with the theme of the personal and intergenerational. Tea, a Dutch colonial import is coated with an emulsion bearing images taken by and of her white Dutch grandmother who was born and bred in then Dutch Indonesia.

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Cleaning the Air, still from a video of a sculpture-machine by Pietertje van Splunter, The Hague.

Pietertje van Splunter's videos are like a poetics on the mundane: housework.
Her brooms seem animated by an unearthly force and in the video, Vaat (Washer), the constant stacking of the differing tribes of kitchen utensils suggests a game with secret rules. In using humour with the overkill her videos are reminders that the everyday domestic, is also a microcosm of the amusing, perhaps necessary banality of habit.

Sonja van Kerkhoff's photographic works pose questions focussed on an object-subject that is extended beyond the domestic, where an image of a baby is extended into the three dimensional incorporating philosophical slogans.

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