Hans van Houwelingen ‘Until it stops resembling itself’

Solo exhibition

24 September thru 11 December 2011
Location: Hogewal 1-9, The Hague
Opening: Friday 23 September 2011, 5 pm
Opening hours: Wed. thru Sun. 12 noon - 5 pm
Curator: Mihnea Mircan

Sunday 11 December 2011, 3 pm
Finissage + boekpresentatie 'Undone'
With guided tour Arno van Roosmalen, performance Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield and presentation Vincent van Gerven Oei (the text of his 'intervention' can be downloaded here).

Stroom School side program
Guided tours and discursive events.
In addition to members of the Stroom team the tours will be given by Mariko Peters (30 October), Florian Göttke (20 November) and Jeanne van Heeswijk (27 November).

Click here for pdf

Photo albums on Facebook
Thorbecke leaves Amsterdam * Spinoza in transit * Statues arrive at Stroom * Museum Night

Stroom Den Haag proudly presents a solo exhibition by Hans van Houwelingen, one of the leading contemporary artists explicitly engaged in the field of art and public space. His thought-provoking designs and proposals reflect a novel and critical view on the contemporary monument. Especially for the exhibition the statues of Spinoza, the famous philosopher, and of Thorbecke, the founding father of modern Dutch democracy, will temporarily leave their pedestals in The Hague and Amsterdam respectively, in order to meet each other at Stroom Den Haag. Within walking distance of the center of Dutch political power and under the watchful eye of these liberal thinkers Van Houwelingen will address the way we think about art, public space and the power structures that impact both.

A variety of assumptions and strategies that define the way we conceptualize or relate to monuments come under scrutiny in the work and texts of Hans van Houwelingen. The artist deconstructs the hypocrisy, fallacies and political control in today's culture of remembrance - the inflation and hidden agendas of gestures of commemoration in public space. The exhibition focuses on Van Houwelingen's proposal for a national Monument to the Guest Worker, on his work "Secret Path", realized at Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen, and the "Thorbeckemonument", proposed by the artist for The Hague. Among the shared concerns of these three projects, one noteworthy trait is an economy of the monumental genre, whereby the artist insists that new monuments need not be built, but that existing statues and markers can be looked at again, de-familiarized, engaged together with the histories they represent or silence, rearranged in a new urban syntax and a new critical configuration: as in a shifting, puzzle-like image of ourselves.

National Monument to the Guest Worker
His recent proposal for a 'National Monument to the Guest Worker' in Rotterdam zooms in on the political motives and implications of a monument paying tribute to the social role of immigrant workers after World War II. Van Houwelingen proposed to restore the Bijenkorf Construction by Naum Gabo, on the Coolsingel. The sculpture is in dire disrepair, and the experts to execute the restoration were to be recruited from among the descendants of first-generation guest workers. >> read more

Thorbecke Monument
What's done ... can be undone!
The Thorbecke statue from Amsterdam and the Spinoza statue from The Hague are connected by a proposal that Hans van Houwelingen did in 2008 under the title What's done ... can be undone! to swap the two monuments. >> read more

Secret Path Along Which Death Escaped
For this work Hans van Houwelingen asked people to donate their old tombstones. Of the more than two hundred recycled tombstones he received, he made a winding path of about 250 meters long around the Fort Vijfhuizen. >> read more

The exhibition takes into account the impossibility of excising such works from the contexts for which they were designed, of fully ‘representing' them - and publicness - in an art institution. Instead of direct representation, the exhibition proposes a reflection on temporal or social distance, on the passage of time and the ownership of symbols, reverting the gaze that monuments cast upon us. It will consist of a number of video projections, making tangible the spatial embedding, social effect and dynamic surroundings of the monuments, as well as of discursive events spread out over the duration of the show.

Publication 'Undone
The exhibition ‘Until it stops resembling itself' forms a diptych with a book on Van Houwelingen's recent projects, titled 'Undone' (published by Jap Sam Books). The official book launch will take place on December 11 at Stroom Den Haag. See Stroom School side program.

The publication complements the scarcity of visual information with a multiplicity of critical perspectives on the three projects. It aims to inscribe Van Houwelingen's work in an international debate about memory and communality, with the generous help of eminent authors such as Julia Bryan-Wilson, Mark Jarzombek, Brian Dillon, John Heijmans, Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield, Gerald Raunig, David Riff, Jonas Staal and Marina Vishmidt. The publication is realized in collaboration with Extra City - Kunsthal Antwerpen, which will also host an exhibition by Hans van Houwelingen together with Jonas Staal, from 18/11/2011 to 8/1/2012.

Curator Mihnea Mircan
The exhibition is curated by Mihnea Mircan, artistic director of Extra City - Kunsthal Antwerp. In 2008 he curated Since we last spoke about monuments at Stroom Den Haag.

nu monument
The exhibition by Hans van Houwelingen is a continuation of Stroom's 'nu monument' program (2007 - 2010), about the (im)possibility of a contemporary monument.

Series 'Reference Points'
The exhibition by Hans van Houwelingen is the second one in the series Reference Points, dedicated to artists and artists' collectives who play a directive role in the debate about art and the public domain. The first exhibition, by Het Observatorium, took place in 2009.

The exhibition is made possible by:
City of The Hague, City of Amsterdam, Mondriaan Foundation, Extra City (Antwerp), Volendammer Vishandel J. Bootsman (Rotterdam), World Trade Center (Rotterdam), De Bijenkorf (Rotterdam), Jaap Karelse (The Hague), St. Ondernemers Rembrandtplein (Amsterdam), Hotel The Veteran (Amsterdam), Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen, Pro Acoustic (The Hague), Stickel & van Trigt (Haarlem).


Spinoza and Thorbecke at Stroom Den Haag
photo: Johan van Gemert
Live video images of 'Secret Path' at Stroom Den Haag
photo: Rob Kollaard
Cover of Hans van Houwelingen's publication 'Undone'
photo: design: Metahaven
Live images of 'National Monument to the Guest Worker' in Rotterdam
photo: Rob Kollaard (courtesy Stroom Den Haag)
Sluipweg, Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen
photo: © Hans van Houwelingen
Live images of empty Spinoza pedestal at Stroom Den Haag
photo: Rob Kollaard
31 August 2011: Spinoza and Thorbecke on their way to Stroom
photo: Hans van Houwelingen
31 August 2011: Spinoza and Thorbecke on their way to Stroom
photo: Hans van Houwelingen
31 August 2011: Thorbecke leaves Amsterdam
photo: Stroom Den Haag
'Bijenkorf Construction' by Naum Gabo
Sluipweg, Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen
photo: © Hans van Houwelingen
Invitation Stroom Den Haag
Workshop Thorbecke: Thorbecke in transit to The Hague
photo: © Hans van Houwelingen
Workshop Thorbecke: Spinoza in transit to Amsterdam
photo: © Hans van Houwelingen