There, I Fixed It: Krijn Giezen

13 March thru 15 May 2011
Location: Hogewal 1-9, The Hague
Survey page There, I Fixed It: click here

'There, I Fixed It' refers to a mentality, a way of looking at materials and problems that is both bold and unexpected. Unruly solutions to urgent problems.

Krijn Giezen (1939-2011) was a man of the coast. He was born in Noordwijk aan Zee, and lived and worked secluded in a Spartan castle on the coast of Normandy. His art grew out of an attitude towards the world, which showed a strong commitment to nature and human activity. His artistic practice did not only result in tangible products, but could equally consist of setting a change of mentality in motion. The scale on which he realized his work ranged from tiny to tremendous, from a fish grill to a watchtower, from a mail order catalogue from which products could be bought to the visualization of the Haagse Beek.

The anarchistic humor of Fluxus, with an emphasis on play and self-devised rules, formed the basis of many of his actions and objects. In his work he linked the robustness of nature with the inventiveness of farmers, fishermen and craftsmen. Recipes, instructions, wear and tear were noted by him and incorporated in visual documentation. Nostalgia was not his driving force, but he longed to preserve and revive the usefulness and the essence of nature and human activity. Alex de Vries aptly formulated it in 2007 for

"Giezen is a beachcomber of our human existence. He collects what we think we need to discard, in order to give new meaning to it. Everything we want to put into the ground, he brings out. The possibilities of reuse that he shows are simple and directly enforceable. In that sense, they are so inventive that no one other than Krijn Giezen could have imagined them. It is a matter of not thinking the case through too far: stop at the most obvious and give that a transferable form. Each work of Krijn Giezen thereby becomes an observation post to look back at our lives."

The exhibition shows an installation (from 1966) that consists of several elements. The work comes from the collection of the Audax Textile Museum in Tilburg. There is a tapestry - an assemblage with the title Indian Cress - on which a horse blanket is sewn, a cotton-bound booklet, a photo book and a series of framed black and white photographs that show textile articles during use. Wear and tear, stains tell the story of how these objects have been used. Central to this installation are the repairs and changes that people have conducted themselves.

Indian Cress also refers to an important component of Giezen's work: the everyday uses of his work itself. Many objects he made, conceived, designed were for sale via  a mailorder catalogue so that they could be used at home: a ring that you could draw with, a bench where you could sit on or use to slice a ham, or a little oven to smoke fish in. The horse blanket could be ordered for 450 guilders, with your horse's name written on the side.

In addition, Lynne van Rhyn, assistant curator modern and contemporary art at the RKD, the Netherlands Institute for Art History, has selected material from the RKD archives. There will be a number of artist books on display, pictures and invitation cards that all bear the distinctive handwriting of the artist and are examples of his wish to create everything himself.

At the opening of the exhibition on March 12, 2011, Simon Delobel (curator of the retrospective exhibition of Krijn Giezen at the Verbeke Foundation in Belgium) said that Giezen deliberately chose existing materials, all he ever wanted to use was already there. Waste was his materials.

repairs and inventions that bear the stamp of a profession.

a blacksmith replaces the broken wooden door of his cabinet with a metal door. a doctor repairs the staircase railing with leukoplast.
all these combinations of material are of interest to me.
also the small inventions that people make. the butcher who moves his freezer on a piece of rind and the farmer who makes a horse blanket of two oats bags.

- Giezen on his work in the exhibition catalog accompanying the exhibition Vijf Kunstenaars that took place in 1975 at De Hallen in Haarlem.

In Memoriam Krijn Giezen
Mailorder catalogue and Haagse Beek: