dinsdag 24 maart 2009


In the ‘Audax Textiel Museum Tilburg’ is until June 14th, 2009, staged a modest but revealing exhibition on the state of the art of knitting: Knitted Worlds, A Call to Arms. This exhibition by Suzan Rüssler, curator of the same museum marks the threshold of a revaluation of this handicraft, which is in the last decades associated with a rather dull and old fashioned craft, only carried out as pastime by a few not the most fashioned old ladies. As if it had lost all its fashionable vigor what it had had earlier in the seventies of the bygone century.
Knitting had lost its appealing attraction and didn’t feed the imagination of artists or designers any more. Only in social fieldwork and certain feministic groups sometimes, knitting still played a role as a symbol of alliance and solidarity.
In this exhibition, not everything touches the right string, but it marks a shift. As a means of expression, linking in with its rich history and connotations, knitting has it all. It was only recent, when I was at the symposium The Curators in Witte De With (Rotterdam), where I helped out Ann Demeester, director of De Appel (Amsterdam), to cut the thread of her knitting-work, so she could change color and relaxed continue her needle-work while listening to the interview with Seth Siegelaub.So is it or isn’t it a women’s thing? Of course it has a rich history in the arts and crafts movement of the sixties and seventies, where it was eagerly used just because of its connected with social politics and feminism. But it still puts up artistic questions when mixed with actual topics like conservation and sustainability again, which are in the centre of our todays attention. Artists always have had a keen eye for these kind of lines, which like a ‘file rouge’ runs through time. It is a fact that there are even knitting interventions in urban public spaces, like fore instance in last year’s ZXZW festival in Tilburg. Knitting as an act of intervention! I am happily awaiting the New Gorilla Girls, who will pick-up this act of resistance to the bright and shiny male driven art world of the shiny naked steels of Jeff Koons and bling bling armored pieces by Damien Hirsts. These beautiful balaclava’s (Avata's) would come in quite handy and change any act of violence in a smooth and artistic intervention of feminine power. This modest exhibition in Tilburg, reveals this new potent possibility of the gentle power and concentrated attention of this barely by artist and designers forgotten craft: Knitting-it into a New World. We can use some change..., can't we? But don't let it come a Brave New World, like it already is far to much. And what is in the drawers of the table up above, is for you, yourself to discover. It explains the downfall of the 'plastic surgery' after too much of ER and VR of our photo shopped realities and tellies. A man again, this doctor 'Mad-lock'.

letterpress: works shown on the exhibition by Jimini Hignett; Gift for Dr. Matlock and Chrystl Rijkeboer; Avatar Martine/Roël/Anouska.

woensdag 18 maart 2009



The artist Rachel Koolen (1979, Rotterdam) continues her ongoing artistic research of the history of the Dutch Social Security System appearance and imagery, in building a large scale installation throughout the exhibition space of Artis Den Bosch. She succeeded in transforming this space in collaboration with the German architect and colleague Andreas Müller.

In the exhibition space of Artis Den Bosch 'Technocratic Openness, Free Aggression', Rachel Koolen creates an special intervention which uses photography, video and display strategies to enroll and endorse a personal comment on the bureaucratic phenomenon’s of the Dutch social service institution. The Institution which is mend to give support to people on the raffle’s of Dutch Society. Being an artist, depending on income support, Koolen has also endured to participate and play part in this nowadays bureaucracy service system.

The artist focuses on the “Centrum voor Werk en Inkomen” as the central location and the focused subject in her work. In “Centrum voor Werk en Inkomen” are to day the so called ‘labour squares’; the located offices where the registration desks of unemployed workers is integrated with the execution of the supervision services, as well as that of the support projects and the regular contact meetings with clients are held. Services to secure rules and arrangements which lead the unemployed workers to new jobs.

These places, with their present structures which they derived from nowadays trade and service industries, adopted a fancy business-like character. High lighting, transparent and mirrored glass walls, open service desk aria’s and picture rich marketing and publicity campaigns’ supports the clients vision of immediate admission to these support services.

Koolen as an artist, examined and investigated the development and history of how the Dutch Social Security service system presented itself through the sixties, seventies and eighties and exposes the sources on which they based their present policies.

In an enclosed network of connections she exposes these layers, deconstructs and shows how these changes in presentation evokes a changes in the appearance of the bureaucracy itself, still forcing up even higher levels of control on their clients in a smooth and bright surrounding. In this transformation in which bureaucracy gave itself a pimped outlook, not everything looks likes what it is. In an even subtle artistic play Rachel Koolen brings to surface that what gently threatens to submerge.

Artis Den Bosch is open to visitors Thursday till Sunday, 1 pm till 5 pm.
The exhibition Technocratic Openness, Free Aggression closes on 26th of April 2009.
http://www.artisdenbosch.nl/ (Shown pictures are taken at the exhibition)