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Laughing about ourselves January 23, 2009

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I had a big smile on my face when I red about the installation of the Czech artist David Cerny in Brussels at the European Parliament.

The eight-tonne mosaic is held together by snap-out plastic parts similar to those used in modeling kits. It represents (almost) all of the European countries in a sarcastic(?)/ humoristic way, revealing the national stereotypes.

Entropa portrays Romania as a Dracula theme-park and France as a country on strike. The Netherlands is shown as series of minarets submerged by a flood – a possible reference to the nation’s simmering religious tensions. Latvia is covered with mountains all over. Germany is shown as a network of motorways vaguely resembling a swastika, while the UK – criticised by some for being one of EU’s most eurosceptic members – is absent from Europe altogether.

The 16-square-metre work was installed to mark the start of the six-month Czech presidency of the EU. There has already been an angry reaction to the piece from many official persons.

I think the Czech artist has created a good test we have to go through to see if we are capable to laugh about ourselves.

And, another example- closer to my daily life.

Two of my classmates Mia Melvaer and Eva Vermeulen did a very interesting research in Design Academy about the gap between Dutch and international students. They asked students to draw “the others”.

Dutch students drawn by international students:

And international students drawn by Dutch …So many of the details that are pointed out are true…!

I think it’s a very healthy thing to learn- to smile about oneself.

Cheers.

Heartland. January 21, 2009

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I recently visited Heartland exhibition in the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. It is a multidisciplinary project that focuses on art and music of the geographical heart of the United States of America: the so called Heartland. Some of the artists were invited to Netherlands to produce their work here especially for the exhibition. The exhibition was purposely planned at the same time as the American president elections. It’s the time when we, Europeans are more focused on the USA than usual. Quite a few of the works caught my attention and even fascinated me.

Here are some pictures from the show.

Magnum photographer Alec Soth.

Beautiful map painting by Peter Friedi.

Marjetica Potrc. Reconstruction of an existing building.

Backside of the house. Rain water reservoir.

Drawing by Marjetica Potrc.

Part of a serie of amazing leather and textile “paintings” by Caro Jackson.

Matthew Day Jackson. “Who does not learn from his mistakes, has to repeat them all over again”.

A fascinating installation “Rug” with mirrors by Greely Myatt.

Bio tank. January 12, 2009

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A fragment from the beautiful huge wall drawing by Dan Perjovschi at the entrance of Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (Netherlands).