Flowers are part of our story and our history
In the midst of our global communal quarantine, our gallery artists have returned to their studios and archives, to their gardens or sheds, to their rooms. Some have created new work that resonates in this current moment. Other artists have turned to their older work, to rethink, to hold against the light, to value with different eyes. All their works we are sharing with all of you will deepen the reminder to find safety, inspiration and love at home. We have invited our artist to select the 'flower' in their work. All artists are celebrated in their field. The sparkling exhibition will partly exist offline and partly online. New work made during this unprecedented period of global isolation will offer moments of true joy and reflection.
From the May 30th, every week, a new work will be presented of our gallery artists, here on our website, and shared with the respected platforms such as Artsy, Ocula, Artnet, ArtBrussels, ArtParis, Photo London, AmsterdamArt, Gallery Viewer, See All This and on our pages instagram.com/flatlandgallery and facebook.com/flatlandgallery.
Jasper de Beijer, Kim Boske, Alice Browne, Gioia de Bruijn, Katharine Cooper, Ruud van Empel, Exactitudes, Johan Grimonprez, Stelios Karamanolis, Hendrik Kerstens, Jeroen Robert Kramer, Jocelyn Lee, Stanislaw Lewkowicz, James Mollison, Erwin Olaf, Pinar&Viola, Anoek Steketee, Martin Usborne, Paolo Ventura, David Verbeek and Guy Yanai.
Starting with Untitled by Stelios Karamanolis (1977, Athens) who creates a world full of strange figures and things to which we are not fully attuned to. The lack of pictorial depth, typical within ceramics, wall paintings and relief sculpture of the antiquity, reinforces and acknowledges the artist’s own ancestry.
The work Untitled by Stelios Karamanolis, first work for the exhibition Flowers are part of our story and our history, has also been selected for project Unlocked/Reconnected; an initiative that brings together a wide range of 'houses for art': museums, institutes for presentation, galleries, artists' initiatives and corporate collections. Participating institutes are among others Museum Belvédère, De Pont, Boijmans van Beuningen, Van Gogh Museum and Kröller-Müller Museum. The point of departure for Unlocked/Reconnected is the idea of solidarity, the will to reflect collectively on what home is. Unlocked/Reconnected underlines the importance of art and culture in this period of global crisis.
Guy Yanai’s painting Small Gilbao Plant (2019) is this week’s selected work. In Guy Yanai’s painting, color underlies form. The subject of this work, a well-kept artificial houseplant, exudes a melancholic feeling. But through the distress and tension evident on the surface we perceive a sense of liberty. The subject matter of the plant is deconstructed into flattened and multilayered constructs and through its limitless, strong, colors expresses an optimism that ultimately prevails.
This week’s addition is the staggering work Collage #5 (2017) from Ruud van Empel. Collage #5 evokes contemplations on what a photographic image exactly is today and how far you can go to alter, break and liquify these boundaries. The work calls to mind the iconic abstract and conceptual paintings of Gerhard Richter, such as Cage II (2015). Both Richter and Van Empel are playing with the contradiction between representation and abstraction through the techniques of assembling and overlaying. This also becomes clear in the title of the work of Van Empel, Collage, which refers to the analogue production of cut and paste. Richter once stated: “Since there is no such thing as absolute rightness and truth, we always pursue the artificial, leading, human truth.”. This is what Van Empel does as well, he activates his art as a formative part in the manufacturing of his own truth.
The sensitive portrait of a dog, I Love You (2013) from London based photographer Martin Usborne is the fourth work in the exhibition. The dog is captured in a manner we usually see humans being portrayed. In the orange and yellow mist, we see an abandoned animal with a mysterious gaze. The eyes reveal the voicelessness of animals and their hidden pains and give these enigmatic thoughts an anthropomorphic character. This is quality Usborne mastered in his oeuvre, often bridging the divide between humans and other animals. He states: “I want to show the way in which animals are silenced and controlled by humans whilst also celebrating them as beautiful, strong individual beings.” The work of Usborne is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.