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‘Contemporary Contemplations’


1 Jan-29 Mar 2019
‘Contemporary Contemplations’ group show with muralists Gracia Khouw and Isabelle Borges

The traveling exhibition ‘Contemporary Contemplations’ was first shown in March 2018 at Arti et Amicitae in Amsterdam, then at Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin and at Kunsthaus Erfurt. The exhibition is about time and repetition. Unlike the general phenomenon of time where pace and constant change are paramount, the emphasis in this exhibition is on the moment and the sense of duration. The participating artists use repetition as a form in their work or shape their work through repetition.

Linda Arts, Isabelle Borges (D), Bram Braam, Piet Dieleman, Marieke van Diemen, René Eicken (NL/D), Carina Ellemers, Ditty Ketting, Gracia Khouw, Peter K. Koch (D), Gerda Kruimer, Annekatrin Lemke (D), Bas Lobik, Zaida Oenema, DAG (D), Patricia Westerholz (D), Yumiko Yoneda (JP).

Contemporary Contemplations is based on a concept by Gerda Kruimer and René Eicke (NL/D).

‘Contemporary Contemplations’, wall front: Isabelle Borges (2019), in the bark: Gracia Khouw (2019). Photo: Beeld31
‘Contemporary Contemplations’, Mural Gracia Khouw (2019). Photo: Beeld31
‘Contemporary Contemplations’, left front: Isabelle Borges (2019), in the back: Gracia Khouw, rechts voor: Bram Braam (2019) – geen muurschildering. Photo: Beeld31
Gracia Khouw

Conversation Piece – Gracia Khouw

‘Contemporary Contemplations #4’ at PHK18 / Convexarchitects. Three times CON. When I was asked to create a mural for this exhibition, I thought it was a striking thing that I wanted to work with. I wanted to apply the mural to the canteen wall.

I looked for words or phrases that started with these 3 letters. The title of the mural is a Conversation Piece. What does this expression mean? Usually it means a remarkable object that gives rise to a conversation.

In the 17th century, something else was meant by a “conversation piece”. In painting, it is a genre in which those portrayed are conversing or otherwise entertaining with each other. Domestic scenes of cheerful company.

In the Netherlands, this genre developed far and wide: Frans Hals painted many “chatty pieces”, and Rembrandt's Night Watch is another famous example. But the Conversation Piece genre derives from an older term, the sacra conversazione, a form of composition in which the Madonna and child are placed in the company of two or more saints and appear to be talking to them. In the Italian Renaissance, Masaccio, Titian, Bellini and Veneziano, among others, painted many religious group portraits. I find depicting inner, metaphysical conversations a fiascinating notion. The lips of the characters do not move; the silence and calmness is what appeals to me in them.

For this design, I left out “sacra” and used only conversazione. Stripped of the sacred, canteen conversations are nevertheless of a different order. In here, you may talk about small talk, but contemporary conversations are certainly not excluded."

– Gracia Khouw (05-01-2018), * courtesy of H.W. Janson and Wikipedia.