A European journey, based on encounters with contemporary artists across Europe.

Salt in the Wound is an essayistic journey through Europe, based on encounters with mid-career and leading contemporary artists. The book looks into the relationship between cultural origin and the artists’ imagination. Through studio visits, exhibition reviews and conversations, the author reflects on the work of these artists, and how it relates to both local histories and the global art practice.

The book contains essays on Miroslaw Balka (Poland), Anton Henning (Germany), Flo Kasearu (Estonia), Bernard Frize (France), Anish Kapoor (India/UK), Michael Borremans (Belgium), Lia Kazakou (Greece), Sejla Kameric (Bosnia), Norbert Bisky (Germany), Monika Sosnowska (Poland), Janis Avotins (Latvia), Luc Tuymans (Belgium), Paula Rego (Portugal/UK), Klaas Kloosterboer (Netherlands), Irina Botea (Romania), Bridget Riley (UK), Marc Mulders (Netherlands), Sean Scully (Ireland/US).

‘Salt in the Wound’ is the title essay, discussing the work of Polish sculptor Miroslaw Balka. In some of his works Balka uses salt to project movies on. At the same time it is a metaphor for what art in Post-War Europe can address.

Published by Garret Publications, Helsinki, 2019. (For bookshops available through IDEA Books, Amsterdam).

Meeting with Rachel Whiteread

One of my highlights of 2018 was meeting with British artist Rachel Whiteread in Vienna to talk about her exhibition in Belvedere21. For her it was the first come back to the city after making the much discussed holocaust memorial.

There is something about plaster that is incredibly special. It is really ancient; it comes from rock that is turned to powder, you add water it becomes liquid, heats up and dries, and pours the surface away from the object you are casting from – every minute detail. It is almost like alchemy.”

The full interview was published in DAMN magazine and can be read online here

Vienna Contemporary

The Vienna Contemporary is an art fair with a focus on Eastern Europe. This year’s edition was a welcome reminder that Europe has more to offer then nationalistic fears and (talk about) border patrols. The fair is an encouragement to cross into new territory, practice some mental migration and see what artists make in regions of Europe that are not typically in the spotlight of attention.  I combined a visit to the fair with some studio- and gallery visits in the city, to find interesting artists at work, such as Erwin Bohatsch, Béatrice Dreux (Image: ‘Dark Octopussy’) and Michael Horsky. My report was published in print in the Belgian H-Art magazine #185 (in Dutch) and can also be read and viewed here .

Riga Biennial of Contemporary Art

In her opening speech, the curator of the Riga Biennial of Contemporary Art, Katerina Gregos, pointed to our busy and stressed ways of living, leaving many people with burnouts or existential fears. In some of the artworks this is reflected quite literally, while other sections of the biennial shift the attention and try to offer an antidote. The Biennial touches on many topics of our current times, luckily without degrading the art works to mere illustrations. The biennial was one of the better surprises of the 2018 summer, and still on view till October 28 in the Latvian capital. For DAMN magazine I wrote a report about how Riga and the arts relate, which you can read here



Interview with Marc Trujillo

In Los Angeles I met with painter Marc Trujillo to talk about his ambivalent appreciation of American culture and his interest in the Dutch old masters. All American consumer places such as retail stores, gas stations and fast food restaurants appear in his work, painted with precision, in a way that no camera could capture.  “I am American. I have mixed feelings about all this stuff. I am ashamed of Pizza Hut; I feel bad about it and meanwhile… I’m starting to get a little hungry. If you would have shown up with some slices, I would have probably liked that.”

You can read the full text in the autumn edition of Elephant magazine (Elephant #36, 2018) or here.

Report from Marseille

For the German Tagesspiegel I went to Marseille to visit the  Art-O-Rama fair and measure the artistic temperature in France’s second largest city. While artists and gallerists say there is not much market and future in Marseille, the Art-O-Rama tries to prove the opposite, and energizes the city – at least once a year.  You can read the text in German here