Terschelling Nature, NL 2019 (Lomo 800)

Locations:  Terschelling island, Friesland, the Netherlands. October 2019.

Nikon F75 (28-100mm). Lomography Color Negative 800, 35mm film.

Lauwersmeer National Park, Groningen 2019

Locations:  Lauwersmeer National Park, Groningen province, The Netherlands, May 2019.

Minolta Dynax 7000i (AF 35-105mm). Kodak Portra Film 400, 35mm film.

The accidents, Leeuwarden 2014

This was the first film I ever used with an old Pentax I found in a secondhand shop. I would go on using that camera for at least 2 years. I am not sure what happened with this film, but my guess is that it wasn’t inserted properly in the beginning, resulting in some beautiful “accidents”. I was very disappointed with my first film photography attempt, however, later on, I came to love these photographs. They are truly unique and very poetic.

Locations: Vrijheidswijk and Saint Boniface church in Leeuwarden. The Netherlands, 2014.

Pentax P30, 35mm with Pentax-A 50mm F/2 SMC Lens. Kodak Gold film 200.

 

Spring Blossoms

Locations: Bijlmer, Amsterdam. The Netherlands, 2015.

Minolta Dynax 7000i (AF 35-105mm). Kodak Film 200, 35mm film.

 

Walking in Stadspark, Groningen, NL 2018

Stadspark, Groningen, NL. December 2018.

Minolta Dynax 7000i (AF 35-105mm). Earl Grey Lomography Film 200, 35mm film.

The Art in our lives

Art is present everywhere in our lives. Sometimes we notice it, sometimes we don’t. But what is the role of art in our society? Specifically, how has the role of art in society evolved throughout the years, what is good art and what role does a museum play in preserving, exhibiting and mostly communicating art to the public? These are some of the questions that were raised during the guest lecture hosted by the Dutch United Nations Student Association, also known as SIB. The main speaker of the evening was Andreas Blühm, the director of the Groninger Museum, who was more than willing to share his experience and insight on what the role of art in society is, or even better, what it should be.

SIB Groningen often organizes several lectures on matters that interest the city’s students. In one of the most recent lectures, on the 15th of October, the student association invited Andreas Blühm who introduced to a full house at the Club Kiwi in the Peperstraat the subject of art in society. His lecture lasted for an hour, however, the discussion afterwards was perhaps the best part of the whole evening. But let me get back to that later.

Andreas Blühm has been the director of the Groninger Museum since 2012, and before that, he served as a curator at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. During his concise and informative lecture, he began with a historical view on what the role of art has been in society. Specifically, art made a first appearance as part of society when during the early 18th century Salons were introduced in France. They were the first places where art would be exhibited to the public on a massive scale. A public that didn’t belong to high society and didn’t have access to art before. And that was when the notion of museums appeared. From that point on, the role of museums became clearer. Dr Blühm explained very elaboratively that the role museums have taken in society expands from collecting and preserving artwork of cultural, religious and historical importance, to presenting those artworks to the public for education and enjoyment. The main challenge for museums remains, however, how to communicate art to the public.

Another big issue that was raised during the lecture, was the question of what happens to art when we take it out of the museum. Specifically, dr Blühm told us how last year the Groninger Museum placed the extremely valuable and iconic work of the American artist Jeff Koons, Christ and the Lamb, in a wall of the central mall Bijenkorf in Amsterdam. The initiative was inspired by the 100-year anniversary since Marcel Duchamp submitted to an exhibition his famous urinal, which he called Fountain, challenging in that way what counts as art. Koons’s artwork was placed in the Bijenkorf without informing the public, to discover whether such artwork would be noticed and appreciated once acquiring a non-artful function. As soon as a label was put next to the artwork, that was the defining moment people started realizing and recognizing its worth. The lesson? Art needs museums for it to be appreciated.

After an insightful lecture, the time came for the best part of the evening, the questions. As I mentioned before that was the most interesting and exciting part of the night. The discussion was heated with several questions form the students to which dr Blühm answered diplomatically, but with honesty too. It started with a question about the controversial role of the internet in how we perceive art. Dr Blühm answered that art is indeed more accessible online, only people still have the need to visit the original artworks. Another question dealt with what good and bad art is, and what if society likes art that professionals reject. Art is first and foremost subjective, said dr Blühm, answering the first question. He added saying that if an artwork is expensive, it doesn’t mean it is good, but if it stays expensive and popular, as in the case of Banksy, then we understand its worth. That brought to my mind how Banksy set his famous artwork Girl with Balloon to shred itself, during an auction two weeks ago, as soon as it was sold for more than £860,000. The artist renamed the work Love Is In The Bin and while making history, he also challenges traditional views on what makes an artwork valuable.

All in all, the lecture created an interesting discussion and offered food for thought around the role of art in society. Inevitably art is everywhere, every person can be art, can appreciate art and understand it. Art is after all human creation, and, as dr Blühm concluded, supporting it is very crucial for our society.

Photo: Looking at a Monet painting at the Albertina museum in Vienna, from the travel journal A Winter Weekend in Wien, 2017.

In November

People walk through

and hundreds of eyelashes

meet with mine.

I am a broken line

on the glossy pavement.

Tiny roofs talk to each other

explaining why silence

became so dominant.

Shoes squeeze under so much

ignorant weight.

And umbrellas are forgotten

at the doorsteps of living.

[nobody took the umbrellas in]

2014

 

(Photo: check full gallery at Leeuwarden Impressions. The Netherlands. November 2015. Pentax P30, 35mm film.)

 

May in Groningen, NL

Groningen, the Netherlands, May 2017.

Minolta dynax 7000i, Kodak Gold, ISO 200, 35mm film.

Leeuwarden Impressions

Pentax P30, 35mm film. Central Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, 2015.

A Late Night Story

The alarm didn’t go off and I am late. Really late. The suitcases are not ready at all and it is already 9 o’clock. No time for coffee or breakfast. Everything needs to be packed and off you go. “Get ready and go!” is the only thought buzzing in my head right now. But I am tired and drowsy. I can barely move. However, the bus is still traveling to Italy and I still need to pack for a wedding. Outside of the room I scream at my mother. Why is she here anyway? Isn’t she supposed to… “Your suitcase is ready, so are your papers and ticket” she says, standing at the door, obviously tired of me being late every single time. I sweetly thank her, grabbing my suitcase and running franticly towards the bus station.

The trip is scheduled to last more than 25 hours and I am not ready for that. In my pocket I hear the cash money getting intimate with my keys. Will that money be enough? Which keys am I carrying either way? Arriving at the bus station, I see a big line of people waiting to buy a ticket. I can hear my heart pumping in my head. This is not good. Maybe if I scream then everybody will freak out and make room for the crazy one to pass. This sounds like a great idea. But not today. I wait patiently till the moment I feel excruciating pain on my foot. A heavy guy has just stepped on me. This is going fantastic! An awkward, loud laugh comes out of my mouth. Silence. No one turns to look at me. That is weird. I silently cross my fingers for everything to turn out ok.

Suddenly I remember I haven’t bought any gifts. My best friend is getting married and me, an organization freak, have forgotten to buy a present. Great. I skip the line for the bus and run to the nearest patisserie. A nice fellow sitting behind the counter smiles at me, while packing a cake. There are still nice people on earth. While heading back to the bus line I realize I have actually forgotten my suitcase. How is this now possible? Didn’t I just have it with me? It is big, blue and noticeable. Is it stolen? Where is it? No, no it is still in the room, STILL IN THE ROOM. I look at the clock above the counter and realize I only have 10 minutes. How am I supposed to do so many things in such a short time? My mind is raving around the fact that this is not the first time I do this. How can I be so unprepared for such a big trip? My heartbeat has reached my mouth, my legs are shaking and my hands are freezing cold. I feel warm, burning tears coming out of my eyes. My biggest fear is coming true. My biggest fear is coming true. I put my cold hands towards my forehead and realize I am sweating. I feel like fainting. Everything is hazy and dark. No more ticket lines, clocks, suitcases or trips. The next thing I know I am laying on my bed, sweating heavily on my pillow.

I open my eyes and look outside the window. I am home in the Netherlands, having a nightmare. On my attempt to recover from this dream, I am trying to think really hard whether I have or not a trip planned. These recurrent nightmares had started the moment I left my country. Always with the same feeling of missing a plane, a bus, a trip. This fear of being late and missing a scheduled trip has become a serious reason for me to spent my nights struggling with my own thoughts. I soon recover and reassure myself that this happens because of my constant traveling between homes; the one I grew up in and the one I built here. I stand up, make coffee and gaze outside at the rainy weather when my phone rings. “Where are you?” a voice screams in my ear. “I am home, drinking some coffee. I had one of those nightmares again, it was so real!” I say laughing at my own fear. “Your plane is leaving in 30 minutes”, the voice responds worried and I realize my biggest fear has indeed come true.

(Photo: Abstract Light, Minolta dynax 7000i, Ilford 200, 35mm film, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, 2015.)