Sustainable development implies an ideal balance between ecological, economic and social interests. A balance that is currently hard to find worldwide. Poverty and hunger prevail on the one hand, excess and waste on the other hand; the gap between developing countries and the rich west divides the world. People are fleeing is great numbers for war and famines, partly caused by climate change. Sustainability is also about humanity, at least according to the United Nations. This applies at world, rural, urban or even neighbourhood level.
Ode to sustainability
46. Rud Perree, Ode to sustainability, 2018, newspapers, mirrors and pallet timber (30 x 42 x 200 cm).
A man-sized column of folded newspapers, piled up tightly on a pallet. All four sides are provided with a mirror, at two heights; one for adults and one for children. A simple monument that cannot be avoided. The mirrors make the viewer aware of the responsibility to continue to contribute to sustainability. The work is also an ode to the news gathering and to the meaning of the written word. Every day, the newspaper involves us in the sustainability issue in the broadest sense and keeps a close eye on us.
Waste of Life
47. Marlies van Boekel, Waste of Life, 2018/19, video recording combined with acrylic on canvas, drawings, photography (70 x 100 cm).
Marlies van Boekel is concerned with the fate of refugees and especially with the drama that takes place on the Mediterranean Sea. Europe as a bastion, which increasingly chooses to keep out refugees, while the economic abundance is painfully outlined against poverty and war on the other. She shows a video on which we see the mother of a drowned girl. Her words, spoken by Aldith Hunkar, are written by the artist. This is the universal point of view of a mother. Above and below the video: paintings, photographs and drawings of children and refugees, both from the poverty and hunger regions (below) and from the rich western world (above). We are actually one, even though there is still considerable division in practice.
Everything Happens Under The Heavens
48. Vladimir Opara, Everything Happens Under The Heavens, 2018, collage (each 86 x 61 cm).
Vladimir Opara’s work contains social themes and is inspired by religion. According to Opara, we all live automatically in a system of religious ideas. Religion tells the history of man and his beliefs. Man always strives for the unattainable, The Heavens, while forgetting the universal laws. As greed and selfishness take over, we are plagued by biblical pests. The earth is warming up, hurricanes are scourging our planet, the sea level is rising and we are being hit by floods and abundant rainfall.
49. Maja Vucetic, Two Yawners (African Yawner and Polypharmacy Yawner), 2018, acrylic plaster reinforced with fiberglass, patient-reduced medicines (elk 40 cm).
Maja Vucetic is an artist and general practitioner. For this exhibition she wants to emphasize how unequal access to medicines is worldwide. On the one hand, in developed countries a lot is wasted and abused for doping and other elite spending, while on the other hand – in Africa, among other things – there are major shortages of the most necessary medicines. We see two Yawners, traditionally the banner for the pharmacy. One is for the western man, who tries to process too much medicine, the other for the African who lacks it.
We bit off more than we can chew
50. Neely Schaap, We bit off more than we can chew, 2018, mixed media, ceramic and medical used and unused waste (70 x 45 x 100 cm).
Due to the strict protocols in the hospitals, a lot of material is wasted. Anything that is laid ready for the treatment of a patient is discarded afterwards, even if not used. Medical attributes flow from the mouth, in the middle of the object. The lower bulbs, of ceramics with a foam glaze, suggest what remains of the earth, if we continue like this.
Old Stories 1
51. Nicky Konings, Old Stories 1, 2018/19, paper clay, fur, leather, old iron and metal (35 x 40 cm); Old Stories 2, wall ornament, 2018/19, paper clay, fur, leather, old iron and metal (80 x 80 cm).
Nicky Konings wants, from a deep felt interest, to keep the art of nomadic tribes alive by making new work with all kinds of material such as old leather, precious metals and ceramics. During her travels through North Africa she conducts research into characteristic shapes and patterns that inspire her. Her pots and wall ornaments refer to the oldest forms of art. More and more cultures in developing countries are disappearing because people are leaving because of poverty, hunger and wars. When the Western world continues to deplete sources in developing countries, it also destroys those ancient cultures.
52. Willem Stoop, Stapeling II, 2016, scrap wood / oil paint (30 x 78 cm); Kruisfragment XIX, 2016, scrap wood / oil paint (28 x 50 cm).
Willem Stoop was inspired by two trips to Africa to a new attitude and working method with regard to his work. Where survival determines everyday life, man is inextricably linked to the other and the earthly reality. Nothing can be lost; all that is tangible is of value. This view led Stoop to use wood as waste material.
By working with repetitions of form and line, in fixed patterns and systems, he refers to the visual culture of Islamic art, in which the figurative image is not allowed. Abstract patterns work as an ornament, but at the same time have a religious symbolic meaning, as we all feel for example in the cross motif. Willem Stoop wants to convey respect for universal religious symbolism with his work. That fact should connect us.
53. Mansour Bakhtiar, The Future, 2019, oil on canvas (80 x 150 cm).
A canvas with a warning message. In the middle of garbage bags full of garbage we see a child in a plastic bag with oxygen and fish in a bag of water. That is the future. Today we buy clean water; tomorrow we will also have to buy clean air to protect our nature, the fish, and the life, the child.
The eyes in the background represent ourselves: the powerless witnesses.
54. Jack Allick, Past Times, 2018, wood, earth, stone (77 x 10 x 10 cm).
Wood, earth and stone are the most durable basic elements of our universe. This is precisely how Jack Allick created a work of art with which he establishes a relationship between earthly sustainability and human sustainability. In spite of our sustainable universe, we stand as people against each other. Sustainability is not only about raw materials, but also about humanity. The perpetual process of passing on humanity from one generation to the next is our most important task. The survivors have the task of producing new generations of humanity. The wood is used wood, the stones come from six different structures and the earth comes from the ‘Amsterdamse Bos’.
55. Tilleke Schwarz, Redirect Now, 2018, hand embroidered on linen (53 x 61 cm).
Tilleke Schwarz puts the concept of sustainability into perspective with an ironic image. With this work she wants to make fun of using the word and the specific English jargon of sustainability thinking. She is not alone in that; others also consider the word sustainability as one of the most hated words of 2018, especially because it is so often abused. In this work the so-called tiny houses tumble through the air, we see the water project of the Delft Green Village and we recognize the English words that are used there. Top left is clear: save our mother tongue.
Cityscape IV (Dresden)
56. Marijke Uittenbroek, Cityscape IV (Dresden), 2018, acrylic, lacquer and photo collage on panel (60 x 60cm).
The buildings destroyed by the bombardments of the Second World War in the old centre of Dresden have been rebuilt in detail. Buses of tourists are loaded and unloaded; an alienating situation. They come for a historical past that is no longer there, a recycled environment. The innocence has disappeared, hence the red line above their heads. The past cannot be reconstructed. In her collage, Marijke Uittenbroek has made everything even more beautiful and new than it already is. The distorted perspective indicates the unreal character of this sham city. In the case of sustainable reconstruction, historical events would not have been erased.
57. OpTrek film by Marsel Loermans: Binckhorst, Jachtwerf de Haas, 2014 (duration 10 minutes). Binckse Promise, beer, cooperation project of entrepreneurs from the Binckhorst.
Mobile project agency OpTrek, founded by artist Sabrina Lindemann, works as a cultural laboratory in urban transformation areas, since 2011 at the business park De Binckhorst in The Hague. OpTrek is committed to urban development that is rooted in the possibilities and qualities of a place that takes account of the people who live and work there. With its specific approach, OpTrek offers sustainable design solutions. What role can artists / designers play in current urban development? Binckse Belofte, a beer, is a collaborative project of a group of entrepreneurs from the Binckhorst. The beer embodies – also in terms of taste – the identity and mentality of the Hague business park. If you hold the beer bottle you feel the rawness of the area, because the label is made of sandpaper. The bottle can also serve as a tool right away, symbolic of the many manual work that is carried out in the Binckhorst.