Plastic waste must be collected so that it can be recycled. Disposal is a sin. It helps enormously when the bulk of plastic packaging would be reduced. In the Netherlands, it is estimated that around fifty million kilos of street litter are lost every year and in nature. Even the birds build up their nests with discarded plastic and tin. Artists draw attention to the negative effects of the disposable society, in which man buys more and more items for temporary use, to throw them away without having to repair them or to save them for later.
18. Els Börger, Street, 2018-19; project consisting of photography, combined with a trip and city walks.
Already in earlier work of Els Börger, ecology, reuse and awareness of the living environment were central. During her walks she photographs the dumped waste that she encounters without being staged. The painter’s gaze, guided by considerations of composition, shape, lines and color, makes it aesthetically pleasing. In this way she tries to turn the irritation about the dumping consumer society into beauty. In spite of this, the viewer is amazed because of the large quantities of waste everywhere.
Part of this work is the sustainable journey that Els Börger undertakes from Brabant to the exhibition locations, on foot and partly by public transport. During the trip she photographs the dumped dirt; these photographs are projected onto the floor at Pulchri, which literally means ‘Out of love of beauty’, not creating an unnecessary waste mountain and not to consuming raw materials. During the exhibition, Els Börger makes city walks with the public, which, like her, makes photographs of the street dirt; these photos are integrated in her projection artwork.
Wanderer and waste processor
19. Sylvia Leeflang, Wanderer and waste processor, 2018, mixed technique on canvas (each 37 x 200 cm) combined with glass cubes with cola cans (each 37 x 37x 37 cm).
Sylvia Leeflang highlights the concept of sustainability from an unexpected angle. The wanderer uses the last leftovers from the disposable company, while the garbage collector collects everything for the recycling industry that benefits from a lot of waste. Recycling is not only saving; to make something new from waste, extra raw materials are often needed. Recycling also costs fossil energy.
Art after the Bang
20. Jeltje van HoutenArt after the Bang, 2013, waterproof plywood and balloon waste (four floor tiles of 100 x 100 cm each).
Broken balloons lie like garbage on the street or blow along in the wind. The contrast between festive decoration and indestructible waste is close together. Even colorful balloons and plastic confetti fragments eventually end up as polluters in the oceans. Moreover, the balloons are harmful to animals that eat them or become entangled in the strings.
Jeltje van Houten collected balloon waste that lay on the street like old dirt or was gutted in the bushes, and processed it into floor tiles.
Plants defeat plastic
21. Conny Kuipéri, Plants defeat plastic, 2019, plastic packaging material and plants (100 x 100 cm).
Conny Kuipéri turns plastic consumer packaging into a huge city with living, growing plants that are overcoming the plastic. Precisely the black packaging material is used for luxury food products. Everybody should collect all the packaging material from only foods such as vegetables, meat and fruit for a month, in order to experience how much material that is. Then you realize how important reuse is. Conny Kuipéri shows that we have created scarcity with our standard of living. Nature shows that we need little. Plants survive in this installation.
22. Mary Kuiper, City Life, 2018, bronze (25 x 10 x 10 cm).
The bird’s nest is Mary Kuipers theme. A nest symbolizes shelter, fertility and new life. It also refers to the transience in nature. For this exhibition, Mary Kuiper was inspired by a typical contemporary city canal bird’s nest: made up of plastic, cups, milk cartons, polystyrene balls, remains of textile and other waste. Such a ‘disposable nest’ of waste has nevertheless been cast in precious, durable bronze. For the birds, it remains an equally valuable place to stay, for us the contrast in materials cannot be greater.
For daily use / reuse (no chlorine air)
23. Marijke Verhoef, For daily use / reuse (no chlorine air), 2018, litho (50 x 70 cm); For daily use / lemon fresh, litho (70 x 50 cm).
Marijke Verhoef is inspired by concrete places and objects from her surroundings. For this exhibition, it was the empty bottles and pots for daily use that they had collected for a while because of the beautiful shapes. Put together they form a modern still life, which translates into an old, traditional printing technique, the lithography, an alienating effect. Disposable material, but nonetheless designed by serious designers and too good to not reuse.
Still life Glassex
24. Frederick Linck, Still life Glassex, 2015, photography (30 x 40 cm); Still life met detergent scoop, 2015, photography (30 x 40 cm).
Frederick Linck has been making compositions of street waste for a long time. He is looking for special places, for example the former waste dumps in The Hague. In addition, he composes still lifes of ordinary, everyday objects around us. For centuries the still life has been an artist theme, which always reflects a time frame. Plastic cleaning bottles are the picture of our time. Disposable material that is highlighted in this way does prove to have special qualities. Moreover, it is not only harmful.
25. Dana LaMonda, Papa René, 2019, photography, mixed media (90 x 220 cm).
The father of the artist, René, a true collector, moved to a small space in a residential care centre and had to renounce his collections. For three months, Dana LaMonda photographed his collections so that he could still keep them a little bit with them and slowly let them go. It produces a melancholic image, and at the same time a problem recognizable to many people. What do we do with all our stuff, the remnants of a passing life, our welfare remnants?