press release

In its spring exhibition, Kunsthal KAdE in Amersfoort focuses on the subject of cause and effect with the exhibition De Loop Der Dingen. One thing leads to another: an apparently simple fact underlying a multitude of causal chains that govern and control the world. A series of—sometimes similar—events, in which each action is prompted by a previous one and inevitably generates the next. This is what has inspired a variety of artists to observe, induce or manipulate causal processes.

The starting point of the exhibition is Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go), a film made by Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli & David Weiss. A dangling rubbish sack rotates in the air as it slowly descends, triggering a car tyre to start rolling, which makes a plank tip. That’s just the start of the 30-metre chain reaction featured in Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli & David Weiss’s 1987 film Der Lauf der Dinge (1987). The most ordinary objects set other things in motion by means of fire, explosions or other chemical reactions. In 1986–87, Fischli & Weiss spent a whole year playing around with all the different parts of the chain reaction. Eventually, everything lies on the ground, broken or useless. They show how, governed by inherent potentials and limitations, a system proceeds in the direction of its own destruction. The chain reaction was set up over a distance of 20 to 30 metres in a warehouse. Fischli & Weiss’s film has been, and still is, a source of inspiration for many other artists.

In addition to the film Der Lauf der Dinge, the exhibition at Kunsthal KAdE includes installations, videos and objects by both artists and designers. All of them explore the limits of cause and effect. Roman Signer created a new installation, working with the theme of the exhibition. Two videos by Sam Taylor-Johnson zoom in on rotting fruit and the decomposing corpse of a hare: death as the ultimate “effect.” The late Dutch sculptor Gerrit van Bakel has devised machines that creep slowly forward in response to changes in temperature, light or humidity. His aim was to find out how far he could exploit physical processes. Chain reactions also feature in an installation by the Spullenmannen collective and in an animation by Evelien Lohbeck.

A The Way Things Go artwork has movement—or the suggestion of movement—built into it, as well as a certain passage of time. The effect may be triggered by natural processes like growth, maturity and decay, but also by human action: manipulation (whether or not involving tools and machines) that sometimes has undeniable consequences. In Sandbox, for example, artist duo Driessens & Verstappen have created a sand flat. They set the internal parameters and then sit back and await developments, in the form of unpredictable, ever-changing sandstorms.

Although the main focus of this exhibition is on work by contemporary artists, it also includes an excursion into the world of the seventeenth-century “vanitas” or memento mori. On show will be two wonderful examples of vanitas prints: Het Wolkenpaleis van de Tijd (The Cloud palace of Time) by Jan van Ossenbeeck, 1663–74, from the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the anonymous De Trap des Ouderdoms (Ages of man represented by a staircase), 1642–65, from the collection of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. In both prints, the hourglass serves as a symbol of mortality. For that reason, the prints are accompanied by a small display of hourglasses from a private collection in Oosterhout. Hourglasses or "sand timers" have been used for centuries as a visual way of measuring the passage of time.

Participating artists: Kim Abeles (US, 1952) / Gerrit van Bakel (Netherlands, 1943–84) / Michiel van Bakel (Netherlands, 1966) / Semâ Bekirovic (Netherlands, 1977) / Jan Coolen (Netherlands, 1968) / Driessens en Verstappen (Netherlands, 1963 / Netherlands, 1964) / Zoro Feigl (Netherlands, 1983) / Peter Fischli (Switzerland,1952) & David Weiss (Switzerland,1946–2012) / Kristján Guðmundsson (Iceland, 1941) / Frank Halmans (Netherlands, 1963) / HeyHeydeHaas (Netherlands, group) / Evelien Lohbeck (Netherlands, 1983) / Martin Luijendijk (Netherlands, 1958) / Damián Ortega (Mexico, 1967) / Zeger Reyers (Netherlands, 1966) / Miguel Angel Rios (Argentina, 1953) / Nitipak Samsen (Thailand, 1979) / Roman Signer (Switzerland, 1938) / Berndnaut Smilde (Netherlands, 1978) / Spullenmannen (Netherlands) / Sam Taylor-Johnson (UK, 1967) / Hildegard Tholens (Netherlands, 1994)