press release

What we can say with some degree of certainty is that museum director Jef Bourgeau has created an unsettling, unique installation with the help of dozens of Dutch artists.

It’s also worth noting that MONA has taken up even more space, now including what was formerly inhabited by Habatat Galleries, which offers a layout much more conducive to showing work, as was done in MONA’s previous Book Building space.

Perhaps the most engaging work currently on display is attributed to one Stig Elklund, a Norwegian now living and working in Amsterdam. Through photography, video, and installation this artist, while certainly presenting a particular aesthetic, more so evokes a distinct mood – primarily one of nostalgia and dread rolled into one. In an end room, a collection of Elklund’s photographs line the walls, with a large doll’s house seated in one corner. A sign (or Bourgeau’s audible reminder) instructs the visitor to shut the door and turn off the lights. Doing so reveals that the already ethereal and haunting photography has been printed so as to have the whites glow in the dark. This may seem a bit gimmicky, but it works in the context of the room (and really I wish I hadn’t gone in alone.) Peering into the doll’s house reveals a scene of a antique looking bedroom, complete with poster bed, flowing drapery, and frail woman beneath the bed’s thin sheets. The soft focus of the photos, the operatic music playing, all wind together to seal the mood (and making me open the door.)

Directly outside the enclosed room, Elklund displays an inspiringly creative video of the repetitious emptying of a bucket of water. The motion of the bucket is in synch with the sounds of waves crashing on the beach. It’s quite clever in its simplicity, and as disconcerting as the haunted room, but in a lighthearted way.

There’s a lot more photography to see as well. As the title of the show states, we’re in for a look at Dutch life from Dutch photographers. The digitally enhanced prints of Lottie Dodd, although covered in frustratingly cracked shell, stand out.

In the group portion of the show, the Dutch offer snapshots of everyday life – old and young, sexy and mundane. They are grouped in such a way as to allow the viewer to draw connections between the disparate images, where perhaps there was none at all.

At MONA, no doubt little is as it seems, as Bourgeau plays with art, image and identity, and keeps the viewer just a little bit unsettled in the process.

Nick Sousanis


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mit Bert Teunissen, Bertien van Manen, Lynn Geesaman, Teun Hocks, Wijnanda Deroo, Hellen van Meene, Inez van Lamsweerde, Johan van der Keuken, Pahin Kaygun, Alexandra Crouwers, Angelika Barz, Anna van Thiel de Vries, Anouk Kruithof, Astrid Hermes, Babette Kleijn, Carla van de Puttelaar, Cas Oorthuys, Celine van Balen, Charl van Ark, Daniel Koning, Danielle Kwaaitaal, Eef Augustinus, Els van der Monde, Gerald van der Kaap, Gon Buurman, Guus Koenraads, Hans van der Meer, Jan van Akker, Jan van Leeuwen, Jennet Thomas, Joke van Katwijk, Joris den Blaauwen, Ralph Kamena, Kees Tillema, Koos Breukel, Krista van der Niet, Lilianne Eijkelenkamp, Liza May Post, Lysandre Begijn, Marcel van der Vlugt, Margreet Bulthuis, Marnix Goossens, Maura Biava, Pascal Baetens, Paul Bogaers, Paula van Ameijde, Phillip Proviliy, Ruud Baan, Sue de Beer, Theo Baart, Arno Nollen, Bart Buijs, Bart Benschop, Dolores Marat, Ellen Kooi, Frank van der Salm, Frits Berends, Jaap Bijsterbosch, Jan Koster, Johannes Kahrs, Marcel van den Bergh, Marijke van Warmerdam, Martine Stag, Michal Butink, Miek Bijleveld, Phoebe Maas, Dirk Kome, Elspeth Diederix, Marjan Teeuwen, Marloes Hoogenstraaten, Mirjiam Janse, Nell Berger, Paul Bogaers, Paul Panhuysen, Robert-Jan Verhagen, Ton Huijbers, Wiesje Peels, Erwin Olaf, Lotte Dodd