Marijn van Kreij

The Only Rule is Work
Galerie Waalkens, Finsterwolde
01.09 – 28.10.2012

Artists: Karin Hasselberg (S), Douglas Huebler (USA), Graham Hudson (UK), WJM Kok (NL), Marijn van Kreij (NL), Klara Lidén (S), Dennis Oppenheim (USA),
Karl Pelgrom and Instituut voor Creatief Werk (NL), Maarten Sleeuwits (NL) and Jennifer West (USA).

[Excerpts from exhibition guide]

In the beginning of the 60s Dutch farmer Albert Waalkens started a gallery in his cowshed. In the years that followed the site became one of the most experimental
centres of the Dutch art world and attracted many young (avant-garde) artists. The most well-know project from that history is the land art piece: Directed Seeding/
Cancelled Crop
 (1969) by Dennis Oppenheim. Albert Waalkens died in 2007 and since 2009 his granddaughter Merel Waalkens and her partner Boudewijn Rosman 
live in the unique house annex gallery on the main road in Finsterwolde. For the (re-)opening of Galerie Waalkens they invited artist Marijn van Kreij to co-curate the 
exhibition. The rich history of Galerie Waalkens and the spirit of Albert Waalkens served as the basis for putting together an exhibition that addresses the present, 
and looks to the future. [...] The exhibitions premise The Only Rule is Work [1], is not only directed at himself and the other artists in the exhibition, but also pointed
at the gallery and, not least, its visitors. ‘To act’ as the only way of moving forward and furthering development. It is also directed at the viewer, because the exhibition
does set out to demand a specific kind of involvement. It is not an exhibition that allows viewers to look at images ‘passively’, on the contrary, it asked for an active 
stance. For its initiators, art and an awareness of its potential is a public concern and responsibility. With this exhibition, they endeavoured to define their position 
in this regard, taking an active, progressive approach.


Marijn van Kreij
The Only Rule Is Work (Exhibition poster)
, 2012
Collage, silkscreen and gouache on paper, 65 x 50 cm




The work of American conceptual artist Douglas Huebler (USA, 1924-1997) set the tone for the exhibition with a work that was shown here in 1973 during one
of the exhibitions organised by the Amsterdam gallery Art & Project. A work that directly addresses the viewer’s position in the process of looking at and thinking
about art. Huebler began as a painter and, within a short time, turned to making geometric Formica-like sculptures; in the late 1960s, he became intrigued by
conceptual art. In 1969, he wrote: 'The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more.' [2] From then on, Huebler produced works that
primarily engaged with the experience of time, space and our social environment.

O (Monochrome with Assistant) by WJM Kok (NL, 1959), which recalls the events of Fluxus, is installed next to Huebler’s work to further explore the position of the
spectator. Kok’s oeuvre unfolds in series and relates to both conceptual art and monochrome painting. The piece adds both depth and a lightness of touch to these ‘serious’
art forms. As the title suggests, the bright red monochrome has a performative side to it. A number of Kok’s Mix monochromes, each one produced in collaboration with
a different artist, can be seen on the second floor. Here too the event connected to the work is equally as important as the result. Each occasion concerns the meeting of
two artist’s practices whereby navigating the multiplicity of choices that comprise the creative process determines the final result.


Douglas Huebler
The point represented above, exactly at the instant that it is so perceived, establishes an authentic triangulation between itself, the specific center of gravity
of the percipient, and the specific center of gravity of the artist; it continues to do so for the entire time that these words are being read but immediately
thereafter returns to its original essence as printed dot on a two dimensional surface.
1971
Facsimile of original work on paper, 29.7 x 21 cm




WJM Kok
O (Monochrome with Assistant), 2006
Six parts, coloured fabric, wood, 70 x 70 cm

The spirit of Karl Pelgrom (NL, 1927 – 1994) permeated the exhibition. Physically in the form of a drawing from the 1960s. He was one of the founders of the
Instituut voor Creatief Werk (lit. Institute for Creative Work), of which the vitrine presented in the exhibition is one of the few remaining objects. For Pelgrom, art and
life were one and, by extension, the artist was also very politically involved. In conjunction with the Instituut voor Creatief Werk, he refuted the concept of authorship
and the workings of the market mechanism in art. The group worked together intensively; exactly who made what was not of the slightest importance. The vitrine on
display originates from one of the Interior Anonymous exhibitions organised by the group: massive all-over installations created in cowsheds and barns.

The provocative video Bodies of Society by Swedish artist Klara Lidén (S, 1979) is at once aggressive, melancholic and comedic, and defies any rational clarification.
Perfectly calm, Lidén cold-bloodedly destroys a bicycle in her Stockholm apartment to a mis-matched soundtrack that repeatedly cites ‘I don’t wanna talk about it’.
Lidén’s work undermines everyday life and all that is reasonable. Within the exhibition, the music became the background accompaniment, while the video images
called into question the presentation as a whole.


Instituut voor Creatief Werk (ICW)
Untitled, 1968–70
Vitrine with a collection of found objects (part of Interieur Anoniem installation)



Karl Pelgrom
Untitled (Man with sun), undated (early 60s)
Ink on paper, 21.5 x 28 cm


Klara Lidén


Klara Lidén
Bodies of Society, 2006
Video (color, sound), 4.50 min.



Maarten Sleeuwits
(NL, 1978) produced his work Recording No. #3 especially for this exhibition, using ‘Groninger’ clay, dug out of the polders of De Dollard.
His sculptures often result from a study of the material itself and attempt to use properties intrinsic to it. The process of creation remains visible in the work and there-
with also strives to involve the viewer. His autonomous objects thus introduce a kind of logic of their own. Besides the traces of fingerprints and other imperfections
that reside in the body of the material, the stack of clay blocks on view in the gallery also played with gravity; the tower has been carefully stacked to a height at which
it is able to remain perpendicular.

Maarten Sleeuwits
Maarten Sleeuwits
Recording No. 3, 2012
Stacked blocks of Groninger clay, dimensions variable

 

Marijn van Kreij, Graham Hudson, Karin Hasselberg


For Survey, a work by Graham Hudson (UK, 1977), rubble, rocks and debris gathered in the surroundings of the gallery are used to keep his ‘readymade’ sculpture upright.
The work is based on instructions meticulously formulated by the artist that simultaneously create innumerable opportunities for happenstance. The artist previously realised
the piece in locations including London and Rome. This time, the artist followed a route in and around Finsterwolde to gather material for his sculpture. Hudson often works
with found materials and rubbish that he playfully gives a new lease of life. The work is raw and energetic yet at the same time often unstable, temporary in nature and,
therefore, also vulnerable.

The work of Marijn van Kreij (NL, 1978) has been produced on location as well. From small sketches, executed rapidly and loosely in paint and based on details from late
Picasso paintings, the artist picked a sketch that he then reproduced, over and over, on a large sheet of paper. With this process of repetition he explores differences and
‘flaws’, each act is essentially unique, a one-off. Van Kreij concentrates on the action itself and ‘the sensation of its own realisation’, attempting to make this manifest for
the viewer.

Marijn van Kreij
Marijn van Kreij
Untitled (Picasso, Reclining Nude in an Interior, 1961, Only a Pawn in their Game, Through the Keyhole, Fien’s Hourglass), 2012
Gouache on paper, 258 x 184 cm

 


Graham Hudson
Survey (Finsterwolde, 9684CB, 010912), 2012
Wheelbarrow, rubble and survey, dimensions variable


Karin Hasselberg
Karin Hasselberg
Medium Grey with Darker Grey Table, 2012
Bronze, 36 x 21 x 2 cm


Dennis Oppenheim
Dennis Oppenheim
Directed Seeding/Cancelled Crop, 1969
Original aerial documentation by Aerophoto Eelde, variable dimensions


Photographs of a work by Dennis Oppenheim (USA, 1938 – 2011) were installed on the first floor of the gallery. Directed Seeding/Cancelled Crop (1969) is one of the
most well-known land art works connected with the history of the gallery. The work consists of two interventions Oppenheim created on a grain field owned by
Albert Waalkens. First, a line was ploughed into the field, tracing the path the grain seeds did take from the silos in Nieuweschans to Finsterwolde. In September, the
first grain was harvested in the X configuration shown; this grain was withdrawn from a ‘product-orientated system’ and not subjected to further processing. For
Oppenheim, this process was similar to stopping raw pigment from becoming an ‘illusionistic force’ on canvas .[3]

Jennifer West (USA, 1966) made a new film work especially for the exhibition, loosely inspired by Oppenheim’s earlier intervention of 1969. Los Angeles-based
Jennifer West works directly on celluloid film. For this new piece, she sent the 16mm film to Finsterwolde where it was immersed in cow dung and trampled upon by
Harm Evert Waalkens’ herd of dairy cows. Next, it was smeared with weed butter and sprinkled with rapeseed plants. In Los Angeles, West continued to work on the
film until she achieved the result now on view in the gallery. Her films can be considered a direct report of a series of ‘happenings’ in which materiality, engagement
and the social aspect of the making process converge. This entire process is reflected in the lengthy titles West chooses for her films: Cancelled Crop Revealed
Rapeseed Flowers,Weed Butter and Hoof Marks (16mm film negative stuck in the mud in a barn and walked on by dairy cows at Harm Evert Waalkens farm in
Finsterwolde, painted with weed butter from the cows milk and “white widow” weed from The Green Star in Winschoten, rapeseed flowers collected from the side of
the road nearby - cows, rapeseed and weed butter production by Karin Hasselberg, Wytske van Keulen, WJM Kok, Marijn van Kreij, Boudewijn Rosman and
Merel Waalkens - via a set of instructions from Jwest - film washed in LA and dried in the 100 degree wind, X’s painted by Jwest using french fries and jalapeños
from the garden with green canola oil and biodiesel, rapeseed flowers and stems taped to film by Jwest)


Jennifer West

Jennifer West

Jennifer West
Jennifer West
Cancelled Crop Revealed Rapeseed Flowers,Weed Butter and Hoof Marks
(16mm film negative stuck in the mud in a barn and walked on by dairy cows at Harm Evert Waalkens farm in Finsterwolde, painted with weed butter from the
cows milk and 'white widow' weed from The Green Star in Winschoten, rapeseed flowers collected from the side of the road nearby - cows, rapeseed and weed
butter production by Karin Hasselberg, Wytske van Keulen, WJM Kok, Marijn van Kreij, Boudewijn Rosman and Merel Waalkens - via a set of instructions from
Jwest - film washed in LA and dried in the 100 degree wind, X’s painted by Jwest using french fries and jalapeños from the garden with green canola oil and
biodiesel, rapeseed flowers and stems taped to film by Jwest)
, 2012
16mm film negative transferred to high-definition video, 1:24 min. looped


For the exhibition, Karin Hasselberg (S, 1980) dug hole#17 in the gallery’s front garden. During her studies at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, she began to
dig holes as a way of creating a purely physical counterbalance to her brooding about art. In 2004, she dug her first hole in a desolate place in the Bijlmer, a suburb
of Amsterdam where she was living at the time. Since then, the work has evolved into a series that explores the functioning of art ‘in the world’ parallel to her
development as an artist. Context and environment are just as important to her work as the work itself. This is also evident in her series of bronze sculptures
Medium Grey with Darker Grey Table
that she describes as any-site-specific-objects because they assimilate the environment. The work is based on a photo of
Loulou
(2004), a sculpture by Sherrie Levine, although also in this instance, Hasselberg’s title does not refer to the sculpture itself but to its background, the
residual shape that has once again become object.

On the second floor of the gallery a selection of WJM Kok's Mix monochromes was shown and this space served as a small documentation centre as well.
A video-fragment about Dennis Oppenheim’s project and the television documentaries Groeten uit Finsterwolde and Jong in Groningen could be viewed there.
Visitors could also peruse a number of (artist’s) books relating to the exhibition and the history of Galerie Waalkens.


WJM Kok
Mix (Monochrome with ...), 2006–
Acrylic on canvas, series of monochromes each painted together with another artist, from left to right: Vincent Vulsma, Marijn van Kreij, Falke Pisano,
Evi Vingerling, Karin Hasselberg and Graham Hudson, 60 x 80 cm each



Karin Hasselberg
hole#17, 2012


[1] The exhibition title The Only Rule is Work is taken from Sister Corita Kent's Some Rules for Students and Teachers (1967–68). Read more
[2] Issued for the first time as part of the exhibition January 5–31, 1969 organized by Seth Siegelaub, New York, 1969
[3] The artist in 'Dennis Oppenheim', Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1974

Read here Het werk nogmaals an introduction to the exhibition by Steven ten Thije (in Dutch).

Text excerpts originally printed in a small exhibition guide, produced by Marijn van Kreij, Merel Waalkens and Boudewijn Rosman. Translation: Lisa Holden.
Photography: Wytske van Keulen

Thanks to all the participating artists; Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam; De Hallen, Haarlem; Galerie van Gelder, Amsterdam; Monitor, Rome;
Galerie Neu, Berlin; Vilma Gold, London; Judith Pelgrom; Steven ten Thije; Wytske van Keulen; Gert-Jan Vermeer; Steenfabriek Strating, Oude Pekela.