Dutch Pavilion – Venice Art Biennale 2017 | Olanda by Wendelien Van Oldenborgh
Curator: Lucy Cotter
Features artist: Wendelien Van Oldenborgh
All photos © Inexhibit
Wendelien Van Oldenborgh, Olanda, Dutch Pavilion, Venice Art Biennale 2017, installation view; photo © Inexhibit
Olanda by Wendelien Van Oldenborgh – Dutch Pavilion at Venice Art Biennale 2017
At the Venice Art Biennale 2017, the Dutch pavilion presents Olanda, a video and photo installation by Wendelien Van Oldenborgh.
The exhibition, curated by Lucy Cotter and supported by the Mondrian Fund, features two videos and a series of large scale photographs by the Dutch artist (born 1962, Rotterdam).
Following a path quite popular among many European artists these days, Van Oldenborgh focused her installation on the contrast between the progressive basis on which modern Dutch society was founded upon and the impact mass migrations from abroad are having on the same society.
To develop her idea, Van Oldenburgh adopts the metaphor of classic modern architecture – of which the pavilion itself, designed by Gerrit Rietveld in the Fifties is a clear example – as the epitome of those optimistic, possibly utopian, visions of a tolerant society developed in many north European counties in the decades that followed the Second World War.
Such principles of tolerance and hospitality are now questioned and criticized by nationalist political parties and by parts of the same indigenous populations in many of those counties, including The Netherlands.
In the exhibition, Van Oldenborgh presents two videos, a short and a medium length film, and a photo suite inside a scene which recalls and emphasizes the typically-modernist traits of Rietveld’s building through a set of red and yellow colored walls. At the same time, such partitions are installed at an angle with the pavilion’s side walls, thus creating a subtle spatial disturbance.
The first video, entitled Prologue: Squat / Anti-Squat, depicts the story of the occupation by a group of migrants of Tripolis, a disused office building in Amsterdam designed by Aldo van Eyck in the Seventies, and the subsequent installation in it of a new “anti-squatting” commercial system developed by a Dutch company to prevent the unauthorized occupation of empty properties.
Cinema Olanda, the second video on view, links the architecture of the Pendrecht neighborhood in Rotterdam, designed by modernist architect Lotte Stam-Beese in the ’50s, and the mass migration to The Netherlands from Indonesia which followed the Asian country’s independence in 1949.
The exhibition also features a series of three photographs, called Footnotes to Cinema Olanda, which depicts moment of production of the two films on view in the pavilion from a complementary yet slightly different visual and conceptual point of view, like footnotes to a text.
Wendelien Van Oldenborgh, Prologue: Cinema Olanda, 14-minute video, Dutch Pavilion, Venice Art Biennale 2017; photo © Inexhibit
Wendelien Van Oldenborgh, Prologue: Squat / Anti-Squat, 34-minute-long two-part video, Dutch Pavilion, Venice Art Biennale 2017; photos © Inexhibit
Wendelien Van Oldenborgh, Footnotes to Cinema Olanda, Dutch Pavilion, Venice Art Biennale 2017; photos © Inexhibit