by Eurart, Judit Bozsan
Nicole Donkers, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (2010) has already provided this year a public treat for the senses with her video work “Trace Green” at the ZomerExpo of the Gemeente Museum, and now The Hague welcomes back the artist at her duo exhibition with Annemieke Louwerens at the Galerie de Spanjaardshof, on view through December 11.
In her video art and installations, Donkers’ core focus is on the interface between contradictory forces, such as emotion and reason, ordinary and unusual, chaos and order. Her works emit a sense of questioning of the curious ways of the world and the artistic self and bring attention to acquired thought structures. They question the truthfulness of things as presented and perceived at face value and implicitly launch the viewer’s visual enquiry onto a path of investigation about whether things are as they seem to be. To what extent can we fool ourselves and have others fool us?
“Addicted to a certain kind of sadness” is an installation of diverse objects that sing in chorus about the very notion of disguise. What things seem to be on the outside, might not be the case on the inside at all. A box holding the shredded remains of a love letter, a plastic bag embalming the outer petals of dehydrated tulips – peeling off the outer layers, pinning them to the wall, Donkers displays a seesaw of contradictions.
“Let me occupy your mind”, a videoloop of just over 38 minutes couldn’t have been titled any more appropriately. The incessant continuum of well-measured destruction of a telephone book by the highly adept and focussed tearer featured in the work invites the viewer on a meditational journey induced by the rhythm and order and unaffected air of calmness resonating in every move of the arm. Yet, the never-ending process leads the cognitive miser in the viewer to dig deeper in the forest of meanings.
As curator Stef van Bellingen aptly describes her art, “Nicole Donkers operates in a minor key, a key that composers use to express the little sorrows of existence. For this reason her poetics is best described as musical, even Wagnerian. Mainly this has to do with the strong temporal dimension of her work, which in musical terms is called the “solution” – a peaceful and satisfactory accord that follows a series of dissonant tensions. Wagner imbeds longing and the elusiveness of it in one line so that each refuge is continually postponed. Nicole Donkers is also drawn to aggregations and stacking, they stem from a plethora of choices which problematizes the the notion of the unique and its physical materialization.”
Augmenting the plethora of contrasting elements and their harmonious coexistence in the exhibition are the colorful patches of artist Annemieke Louwerens’ canvases on the wall that follow us around the tour as cheerful companions.
Location: Galerie de Spanjaardshof, Westeinde 58, The Hague; Dates: November 6-December 11, 2011