21 | hans overvliet | English diary Luxfer Open Space | Česká Skalice | Tsjechië

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a residency in LUXFER OPEN SPACE invited by Roman Rejhold & Kate Štroblová in Česká Skalice | Czech Republic

exhibition DISTANT SUFFERING

June 11 – July 30, 2021 artist talk June 11, 2021

www.hansovervliet.com



Riegrova 347, 552 03 Ceska Skalice website hans overvliet curiositas@zeelandnet.nl www.hansovervliet.com



I am living the privilege to be invited by Roman Rejhold & Kate Štroblová of LUXFER OPEN SPACE in the town of Česká Skalice in the Czech Republic from May 31 till June 11, 2021 for a residency, an artist talk and an exhibition. The trip is going to be quite special. The last time I travelled so far east, Czechoslovakia still existed and Václav Havel was alive. I was in Prague in 1989, in the week some 4.700 East German people fled into the West German ambassy in order to join the ‘free west’. It proved to be my baptisme in geopolitical events and also a sobering confrontation with the ‘condition humaine’. The notions of two of my favorite writers – Simone de Beauvoir and Samuel Beckett - taught me in this respect invaluable lessons: Sans échec, pas de morale.1 ( Without failure, no morality). Perhaps the most comforting description of ethics I know. Ethics, de Beauvoir says, assumes imperfection, it is inextricably linked with failure, with not knowing . . . Beckett of course, in this context, wrote his soothing words Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.2 So, in the company of my deeply beloved life time co-traveller Willy van Houtum I am on my way to fail gloriously. This diary is intended as a time delay and memory of our art journey. 1. de Beauvoir, Simone, Le Deuxième Sexe / The Second Sexe Dutch edition, Erven J. Bijleveld, 1986 2. Samuel Beckett's second last prose text, Worstward Ho, a novella written in 1983


the days


May 29, 2021 | Middelburg – Neurenberg For my latest work in progress, DISTANT SUFFERING XXIII | i.d. of a shared artefact, I could not resist to leave a tent peg behind in Neurenberg to connect the Reyhanli refugee camp in Turkey with the Zeppelin Platz. People without a voice ‘speaking out’ on the spot where every important Nazi was allowed to vociferate Middelburg (the explosion by Ko de Jonge) and Rotterdam (the destroyed city by Ossip Zadkine) were the two previous locations. This artwork i.d. of a shared artefact draws attention to people who have been turned into refugees and who are currently forced to roam. The use of the tent pegs symbolizes the large white UNHCR tents, used to build refugee camps with all over the world. With this work of art I try to contribute to the fact that the white tents and therefore these pegs will no longer be needed in the near future and that the tent pegs can definitively be displayed in museums as a historical arte-fact. For multiple translations of a short introduction text in English, Deutsch, Français, Español, ‫ عربى‬and ‫فارسی‬ please click here. For the catalogue in the making, please click here.


Reyhanli refugee camp | 2011 | Hatay Province Turkish-Syrian border | 36.18448° / 36.36440°


Neurenberg | Zeppelin field | 1934 | 49.430610 / 11.126530 30/05/2021


May 30, 2021 | Neurenberg - Česká Skalice Too tired from the journey and too much impressed by what is offered to me here in Česká Skalice. We were received extremely warmly by Roman Rejhold, one of the driving forces behind Luxfer. In no time we had real contact in the lovely garden of LUXFER OPEN SPACE. Open Space turned out to contain a number of beautiful spaces in an equally beautiful building. Tomorrow starting setting up the exhibition and try to find some more words. For now an image from yesterday from Nuremberg: I.D. OF INEQUALITY . . .



June 1, 2021 | Česká Skalice Started working in Open Space today. Willy had already developed a feeling in the Netherlands how to display the cans of DISTANT SUFFERING VI | i.d. of a shared key. It works out wonderfully and at the same time we begin to experience & understand the building a bit. So the work is beginning to relate to the spaces.

On the wall of LUXFER OPEN SPACE I found the remains of the poster of i.d. of ine-quality . . .



2 juni 2021 | Česká Skalice

Wonderful working for the exhibition. It's amazing how the work finds its place almost by itself and how it doesn't care about the differences in the years of creation.


2 juni 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 3, 2021 | Česká Skalice | entr'acte The day we arrived in Česká Skalice, the war in Syria lasted for 3,333 days. Since I am also doing a residency, this sad fact resulted in a new work - i.d. of fading memory - a revitalsation of one of my first works within the work in progress DISTANT SUFFERING: click here for the series.


June 3, 2021 | Česká Skalice | entr'acte


June 3, 2021 | Česká Skalice We really enjoyed the local cuisine with Roman last night. He was kind enough to order something nice & special for Willy. It was great to get to know Roman a little better, a-part from his passion for contemporary art. He's a very nice & interesting person, and that's what he is. Almost casually he also provided me with a Czech SIM card. The installing of the work had a dip: somehow it didn't work out well. Nails not at the same height, consoles were skew because of unruly walls, etcetera. Tomorrow we'll see if we leave it or if we start all over. And of course the car gave us some trouble on the way back ‘home’: the exhaust makes a lot of noise. So looking for a garage tomorrow.


June 3, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 4, 2021 | Česká Skalice It is such an enormous privilege to live for almost a week now in a bubble where art is not only central, but where art is almost all that matters. Thanks to this concentration, the exhibition is almost 'finished'. Tomorrow finishing a few final details and then try to make new work and drive to the expo daily to see if it is still functioning. Bless the delayed time. The initially not very good day yesterday turned out to be better than expected today. Willy tipped some 22 black nails in a white colour and the miracle happened. Walking around through the spaces, we realized what I've been granted in recent years: work that was invited from faraway places comes together here in Luxfer Open Space in Česká Skalice. The cube with miniature and feathers that was on display for the first time in Pakistan during Mehreen Hashmi’s ‫ كبوتر‬/ Kabutar / Pigeon, flanked by a poster that hung for months in Middelburg at Leni van den Berge / Roofprintpers next to a catalog from Milan at Independent Artists Gallery during (MEN OF) STREET ART, organized by Manuel Zoia, overlooking a work that previously hung at Watermans Arts Center in London in the exhibition Radical Immersions, curated by Klio Krajewska, accompanied by completely new work, as a kind of prelude to the three photographs and the cans of Art Gouda, rhyming with the other miniature that Jan Verhaeghe / CultuurCentrumBrugge showed during Exile. Once again, seeing all that work now in a wonderfully appropriate place fills me with great joy and emotion. In this case I can also speak for Willy.


June 4, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 4, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 5, 2021 | Česká Skalice The complicated thing with 'art' is that at all times you have to be aware of the form in relation to the content. Sometimes the content of distant suffering weighs so heavily on me that it suppresses any thinking / feeling about the form. Then I freeze. The process comes to a complete stop. In order to get that going again, I concentrate fully on the form. Only then does some poetry enter the work, something of layering start to occur. After all, pamphletlike art benefits no one. Also then the memories from a number of people that I mentioned yesterday arrive. People who want to show my content-wise rather unruly work in public. With which they also commit themselves to the content. Not only am I very happy about that, I realize at the same time that all those people had to cross a threshold and took some risk with their willingness. As an example, some of you no doubt remember the noise that arose around a kite project that resonated from Flushing through Washington to Jerusalem / AlQuds. Here's a bit of that noise. So with that ambiguous feeling I walked around my exhibition yesterday and wrote only about the positive memories. Today I was again trying to relate to form in relation to content and vice versa. Of course, the doubt immediately set in: is the work good enough at all, is it layered enough? Does it do justice to the overwhelming problems which I draw attention to. And if so, is this way the right / the only / the best? Do the images contribute to a meaningful art discourse? Don't you act as an artist, celebrated or not, thanks to the


June 5, 2021 | Česká Skalice Do you as an artist, misuse to the misery of others? In short, what about integrity? And then of course there is always the phenomenon that what is in your head can never be materialized. In that sense, any work is a failure. And this exhibition, too, is an accumulation of fortunately turned out errors, obscured mistakes, with 22 nails painted white serving at the same time as metaphor and analogy. Evidence of ultimate failure. Which fortunately also brings the inspiration for the next image. From this ambiguity, I will start writing the talk for June 11th. Let's see if the Polish-British sociologist and philosopher Zymunt Bauman (1925 – 2017) can help me on my way. After all, I'm a few miles away from his native country. . .


June 5, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 5, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 6, 2021 | Česká Skalice Today we took some distance from the exhibition. At home we started making the ice bullets for DISTANT SUFFERING XXI | i.d. of a shared bullet. This Friday we will give this multiple to every visitor as a fading reminder of our wonderful time here. We also enjoyed driving around in the beautiful region with quite an enigmatic mixture of architecture. Above all, silence and tranquility. . .


June 6, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 7, 2021| Česká Skalice Willy and I made a short video for the artist talk / presentation of the multiple DISTANT SUFFERING XXI | i.e. of a shared bullet. The accompanying catalog is also starting to take shape. I am busy exploring the environment, both analog and digital. Tonight out to a restaurant with Roman and Willy. After that answering a set of very good questions from the journalist Hynek Šnajdar for the local media. Willy en ik maakten een filmpje voor het praatje / uitreiking van de multiple DISTANT SUFFERING XXI | i.d. of a shared bullet. Ook de bijbehorende catalogus begint vorm te krijgen. Bezig met de omgeving te verkennen, zowel analoog als digitaal. Vanavond op restaurant met Roman en Willy. Daarna een set erg goede vragen beantwoorden van de journalist Hynek Šnajdar voor de lokale media.


June 8, 2021 | Česká Skalice Another beautiful day: Roman treated us in the Luxfer Open Space to some Chopin nocturnes and great coffee, I painted a plate in white, we – again - had a wonderful drive through the region – J.J. Cale 5! – we drank good beer on a terrace, I corrected some names of nice people, started again on a cloud slash explosion painting with the dust from Luxfer Gallery, writing texts for the media and artist talk. Still have to create some new work. There are ideas, but according to Willy no Overvlieten in the making. Unfortunately , she has been right on this point for the last thirty years or so . . .


June 8, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 9, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 9, 2021 | Česká Skalice Another lovely day at the office . . .


June 9, 2021 | Česká Skalice .


June 10, 2021 | Česká Skalice The boats I use for i.d. for shared liquid mobility are currently nowhere available. Not even directly from the manufacturer. I have three boats, two of which have oars . . . So finally today I picked up the courage to glue the oars on the boats. Not a total failure considering the size of the oars compared to the size of my fingers. Just now, for the first time since our arrival, it started raining heavily and thundering. Just when I want to take the dust painting to Luxfer Open Space. Nice timing. Finally, installed the small bottle of i.d. of a shared bullet. I am very much looking forward to the opening tomorrow and the conversation with the visitors.


June 10, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 10, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 10, 2021 | Česká Skalice Snail mail from my friend from Holland came in today . . .


June 11, 2021 | Česká Skalice It was amazing: lovely welcome in the garden by Roman, Kate translated perfectly, people were really delighted with the multiple i.d. of a shared ice bullet and there was tremendous concentration during the tour.


June 11, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 11, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 12, 2021 | Česká Skalice This weekend it's an open studio / gallery week-end in the area around Skalice. Last night the organizer of that event was visiting. It turned out to be very nice meeting. When we were at our way out to turn off the video, an American man in his thirties was still looking at the dust paintings and asked me how and why. Willy had noticed him and his girlfriend before when they both looked very closely and concentrated at the work with the two ceramic bowls. He turned out to be a painter and musician, having moved to the Czech Republic for a significant other - Heidi. It was a wonderful conversation that concluded an unforgettable evening.


June 12, 2021 | Česká Skalice The poster of the weekend










June 13, 2021 | Česká Skalice Today we said goodbye to Skalice and the region with some sadness. It was, thanks in great part to Roman, a very special time. As if by chance, this morning we stumbled upon a great square, lined with imposing arcades in Nové Město nad Metují. There the Czech version of the Podium Amateur Kunst in Middelburg [ stage for amateur art ] was in progress. Choirs, solos, orchestras, brass bands. It is wonderful to see how young people of all cultures make music together and how they individually realize themselves in doing so. Then, of course, after the performance, we all pose seriously looking in front of the statue of the composer Bedřich Smetana. The trip through the region was again wonderful. Lots of poppies, cornflowers, chamomile, daisies, forget-menots. And everywhere the yellow rapeseed fields of Wolfgang Laib sparkled from somewhere in your eye. As by the same coincidence, a poster of i.d. of inequality found its place in Šonov in an appropriate place among the messages of the local population. They had saved a spot where the poster fitted exactly. The tent peg of i.d. of a shared artefact at some point had to choose in Václavice between two monuments that stand in each other's field of view, both commemorating the war of 1866. Maybe more on that later. Tonight a penultimate meal with Roman; tomorrow to Prague. A reunion after 32 years. I hope we both grew a little wiser. De Beauvoir and Beckett smile encouragingly at me from their clouds . . .


June 13, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 13, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 13, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 13, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 13, 2021 | Česká Skalice


June 14, 2021 | Čáslavky The analogy & metaphor of the last two weeks. The light that came to us . . .


June 14, 2021 - 14 juni, 2021 | Čáslavky


June 14, 2021 - 14 juni, 2021 | Čáslavky


June 14, 2021 - 14 juni, 2021 | Čáslavky


June 14, 2021 | Prague When I left Prague for the last time in 1989, Wenceslas Square had a single neon sign: Orwo's blue film. This afternoon, we drove into the city after many years. A a forest of hundreds of advertising columns with gigantic images and texts stood yelling at us. The first one told us: it's all about you accompanied by the logo of the goddess of victory Nikè; for the advertising guys Nike. You could say that the neoliberal consumer revolution that ousted the real existing socialism here has been quite successful. Strangely enough, that rational gradually disappeared as we approached the 'old' city. After the necessary duties we sought our rest on the Jewish cemetery. It was an emotional reunion. Like it was there yesterday that I was here. A place of death, of course, but also one of life, of memory. I was about halfway through my years when I was last at this place. Standing here with Willy for the first time after all that time is a blessing in itself. We realized in this unbelievably giving light, with the sound of both the birds and the roar of the city in the background, that we had been no more than a few inches away from not sharing this poetry. The unbelievable tranquility and at the same time energy of this ancient graveyard that even survived the Second World War, provided a deeply experienced hour in our Prague reality. Oh yes, with us there were seven more people. Back to work tomorrow: studio visit to the Rafani colleagues and then a meeting with Kate and Ludek.


June 14, 2021 | Prague


June 14, 2021 | Prague


June 14, 2021 | Prague Entr'acte | Intermission 1 – for J.R.


June 14, 2021 | Prague Intermission 2 – op. cit. Bresson


June 15, | Prague morning walk


June 15, 2021 | Prague morning walk


June 15, 2021 | Prague morning walk


June 15, 2021 | Prague morning walk


June 15, 2021 | Prague Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer makes a number of worthy remarks about tourism in his book Grand Hotel Europa. For example, the observation that tourism destroys what it comes to visit. Nowhere, according to Prague people, is this more noticeable than in their city. The old center was completely overrun, the roads couldn't handle the traffic, parking became a curse, the prices for everything, including real estate, skyrocketed; the stress exhausted everyone. Now, because of Corona, the city is more or less it-self again. But in the background it just rages on: the economy is in a complete meltdown, the gentrification to get the non-elite out of the centre is relentless. Everywhere in the centre grand buildings are being renovated and new buildings erected. No sign of who is doing that on behalf of whom with what financing; black money has taken over the city. At the same time you see many terraces filled with people from here. They are, as it were, reclaiming their territory. From an economic perspective, this 'return' is understandable when you consider that e.g. a nice beer now costs 50%, in some places even 25% of what it cost before Covid. But anyone who is not dependent on tourism fears the return of the tourists. We visited the studio of Ludek Rathousky where we met also with his wife Kateřina Štroblová and their two lovely children. We prepared Ludeks’ exhibition in ruimteCAESUUR in Middelburg next year. To our great surprise he gave us his latest book. We spend the rest of the evening enjoying a delicious meal and a very nice conversation about art, life and everything related to that.


June 15, 2021 | Prague


June 16, 2021 | Prague – Pilzen It was with a heavy heart that we said goodbye to the richness of colours in the Czech Republic; both of the people as the things. To catch one more glimpse of the latter, we drank coffee on the main square of Pilsen. Then back to work: we hang a poster of I.D. OF INEQUELITY in the lovely train station. Now we are in the middle of Würzburg's old town, a few hundred meters from 'their' Charles the Fifth Bridge; this one crossing the Main. The terrace we ended up on overlooked the grapes of the wine in the glass. Sometimes being a tourist is delightful . . . Corona is apparently still a thing here. Even on the pedestrian bridge, a mouth cap is mandatory. And it is surveilled. Poetry of the day: when we passed a depot where many old trams were parked, Willy commented: 'the old trams are resting here'.


June 16, 2021 | Prague – Pilzen


June 16, 2021 | Pilzen - Würzburg


June 16, 2021 | Würzburg


16 juni 2021 | Pilzen I.D. OF INEQUALITY


June 17, 2021 | Würzburg - Middelburg We arrived home after pasting a poster in Würzburg on a ‘sign of the year of Corona’: all the other posters were more than a year old. . . Along the way I realized – again – what an enormous mobility machine has been set up in Europe, comparable to the medieval cathedrals. From Middelburg you can easily reach the smallest village in the Czech Republic. The navigation device leads you there seamlessly, a few million square meters of asphalt, tunnels, viaducts, etc. connect everything to everything, an accompanying infrastructure of control, safety and disciplining signs determines how and what, taxi , bus, metro, tram, trolley, Uber flanking a parallel network. Fuel, coffee, food: arranged. When your exhaust gives up, you go to a garage: 'S'ist der Puff, morgen neu, kein Problem' and indeed, made in no time while the two of us were sitting on a bench reading an essay on 'time' and Grand Hotel Europe. The exhibition will conclude with a finissage on 30 July. Roman and I are still working on the form. I am very much looking forward to that: meeting the people again and to have new conversations. Of course, this exhibition and the wonderful contact with these people and things had no effect whatsoever on the great course of things. Gaza was bombarded again with 21st century means because a few lads were playing terrorist with the invention of the Montgolfier brothers from June 1783, looking at the sky people en masse are boarding planes again, children were born, people died. But the enterprise had value in itself for us. I take genuine comfort in the fact that I have touched some people with my work and presence - mutually.


June 17, 2021 | Würzburg - Middelburg


June 17, 2021 | Würzburg - Middelburg Thanks Giel for taking care of the garden . . .




Colophon | Colofon deep thanks to Roman Rejhold & Kate Štroblová of LUXFER OPEN SPACE an the people of the art community in Česká Skalice who gave Willy & me a real invitation, a wonderful welcome and then they all gave us the time of our lives. Giel Louws, who inspired me to write this diary and who took care of the garden. Willy was with me all the time as in 'present all the time'. As an exhibition maker, she contributed greatly to the end result of the exhibition.


LUXFER OPEN SPACE

Česká Skalice | Czech Republic June 11 – July 30, 2021 exhibition

hans overvliet DISTANT SUFFERING

June 11 – July 30, 2021 artist talk June 11, 2021