Hilarius Hofstede — The Merchant House 3.1

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E D E T S F O S H G N S I U I W R A A R L D I H EW N

The Merchant House 3.1


“More than the brushstroke, the drawing process communicates the territory of dream, and in my case, the savagery of mind” “Het tekenproces brengt, veel meer dan de penseelstreek, het territorium van de droom over, en in mijn geval, het ‘wilde denken’” Hilarius Hofstede, 2015


Essays by Dirk van Weelden

E D E T S F O NGS H S N I E U I W G R A N A R I L HI EW D EKEN N ET W U E NI

Essays door Dirk van Weelden

The Merchant House 3.1 Marsha Plotnitsky, Artistic Director



Hilarius Hofstede

New Drawings Nieuwe Tekeningen

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Introduction Inleiding Marsha Plotnitsky

De grot in Met/on Olivetti Lettera 32 – 1971 Into the Cave

Dirk van Weelden

Ziel Met/on Olivetti Lexikon 80 – 1959 Soul

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Dirk van Weelden

De mythosfeer Met/on Olivetti Lexikon 80 – 1959 The Mythosphere

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Dirk van Weelden

Denken en doen Met/on Hermes 3000 – 1965 Thinking and Doing

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Dirk van Weelden

Licht worden Met/on Remington Noiseless Model 7 – 1948 Becoming Light

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Van de Straat Met/on Hermes 3000 – 1961 50 Street 49

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Dirk van Weelden

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Dirk van Weelden

Biography Biografie

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Introduction

You may say I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only one I hope some day you’ll join us And the world will be as one John Lennon Quoted by Richard Long in the Art & Project Bulletin 128, 1982

What web is this of will be, is, and was? Jorge Luis Borges Heraclitus, trans. Norman Thomas di Giovanni

Look at these drawings as an inventory of imaginary beings that exist inside of you. Dirk van Weelden Into The Cave

In this exhibition The Merchant House presents new drawings of the Dutch multimedia artist Hilarius Hofstede (1965) against the background of Bulletins 1-156, 1969-1989 from the pioneers of the Conceptual movement who worked with the Amsterdam gallery Art & Project. Across this stark conceptual spectrum, the show proposes a rereading of Hofstede’s singular work on paper centered on the primacy of nature. The play of difference is enhanced by the addition to the catalogue of six riveting essays by the novelist and long-time art commentator, Dirk van Weelden. Many of the Bulletins—an A3 sheet folded and mailed to and from the key figures of the time—are artist’s books par excellence reflecting the formal and linguistic vocabulary of the Duchampian non-retinal heritage. Referring to the 1970s and 80s Conceptual zeitgeist, Adriaan van Ravensteijn, who, together with Geert van Beijerens, founded Art & Project, commented in retrospect: “I still feel the excitement of weightlessness! ...The dematerialization of the artwork at full speed.”1 In her Bulletin 28, Hanne Darboven’s strings of numbers mark the passage of time. Darboven’s time-marks prompted Sol LeWitt, the author of five famous bulletins, to express a succinct manifesto: “The idea becomes a machine that makes art.”2 Ger van Elk’s popular Bulletin 33, Paul Klee—Um den Fisch, 1926 (Around the Fish), is about him devouring a fish dinner, while Bulletin 66 is about Marcel Broodthaers affirming himself as “director” and “curator” of his radical museum. Lawrence Weiner, a founding authority who contributed six bulletins over 15 years, summed up the experience as “language + the materials referred to.”3 Hofstede soaked up these expressions of the time by practically living with the Collectie Becht assembled by Art & Project’s major Dutch clients, Frits and Agnes Becht. To make use of this consciousness, he traveled to Paris to attend the Ecole Supérieure de Cinéastes and soon turned to language and music. In the late nineties, in his book-poem De Markies van Water (1996-2003), and in articles and assemblages under the funk moniker Paleo Psycho Pop, Hofstede initiated his luminous personal response to a postmodernism with its back turned to nature and origins.

1 Art & Project Bulletins 1-156, September 1968-November 1989, Cabinet Gallery, London, 20th Century Art Archives Cambridge, and Christophe Daviet-Thery, Paris, 2011, p. 24

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2 Sol LeWitt, “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art,” Artforum 5, no. 10, 1967, p.79 3 The widely quoted description used by Lawrence Weiner in relation to his work in mid-to late 1970s.

Bulletin 28, 1970 by Hanne Darboven, Bulletin 33, 1971 by Ger van Elk, Bulletin 43, 1971 by Sol LeWitt, and Bulletin 66, 1973 by Marcel Broodthaers, published by the gallery Art & Project, Amsterdam

Over time his play of metaphors in the eponymous zany magazine he cofounded proved a mimetic quarry for scholarly writing about his work.4 For Hofstede it is really that simple: Paleolithic masterpieces are part of our living history as much as current art, pop culture’s ties to commerce—civilized corruption, animals— our link to art in life and life in art. Though known for the collaborative installations of flourish and invention, Hofstede started making paper montages early on. According to him: “More than the brushstroke, the drawing process communicates the territory of dream, and in my case, the savagery of mind.” Included primarily in his nature exhibitions, such as Polynesian Instant Geography at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1999 and in 2012 at the Musée de la Chasse in Paris5 and the recent traveling Bison Caravan, these glorious renderings of primal and animal forms attracted attention of their own and landed in major museums and private collections. The conjunction of the superb new pieces with Art & Project’s Bulletins at The Merchant House is meant to allow for a possible look at art history in the making. After all, why did Amsterdam, the city of the Dutch still-life resplendent with objects, become the center of these nonobjective

4 The magazine Paleo Psycho Pop was conceived in 1996 by Hofstede in collaboration with the writer and philosopher Patrick Healey who remains a major contributor.

5 These exhibitions were organized as a joint long-term project with the Dutch artist Berend Hoekstra and centered on the work of both Hofstede and Hoekstra.


Berend Hoekstra and Hilarius Hofstede, Artist’s Books published for Hoekstra/Hofstede exhibitions: Polynesian Instant Geography by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in 1999, the Royal Museums of Art and History, Porte de Hal, Brussels, in 2003, and Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris, 2012.

practices? So much so that the American Lawrence Weiner moved over and is still venerated as one of the city’s great conceptual artists. Why did the regular white pages of a bulletin, as a form, suit the movement’s most radical attitudes? Quite possibly, the answer lies in an irreverent unfolding of Sol LeWitt’s bulletin paper grid: in a real transformation of the art object, in an offspring, such as Hofstede’s jagged sheets that figure the indescribable ideas of our time floated as lucid nubby creatures.

At first sight most of Hofstede’s new drawings strike one as realistic animal images in brilliant mosaic tints. We are tempted to touch the horns, the tentacles, the glistening skin, the scales and plunge into Hofstede’s primeval blue deep. With reflection, the montage aspects come into play: the creatures and forms are utterly strange, especially when taken in with their unnatural habitats and startling titles, like Nile Aristocrat, Lord of the Birds (Experienced), The Frog of Defunktional Metaphysics, Pacific Ash Dispersion, Black Bison Radio Dream, The Scream, The Prophet. The habitats are Hofstede’s craftwork excavations. Addressing the conceptual agenda with the material effect of a prehistoric cave, they are vistas on art history, the paraphernalia of Pop, Dada collages with broken text and stamping, referents of terror, dreams, primitive mind, and of a good laugh. A master craftsman, he conjures up a microcosm in each relief. Art-historically they just might be linked to the inimitable Willem Heda’s crinkled cloth settings for the 17th century breakfast vanitas, yet strike our virtuality-obsessed minds with images of quite real daily obsessions. And as though

seen through a camera lens, the historical and sociological slowly recede and a central, newly created form—of a precious animal or skull-like Scream—takes over.6 Purposeful and sincere in van Weelden’s view, Hofstede’s referential “name dropping is not a conceptual statement about mixing high and low culture, as if that would be important in itself…. Using his pencil, pen, brush, scissors and glue, the artist calls everything that is of vital importance for him to life”.7 In the 1970s and 80s, dematerialized Conceptual practices, exemplified in Art & Project’s Bulletins, addressed important social and artistic issues. Advancing beyond Fluxus, Pop, and Minimal art, they repositioned art, in and of itself, and its systems of display and ownership, for the increasingly mobile global culture. Most emblematically, Broodthaers blazed the trail by deconstructing the museum space with a traveling simulacrum under the sign of the eagle. Hofstede stepped into this Heraclitean (more likely Borgian in his case) river but on his terms—by infiltrating the museums themselves with delirious displays. At some point in the process, he says, he pictured the dream floodgates open letting the high water break the imaginary grids of art dykes, washing—one suspects—crocodiles and fish out of the aquariums, sweeping away the guns and swords, rousing great buffalos to roam and our thoughts to magically fly with the Broadthears eagles. The drawings seem to have sprung to life in “purification and oblivion.”8 Exploration of the essentially vital—with its “living labyrinth” mythologized in van Weelden’s unerring Becoming Light— is what makes Hofstede’s a work for the Anthropocene age, as scientists increasingly call the current postindustrial period, emphasizing the dangers of the human footprint on nature.9 Viewed on the computer screen, however, nature is often but a filtered passing image. Therefore, at this moment in time, when the virtual and the fictive in postconceptual art are easily taken for the natural and true to fact, Hofstede’s craft affirms its own force and the need for a real experience.

6 Based on the analysis of Fellini’s film, The Clowns, in Cinema 2: The TimeImage by Gilles Deleuze, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, trans. by H. Tomlinson and R. Galeta, 1989, p.90 7 Dirk van Weelden, “Street,” in this catalogue, p.50

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8 Jorge Luis Borges, “Heraclitus” from In Praise of Darkness: Parallel Text, trans. Norman Thomas di Giovanni, Allen Lane, 1975 9 Dirk van Weelden, “Becoming Light” in this catalogue, p.44


Inleiding

You may say I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only one I hope some day you’ll join us And the world will be as one John Lennon Geciteerd door Richard Long in Art & Project Bulletin 128, 1982

What web is this of will be, is and was? Jorge Luis Borges Heraclitus, vertaald door Norman Thomas di Giovanni

Bekijk deze tekeningen als een inventarisatie van denkbeeldige wezens die ook binnen in jou bestaan. Dirk van Weelden De grot in

In deze tentoonstelling presenteert The Merchant House nieuwe tekeningen van de Nederlandse multimedia-kunstenaar Hilarius Hofstede (1965). De tekeningen worden gepresenteerd tegen de achtergrond van Bulletins 1-156, gemaakt tussen 1986 en 1989 door de pioniers van de conceptuele kunst die samenwerkten met de Amsterdamse galerie Art & Project. Tegen deze strakke, conceptuele achtergrond verleidt de tentoonstelling tot een nieuwe benadering van Hofstedes uitzonderlijke werk op papier, dat draait om de almacht van de natuur. Dit spel met een andere kunstzinnige benadering wordt nog eens versterkt door de toevoeging van zes meeslepende inleidende essays van de romanschrijver en ervaren kunstbeschouwer Dirk van Weelden. Veel van de Art & Project Bulletins – een gevouwen A3-vel dat naar en door de sleutelfiguren uit die tijd werd verstuurd – zijn kunstenaarsboeken bij uitstek. Ze weerspiegelen het formele en linguïstische vocabulair van het niet-retinale erfgoed van Duchamp. In een terugblik en verwijzend naar de conceptuele Zeitgeist van de jaren 70 en 80 van de vorige eeuw, zei Adriaan van Ravensteijn, die Art & Project samen met Geert van Beijerens oprichtte: “Ik voel nog steeds de opwinding van gewichtloosheid! De dematerialisatie van het kunstwerk op volle snelheid”1. In haar Bulletin 28, markeren de getallenreeksen van Hanne Darboven het verloop van de tijd. Haar tijdmarkeringen waren aanleiding voor een bondig manifest uitgesproken door Sol LeWitt, auteur van vijf beroemde bulletins: “Het idee wordt een machine die kunst voortbrengt.” 2 Ger van Elks populaire Bulletin 33, Paul Klee—Um den Fisch, 1926 (Om de vis), ging over zijn verorbering van een vismaaltijd, terwijl Bulletin 66— ging over Marcel Broodthaers die zichzelf afficheerde als ‘directeur’ en ‘curator’ van zijn radicale museum. Een van de oprichters van de beweging, Lawrence Weiner, die in 15 jaar 6 bulletins leverde, vatte de ervaring bondig samen als “taal en de materialen waarnaar verwezen wordt.” 3 Hofstede was ondergedompeld in de kunstervaringen van die tijd, omdat hij praktisch samenwoonde met de Collectie Becht, samengesteld door Frits en Agnes Becht, de belangrijkste Nederlandse klanten van Art & Project. Hij voedde

1 Art & Project Bulletins 1-156, September 1968-November 1989, Cabinet Gallery, London, 20th Century Art Archives Cambridge, en Christophe Daviet-Thery, Paris, 2011, p. 24

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2 Sol LeWitt, “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art,” Artforum 5, no. 10, 1967, p.79 3 Lawrence Weiner gebruikte deze uitdrukking vaak in relatie tot zijn werk tijdens de tweede helft van de jaren zeventig.

dit bewustzijn door naar Parijs te reizen voor de Ecole Supérieure de Cinéastes en wendde zich vervolgens snel tot taal en muziek. In zijn boekgedicht De Markies van Water (1996-2003), artikelen en assemblages onder de funky vlag van Paleo Psycho Pop, gaf Hofstede voor het eerst zijn heldere persoonlijke antwoord op een postmodernisme dat de natuur en de oorsprong de rug toekeert. In het maffe tijdschrift met dezelfde naam dat hij mede oprichtte speelde hij met metaforen. In de loop der tijd bleken deze metaforen een onuitputtelijk reservoir voor geleerden die over zijn werk schreven.4 Voor Hofstede is het werkelijk zo eenvoudig: de meester­ werken uit de Steentijd zijn net zozeer onderdeel van onze levende geschiedenis als hedendaagse kunst, de banden tussen de popcultuur en commercie – beschaafde corruptie, dieren – onze band met de kunst in het leven en het leven in de kunst. Hoewel hij bekend werd door de uitbundige en inventieve installaties die hij samen met anderen maakte, begon Hofstede al vroeg met het maken van papiermontages. In zijn woorden: “Het tekenproces brengt, veel meer dan de penseelstreek, het territorium van de droom over, en in mijn geval, het ‘wilde denken’.” Als onderdeel van zijn natuurtentoonstellingen, zoals Polynesian Instant Geography in het Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1999 en in 2012 in het Musée de la Chasse in Parijs5 en de recente reizende Bison Caravan, trokken deze roemrijke verbeeldingen van primitieve en dierlijke vormen ook zelf de aandacht en kwamen terecht in belangrijke museale en privé-collecties. Door de nevenschikking van deze bijzondere nieuwe stukken en de Bulletins van Art & Project in het Merchant House zijn we misschien getuige van kunstgeschiedenis terwijl deze wordt geschreven. Per slot van rekening, waarom werd Amsterdam, de stad van het Hollandse stilleven waarin voorwerpen schitterden, het centrum van deze voorwerploze praktijken? Zelfs zozeer dat de Amerikaan Lawrence Weiner er naartoe verhuisde en hij nog steeds vereerd wordt als een van de grote conceptuele kunstenaars van de stad. Waarom pasten de gewone witte bladzijden van een bulletin, als vorm, bij de radicaalste opvattingen van de beweging? Het zou

4 Het tijdschrift Paleo Psycho Pop werd in 1996 door Hofstede bedacht, samen met de schrijver en filosoof Patrick Healey die belangrijke bijdragen blijf leveren.

5 Deze tentoonstellingen werden georganiseerd als een gezamenlijk lange-termijn project met de Nederlandse kunstenaar Berend Hoekstra. Het werk van van Hoekstra en Hofstede stond hierin centraal.


best kunnen dat het antwoord te vinden is in een oneerbiedige ontvouwing van het rasterpapier van het bulletin van Sol LeWitt: in een werkelijke transformatie van het kunstobject, als nieuwe spruit, voeren de rafelige vellen van Hofstede de onbeschrijfelijke ideeën van onze tijd op als doorschijnende knobbelige wezens. Op het eerste gezicht lijken de meeste van Hofstedes nieuwe tekeningen realistische dierenverbeeldingen in fonkelende mozaïektinten. We worden ertoe verleid de horens, tentakels, de glinsterende huid en de schubben aan te raken en Hofstedes blauwe oerdiepte in te duiken. Bij nadere beschouwing spelen de montage-aspecten mee: de schepselen en vormen zijn uitermate vreemd, vooral als je hun onnatuurlijke leefomgeving en verbluffende titels in ogenschouw neemt, zoals Nile Aristocrat, Lord of the Birds (Experienced), The Frog of Defunktional Metaphysics, Pacific Ash Dispersion, Black Bison Radio Dream, The Scream, The Prophet. De leefomgevingen zijn de vakkundige opgravingen van Hofstede. Ze richten zich tot de conceptuele agenda met het materiële effect van een prehistorische grot en leveren zo een vergezicht op kunstgeschiedenis, de parafernalia van Pop, Dada- collages met verbrokkelde tekst en stempels, verwijzingen naar verschrikking, dromen, de primitieve geest en een hartelijke lach. Als een meesterlijk vakman tovert hij in elk reliëf een microkosmos tevoorschijn. Kunsthistorisch zouden ze misschien wel eens verbonden kunnen zijn met de gekreukelde tafel­ kleden van het 17e-eeuwse Vanitas-ontbijt van de weergaloze Willem Heda, terwijl ze tegelijkertijd onze virtueel geobsedeerde gedachten treffen met onvervalste dagelijkse obsessies. En alsof ze gezien worden door een cameralens, verdwijnen de historische en sociologische connotaties naar de achtergrond en neemt een centrale, nieuw geschapen vorm – van een edel dier of een schedelachtige Schreeuw – het over.6 Hofstede’s name dropping is volgens van Weelden opzettelijk en oprecht en “geen conceptueel statement over de vermenging van hoge en lage cultuur, alsof dat op zichzelf ertoe zou doen…. De kunstenaar gebruikt zijn potlood, pen, penseel, schaar en lijm om daarmee alles wat voor hem van wezenlijk belang is tot leven te wekken”7.

6 Gebaseerd op de analyse van Fellini’s film De Clowns, in Cinema 2: The TimeImage door Gilles Deleuze, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, in de vertaling van H. Tomlinson and R. Galeta, 1989, p.90.

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7 Dirk van Weelden, “Van de straat” in deze catalogus, p. 49

In de Jaren 70 en 80 van de vorige eeuw hielden conceptuele kunstenaars zich bezig met belangrijke sociale en artistieke kwesties. Nog radicaler dan Fluxus, Pop en Minimal Art, eisten ze voor de kunst een positie op, die op zichzelf stond, als systeem van eigendom en tentoonstellen, in een alsmaar mobielere mondiale cultuur. In een emblematisch gebaar sloeg Broadthears een nieuwe weg in door de museumruimte te deconstrueren door middel van een reizend simulacrum in het teken van de adelaar. Hofstede stapte in deze Heraclitische (of liever Borgiaanse in zijn geval) rivier maar op zijn eigen voorwaarden – door de musea zelf te infiltreren met uitzinnige uitstallingen. Op een bepaald moment tijdens het proces, zegt hij, stelde hij zich voor dat de sluisdeuren van de droomwereld openstonden, en het wassende water de denkbeeldige rasters van de kunstdijken doorbrak, krokodillen en vissen uit de aquaria meespoelde – zo vermoeden we – geweren en zwaarden meesleurde, en enorme bizons wakker schudde en liet ronddwalen en onze sacrale gedachten liet meevliegen met de adelaars van Broadthears. De tekeningen lijken tot leven te zijn gekomen in “zuivering en vergetelheid.”8. Verkenning van het absoluut vitale – met zijn “levende labyrinth” zoals dat tot mythe werd gemaakt in van Weeldens feilloze Licht Worden – is wat het werk van Hofstedes kunst een werk voor het antropocene tijdperk maakt, zoals de wetenschappers die de gevaren van de menselijke invloed op de natuur benadrukken, de huidige postindustriële periode noemen.9 Op een computerscherm bekeken is de natuur vaak slechts een gefilterd, vluchtig beeld. Omdat juist nu het virtuele en het fictieve in post-conceptuele kunst gemakkelijk worden geïnterpreteerd als het natuurlijke en waarheidsgetrouwe, bevestigt het vakmanschap van Hofstede de kracht van de kunst en de behoefte aan een onvervalste ervaring.

8 Jorge Luis Borges, “Heraclitus” uit In Praise of Darkness: Parallel Text, in de vertaling van. Norman Thomas di Giovanni, Allen Lane, 1975.

9 Dirk van Weelden, “Licht worden” in deze catalogus, p.43



New Drawings Nieuwe Tekeningen

CK A BL RN E TH HO EAM — F O INZ DR ICS N R UR — P ADIO HYS OF R T RE SS N R TAP ROR MBE SE — E E TH DNE BISO L M TEREME EDU — LIN CK NA HE I R . M LIE RD N I U IKI B BLA KTIO — T — DR HAR IZA R Q LE AL T — FUN HET RAT O — E C HE L NGE R A OR RAT DE OP OC NT INC T SE H IC — C OC OF PR RIST IME PR YE — PAS N HO RN RIST ROG THE ILE A OSCE) — H E THE T H HO E A E F — N HIN EU FIS — C E HE NIL TH ED) LUE R BL AD NG H I — E E T T B C — E — N) — N — IEN E — GE) MALI A D EAM AM RTL ISO RSIO PER UD UVA NO ROM Y DR E CR E TU IZOB ISPE (EX LTIT E SA S (A G F GRA S E PL CH D RDS F A SÉ UR PIN IN H T IP OS SH BI G O EN BO RIP ST N IN C A E O LA P RE D D THE H I R H (R ACIF OF T HE F D ( — À TAR — N IN D S P D T — LOR 6 — E M AINE S CU HOR 4 VAG EG D’ HE T LO E SA CH R : BIRNG T TH BOS ILLA INKI — ER TH K R PA ING — K

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The Scream

mixed media on paper 2015 gemengde technieken op papier 71 x 50 cm


The Chthonic Harlequin

2015 mixed media on paper 58 x 43 cm gemengde technieken op papier


The Return of the Black Nipple Turtle

mixed media on paper 2015 gemengde technieken op papier 50 x 60 cm


The Horn

2015 mixed media on paper 60 x 76 cm gemengde technieken op papier



Coral Tiki Blindness

2015 mixed media on paper 58 x 64 cm gemengde technieken op papier



Into The Cave Dirk van Weelden

Someone went inside, not just inside a house, but deep inside, underground-inside, into-the-back-ofhis-head-inside. And what stayed outside were not just the others, the exhibitions and the magazines. He wanted to close himself off from the knowledge he had collected about genres and composition, about the artful lines of the master draughtsmen. He wanted to be where he was left alone with what could happen if he just watched his hand that tried to draw the lethargically moving images of animals that lived inside his head, keenly alert to the consequences of what he erased, cut away, pasted over. Every drawing starts with an available space, a contour, and that doesn’t have to be the outline of a body or a building; it is an imaginary space, a form. Inside of that space things can happen. There is no composition, only the rampant growth of lines. Some of them frail and testing, in pencil, others hard and thick, beams of ink. It goes on until the imaginary cavity, the cave, the body is filled up. And sometimes the drawing bursts through the walls of the contour. He works by touch, dancing to a never ending beat that transports you and entangles you in movements and steps, convulsions and lines you could never conceive of or chart in advance. Overgrowth of eye-handcoordination. The best comparison may be a montage of recorded sound: a sequence of layered fragments of time. These drawings happened.

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The moments that were frozen and presented in montage here were filled with observing the act of drawing and the appearance of the creatures, memories, and thoughts that emerged. By paying attention and thinking about nothing other than the creatures that appeared, the drawings became the masks of those complex moments. No, they’re not the expressive bodies or faces of those moments, in which eye, hand, memory, and imagination danced together, but their masks. They leave the plane, become almost objects. A mask liberates its wearer from the confusion and the effort it takes to be or play oneself. It is an instrument to make room for the desire to become someone else, often an inhuman creature. An animal, a ghost, a god, a mythical hero, a monster. An imaginary being. It may not be easy or comfortable to acknowledge, but every person is peopled by imaginary beings. Some of them are ancient and collective and we recognize them in sermons, fairytales, myths, and horror movies. Others originate in childhood experiences and they appear in dreams, panic attacks, or while intoxicated. Some are the product of our imagination when our desires and ideals are damaged and violated by life, the regime of society, or the horrific news with which the world bombards us. Look at these drawings as an inventory of imaginary beings that also exist inside you.


Prinz Horn (Rhinoschizobison)

2015 mixed media on paper gemengde technieken op papier 67 x 76 cm


Nile Aristocrat

2015 mixed media on paper 50 x 63 cm gemengde technieken op papier


Black Bison Radio Dream

mixed media on paper 2015 gemengde technieken op papier 77 x 62 cm


Pacific Ash Dispersion

2015 mixed media on paper 86 x 59 cm gemengde technieken op papier



Soul Dirk van Weelden

In a speech at the dinner table on their 25th anniversary, I brought out a toast to the veteran bride and groom’s health, not just because they were these kind and fun people and a good couple, but for this reason: they do not walk away when the going gets rough. If life gets sad, miserable, scary, and revolting, they step up without sacrificing their openness, kindness, and style. This generosity of spirit involves not only close family and friends, but includes, as well, the life of the woman next door with psychiatric problems, the drifting son of a deceased friend, the illegal cleaning lady, the old and dying artist in his lonely studio in the neighborhood. Also, when others fall victim to their own weaknesses and act stupidly, they sit down, take the time, and help. Very practical, without a fuss, with energy and humor. If you get close to them, you feel like organizing a festive dinner and end up dancing, exactly because life is so often a valley of tears. In other words, this was, I ended my speech, a couple with soul. What is a soul? Forget the extraterrestrial, immaterial battery superior beings like to recycle. I propose to see the soul as a kind of sense organ. An existential organ of balance, that senses how we fit into the world around us, not per minute, as bodies, but over time, as human beings. That journey is about power, pleasure, pain, appreciation, love, but also about cruelty, guilt, and forgiveness. Our lives have a metabolism in which we exchange these things with the people around us. If the cycle becomes one-sided,

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shows us up short, chokes our powers, we cannot maintain a dynamic balance between the tragedy and the splendor of life and our soul starts to suffer and produces pain. If you have a well developed soul, it’s easy to see other people’s soul. You could also call it a sense of proportion between the big and the small, the world inside and the world outside, sense and emptiness, I and not-I, conscious and subconscious. This sense organ operates along the borders of what we can mentally grasp. Not in lofty abstractions. The soul works down to earth, it is the continuous feedback of a never to be successfully interpreted human experience, daily and particular, that acts as a radical ironic qualification of all the things that promise us truth, wealth, and happiness: science, money, politics, fame, and religion. Somebody went inside, sat down, tuned his hand like a radio to the frequency of his soul and started drawing.


The Frog of Defunktional Metaphysics

mixed media on paper 2015 gemengde technieken op papier 82 x 64 cm


Lord of the Birds (Experienced)

2015 mixed media on paper 74 x 96 cm gemengde technieken op papier



The Prophet

2015 mixed media on paper 101 x 65 cm gemengde technieken op papier



The Mythosphere Dirk van Weelden

Wonderful thing, human reason. Amazing what you can do with it: knowledge, machinery, medicine. But when it comes down to getting rid of hunger and war or making a just society, reason is as much part of the problems as it is of the solutions. The same applies to the prevention of a planetary ecological catastrophe. We need all the intelligence there is, to save us from the possibly fatal effects of our intelligence. Facts don’t tell you what to do; things leave you guessing about the future. Reason points the way, often in many directions, but doesn’t offer certainty or guarantees. Humans are all alone with their wishful dreams and nightmares, with their ideals and gods, all the fairytales that tell the course of the history of the world to the very end. This whole cloud of imagination is what determines the use of all the intelligence, money, violence, and labor on earth. Much has changed since the stone age, but this truth has not. Nor has our metabolism. And just as it was back then, our daily world is filled with this atmosphere of images, sounds, gestures, and rituals that make all these spirits, ghosts, and dream visions present. This is the mythosphere in which we are submerged—an omnipresent mobile internet of stories of underlying meaning we use as a medium to earn a living, amuse each other, to motivate or convince other people and make them obey. It is all around us, just as the ghosts and totem animals

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were a living presence in the primal forest twenty thousand years ago. These drawings, are they retro cave art? There are frogs, and crocodiles, turtles, bison, and jelly fish. There are references to primitive art, like the heads that resemble African masks or the tattoos of Polynesian warriors. But a closer look shows you creatures looking like aliens from SF films, giant brains walking around on bird legs. No, this art is no nostalgia, these drawings are a push in the back. Yes, come closer, uncomfortably close, until you smell the glue, see the shadow of the bumps in the paper and the fingerprints of the artist. Accept the invitation these drawings are. To play a game, you could say, starting from this idea: what if we looked at these drawings as if they were an inventory of the creatures, ghosts and gods, monsters and heroes, that govern us, whether we want them to or not. Even if we have imagined them ourselves but pretend reason rules our world. Powers we want to live with in peace in the mythosphere, like our ancestors wanted to live in peace with the bear, the lion, the bison, the snake. Well then, what do you see, who do you see? This exhibition is a guided tour in the dream version of our collective present.


The Terror of Lot 46

mixed media on paper 2015 gemengde technieken op papier 84 x 59 cm


The Frog of Altitude

2015 mixed media on paper 76 x 50 cm gemengde technieken op papier


Blue Nile Aristocrat

mixed media on paper 2015 gemengde technieken op papier 86 x 50 cm


I Remember

2015 mixed media on paper 100 x 82 cm gemengde technieken op papier



Thinking And Doing Dirk van Weelden

What do these drawing do? What do all these creatures do as they appear before our eyes as in an underwater ballet? Are they a team, a family of ghosts and gods? They are imaginary beings, with a life of their own, albeit as images. What is striking is that these images, having emerged in a process of fumbling and improvisation, erasing and pasting, of bits and pieces, do not show us any drama. They may be repulsive, eerie or frightening, but they are not aggressive. There is no hunting, fighting, or killing going on. Neither are there references to sex or reproduction. In fact, the creatures show no behavior whatsoever. They do not do anything, they are there. The fact of their existence is what is most important. That fact is the event that charges the drawings. They are so powerful and full of detail they appear as a cast of characters from the opening pages of a metaphysical graphic novel. What do these characters personify? Well, surely not some momentary emotional state or atmospheric artistic feeling. Looking for clues I come across these bits of paper pasted into the drawings. The title page of Lévy Strauss’s The Savage Mind, clippings from the sleeve of the soundtrack album of Fellini’s Amarcord, a fragment of the title page of a book by R.D. Laing. They all hint at the fact that a sense of wondering about the process from which the creatures seem to emerge spontaneously is an important aspect of these drawings. And there is

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knowledge involved in this wondering. The artist tries to be a conscious part of a process wherein intuitive knowing emerges. That intention is the real theme in these drawings. Lévy Strauss studied the analogical, magical, and intuitive ways of thinking about primitive cultures, not as a backward form of rational thought, but as a distinct, equally valid way of thinking. Laing argued that the hallucinations of people in a psychotic episode were not to be discarded as meaningless expressions of biologically damaged people, but as meaningful imaginations of the extreme emotional situations in which they found themselves. Fellini turned his youth in Rimini during fascist times into a cinematic narrative that seemed like a dream, a fairytale, whimsical, absurd, and full of slapstick. But in this way he could find images for a human truth that is of equal value to the historical truth. This sequence of drawings are the experiments of somebody who lets himself be led by his hand, his memory, his eye, his associations and reflexes, and gets into a flow. An attempt at lucid dreaming on paper, but not as a goal in itself. He trusts the deeper order that exists under the apparent chaos and randomness of dreams, intuitions, and improvisations. An order people share, one that connects individuals and groups, connects periods, disciplines, cultures. Which ones? Just check out the titles of these drawings!


The Savage Mind (La PensĂŠe Sauvage)

mixed media on paper 2015 gemengde technieken op papier 50 x 86 cm


Rhinoscimento

2015 mixed media on paper 50 x 64 cm gemengde technieken op papier



Dr. Meduse

2015 mixed media on paper 99 x 63 cm gemengde technieken op papier



Becoming Light Dirk van Weelden

We believe the hero to be clever, brave, and strong enough to overcome all the confusion and problems the labyrinth of the world will throw at him and finally slay the monster, in order to establish order and peace. This mission is impossible without a woman giving him something to hold on to, a code of good and evil, that connects him to her. Inside the labyrinth it functions as his compass to conquer all fear, doubt, and adversity. But the woman knows that the hero, as soon as he has slain the monster and emerges from the labyrinth as the proud victor, will betray her and her code. He will establish a kingdom to gather wealth, power, and glory, and he will be unscrupulous. His No will be louder, he will silence more people, end more lives, interdict and prescribe all the more, revenge himself on all others. She knows that the secret of the labyrinth is that the bull that seems to be a monster is life itself, the true source of all creation and becoming and that liberating the bull is a higher good than slaying the monster. The woman wants the bull to come closer and closer, she is motionless, her heart pounds, there is sweat on her back, her lips tremble, she feels the immense warm mass approaching, she hears his relaxed breathing, she smells him. Then the bull whispers “yes� into her small round ear. Because he is just that, the first and greatest Yes that exists, and now it dawns on her that the labyrinth is not a dungeon, but an infinite explosion of diverse little yeses. The labyrinth is the world itself, not a terrifying prison, but a constantly changing and repeating expression

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of the creative power of the bull. The story of the hero, who established the reign of his brute will, by bravely and cleverly leaving the darkness of the labyrinth behind, is exposed as a childish and despicable lie. The world is a living labyrinth, the sun is shining, the earth trembles with the wild dance of the bull and the woman, they are laughing and though pain and death, sorrow and cruelty will always repeat themselves, life can still be good; great happiness, great beauty, great wisdom can exist, as long as the woman and the bull dance together, as long as they whisper yes in each other’s ear. Her yes sets the bull free from the cave, so he can dance the world into being as a living labyrinth. His yes is the seed that impregnates her through her small round ear. She will give birth to a small light creature that can live in all people and give them the strength to be bigger than their cleverness, their determination bigger than the delusions of fear and anger that make them say no and become vengeful, greedy, and narrow minded. They can become light.


Bosch Regained

mixed media on paper 2015 gemengde technieken op papier 70 x 60 cm


A Rebours (Anomalie Bleue)

2015 mixed media on paper 67 x 48 cm gemengde technieken op papier


Prince Charlie Parkerilla: Bird’s Custard Dripping from a Dead Fish Eye

mixed media on paper 2015 gemengde technieken op papier 83 x 67 cm


The Lizard King

2015 mixed media on paper 134 x 47 cm gemengde technieken op papier


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Street Dirk van Weelden

The titles are part of these drawings, just like the stamps that decorate them and that refer to other projects the artist is involved in, collaborations with a painter and with a funk band (Joseph Bowie’s Defunkt) that he provides with lyrics. The allusions in the titles are the hands and feet with which the drawings find their way into the world. They grab hold of artists’ names (Edvard Munch, Jeroen Bosch), or authors (Lévy Strauss, Kahlil Gibran, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Thomas Pynchon), but they also refer to the names of musicians (Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Defunkt, Graham Parker) and auteurs (Fritz Lang, Federico Fellini). They are full of neologisms and puns, and sometimes have the ring of the title of a horror movie or a pop album. This name dropping is not a conceptual statement about mixing high and low culture, as if that would be important in itself. Have a closer look at how a drawing dances with the film, the philosopher, the musician that is alluded to. It is all about how the images, the ideas and the sounds, play together, how they penetrate each other. That dance may be playful, wild, and exuberant, but it is far from random. Everything here exudes urgency. Using his pencil, pen, brush, scissors, and glue, the artist calls everything that is of vital importance for him to life. It is unthinkable that films, music, science, novels, and poetry should be excluded. They should participate. There is a beat in his head that carries it all. Around it a bass line twists and

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turns, at times dragging, then jumping, adding drive, flesh and blood. These drawings are meditations and celebrations of vital energy, of the irrepressible force of memory as imagination in Fellini, of the joyful, death defying singing of Parker’s sax, of the tough and clever satirical music and mythology of the P-Funk of George Clinton and Bootsy Collins. Most of all they express the conviction that in the loss of self that dreams, dancing, and the lucid flow of an improvising musician can offer, for just a moment, the pain and oppression, the loneliness of this big disaster that is the world, can be overcome. No, he does not want to be a seer, a prophet anymore. Shamans can turn into bigoted and angry cranks too. It is better to use drawings and music to create moments in which people can see their desires and fears performed, but in which their minds and hips cannot stay still, because they hear the pushing and shoving of the bass, the singer shining and sweating, howling. When the jubilant bridge ends in a dizzying roll and everything falls back into the groove, everybody shouts YEEAAAH! That may be messy and loud, crude and confusing, sometimes dark and sometimes banal, but it is true.


Thinking the Horn

mixed media on paper 2015 gemengde technieken op papier 98 x 63 cm


The Stingray Dreaming

2015 mixed media on paper 60 x 78 cm gemengde technieken op papier



The Passenger

2015 mixed media on paper 70 x 54 cm gemengde technieken op papier



Biography

MAJOR EXHIBITIONS 1995 Paleo Psycho Pop Van Reekum Museum, Apeldoorn, NL 1996 M.A.D. Tour (Moscow-Amsterdam-Dublin) Thomas Street Warehouse, Dublin

Hilarius Hofstede (Hilversum, NL,1965) is a multimedia artist who explores tensions between representations of culture and nature in his works on paper, assemblages and texts. His masterfully collaged, pastiched, and bricolaged renderings of primal and animal forms are in many museums and private collections and regularly feature in the collaborative installations—from Polynesian Instant Geography (jointly with Berend Hoekstra) at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1999 and in 2012 at the Musée de la Chasse in Paris to the recent traveling Bison Caravan. Hofstede studied at the film academy Ecole Supérieure de Cinéastes in Paris in 1985 and then followed a personal trajectory exhibiting in major European art centers. He currently lives and works in Amsterdam.

1996 River Biblioteca Nazionale, Florence 1996 Wordwall 3 Galerie Onrust, Amsterdam 1998 8 Jonge Kunstenaars Group show of 8 young artists Galierie Nouvelles Images, Den Haag 1999 Polynesian Instant Geography Jointly with Berend Hoekstra Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL 2000 Polynesian Instant Geography Jointly with Berend Hoekstra Biennale, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium 2003 Bison Caravan (traveling exhibition) Aarhus Kunstmuseet, Aarhus, Denmark 2003 Polynesian Instant Geography Jointly with Berend Hoekstra Royal Museums of Art and History, Porte de Hal, Brussels

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2005 Natural Born History Aarhus Naturhistorisk Museet, Aarhus, Denmark 2006 Drawings Galerie Isy Brachot, Brussels 2007 Pop Gun Tojhusmuseet, Kopenhagen, Denmark

PUBLIC AND OPEN PRIVATE COLLECTIONS Collectie Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam Collectie Becht Amsterdam CODA Museum Apeldoorn, NL Collectie Teunen Geisenheim, Germany

2011 Remain in Light/ Islands of the Soul Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam

Collectie Braat Kortenhoef, NL

2012 Polynesian Instant Geography Jointly with Berend Hoekstra Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris

Collectie Musée de la Chasse Paris

2013 YES NATURALLY Group show with Jimmy Durham, Mark Dion, Anselm Kiefer, and Ai WeiWei Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, NL 2014 Bison Caravan Tierrafino, Amsterdam

Collectie Arte Y Naturaleza Madrid

Collectie Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, NL


Biografie

Hilarius Hofstede (Hilversum, Nederland, 1965) is een multimedia kunstenaar die in zijn werken op papier, zijn assemblages en teksten de spanningen onderzoekt tussen de manieren waarop natuur en cultuur worden weergegeven. Zijn meesterlijke collages, die als pastiche en bricolage oerbeelden en dierlijke vormen opvoeren, zijn te vinden in vele museale en privé-collecties en verschijnen met enige regelmaat in de installaties van Polynesian Instant Geography (een samenwerkingsverband met Berend Hoekstra), zoals in het Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1999 en in 2012 in het Musée de la Chasse in Parijs of in de recente reizende manifestatie Bison Caravan. Hofstede studeerde aan de Ecole Supérieure de Cinéastes in Parijs in 1985 en volgde vanaf dat moment zijn eigen spoor, exposerend in belangrijke Europese kunstinstellingen. Momenteel woont en werkt hij in Amsterdam.

VOORNAAMSTE EXPOSITIES 1995 Paleo Psycho Pop Van Reekum Museum, Apeldoorn, NL 1996 M.A.D. Tour (Moskou-Amsterdam-Dublin) Thomas Street Warehouse, Dublin 1996 River Biblioteca Nazionale, Florence 1996 Wordwall 3 Galerie Onrust, Amsterdam 1998 8 Jonge kunstenaars Galerie Nouvelles Images, Den Haag 1999 Polynesian Instant Geography in samenwerking met Berend Hoekstra Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 2000 Polynesian Instant Geography in samenwerking met Berend Hoekstra Biennale, Leuven, België 2003 Bison Caravan (reizende expositie) Aarhus Kunstmuseet, Aarhus, Denemarken 2003 Polynesian Instant Geographyin samenwerking met Berend Hoekstra Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis, Hallepoort, België

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2005 Natural Born History Aarhus Naturhistorisk Museet, Aarhus, Denemarken 2006 Tekeningen galerie Isy Brachot, Brussel 2007 Pop Gun Tojhusmuseet, Kopenhagen, Denemarken

OPENBARE EN TOEGANKELIJKE PRIVÉ-COLLECTIES Collectie Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam Collectie Becht Amsterdam CODA Museum Apeldoorn, NL Collectie Teunen Geisenheim, Duitsland

2011 Remain in Light/ Islands of the Soul Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam

Collectie Braat Kortenhoef, NL

2012 Polynesian Instant Geography (in samenwerking met Berend Hoekstra) Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Parijs.

Collectie Musée de la Chasse Parijs

2013 YES NATURALLY Groepstentoonstelling met Jimmy Durham, Mark Dion, Anselm Kiefer en Ai Weiwei Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag 2014 Bison Caravan Tierrafino, Amsterdam

Collectie Arte Y Naturaleza Madrid

Collectie Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, NL


Colophon

Essays and Editorial Advice

The Merchant House Catalogue Hilarious Hofstede: New Drawings October 2015

Dirk van Weelden (1957) graduated in philosophy and published his literary debut in 1987, together with Martin Bril (Arbeidsvitaminen, Het ABC van Bril & Van Weelden). His solo debut followed in 1989 with Tegenwoordigheid van geest. He is the author of seven novels and several collections of stories and essays. For Mobilhome (1991) he received the Multatuli Prize and in 1999 the Frans Kellendonk Prize for his work. His most recent novel, Het laatste jaar, appeared in 2013. Since 1999 he is editor of De Gids.

Marsha Plotnitsky With texts by Dirk van Weelden Published on the occasion of the joint exhibition: Hilarius Hofstede: New Drawings/ Art & Project Bulletins 1-156, 1968-1989 The Merchant House October—December 2015 @The Merchant House Marsha Plotnitsky, Founding Director Herengracht 254 1016 BV Amsterdam www.merchanthouse.nl Graphic Design Stefan Altenburger, Amsterdam English Editing Martin Whitehead, PhD, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana Printing Veenmann+, Rotterdam Photography Gert Jan van Rooij Special Thanks AndrÊ van Oort Seth Castein Floor Barger Marie Claire van Hessen Chantal Maljers-Van Erven Dorens Louisa Riley-Smith 20th Century Archives, Cambridge

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Dirk van Weelden (1957) studeerde filosofie en debuteerde in 1987 samen met Martin Bril (Arbeidsvitaminen, Het ABC van Bril & Van Weelden). Zijn solo-debuut volgde in 1989 met Tegenwoordigheid van geest. Hij is de auteur van zeven romans en verscheidene bundels met essays en verhalen. Voor Mobilhome (1991) ontving hij de Multatuliprijs en in 1999 werd hij onderscheiden met de Frans Kellendonk Prijs. Zijn meest recente roman Het laatste jaar verscheen in 2013. Sinds 1999 is hij redacteur van De Gids.