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Art Rotterdam : an introduction


Art is everywhere, especially in Rotterdam last week. Art, design and architecture enthusiasts found various fairs throughout the city, special openings of exhibitions in museums and art institutions, open-air installations, pop up shows and open workshops.

Central to the activities is the Art Rotterdam fair that takes place in the historic Van Nelle building – for the non-subscribers we take the liberty of reproducing an excerpt from last year’s contribution:: the Van Nelle factory is a building designed by Leendert van der Vlugt (1894-1936) & Johannes Brinkman (1902-1949) and was realized in the period 1925-31. At that time, Van Nelle was a global player in the trade of “colonial commodities”, coffee, tea and tobacco. The building is a world-class monument of functionalism, the New Building (das Neues Bauen) and is contemporary to the New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit/ Nouvelle Objectivité) where a new sense of space was created using reinforced concrete. It was recognized in 2014 as a monument on the Unesco World Heritage List. It radiated optimism and positivism, and a certain visitor named Le Corbusier (1887-1965) stated:

“In Rotterdam you have a wonderful proof of life to come! Of a purity, so unconditionally pure!”

Normally, the fair is programmed in February, but this year, too, it had to be postponed – the reason is well known. It is not the place for the photography lover, but for people with a broad interest in art and design in the broadest sense of the word, it is certainly a destination.

Spread over 10,000 square metres, you will find about 100 galleries from the Netherlands, of course, and also from Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Slovenia and Switzerland.

A selection committee with internationally recognised members subjected the candidate participants to a rigorous selection process and thus guarantees the quality of the fair.

Besides the galleries, an important part of the exhibition space is taken up by the Mondriaan Fund – an initiative to give young talent the opportunity to deepen their discipline and then exhibit their art, e.g. here in Rotterdam at the Prospects exhibition.

Let’s not forget the NN Art Award: an annual incentive prize for young talent. Here one of the nominees of this award this year is the young photographer Vytautas Kumža who dares to tackle one of the oldest problems of photography: the depth in the image. The result is innovative and at the same time… not reproducible in 2 dimensions. Perhaps we will give attention to this artist at a later date.

In addition, the galleries and the Mondriaan Fund organised a large number of side events on the festival grounds.

The following contributions give an impression of what went on: but given the number of events, it is of course (as it should be) incomplete…

  • African Artist Foundation
  • Gallerie AKINCI
  • Galerie Bilhalle
  • Galerie Binome
  • Flatland Gallery
  • Francis Boeske Projects
  • Galerie Madé van Krimpen
  • Galerie Caroline O’Breen
  • Gallery Pedrami
  • The Ravestijn Gallery
  • Ron Mandes – Contemporary Art Gallery
  • TORCH Gallery
  • Galerie Wouter van Leeuwen

This is followed with contributions about:

  • Haute Photographie
  • Rotterdam Photo

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