THE HOARDER at Moira Cultural Centre in Utrecht

Utrecht’s underground independent art scene could easily be missed, but away from the corporate bustle of the high street, if you want something a little more than just Centraal Museum, there are a whole host of independent art galleries to explore, with Moira being just one. Moira is an independent exhibition space that showcases local artists from all over Utrecht, hosting open mike nights, screening films and creating experimental exhibitions. Their goal is to offer a platform for smaller artists who have innovative initiatives ranging across the visual arts, theatre and music.

I recently went to see The Hoarder, a collaborative work from Dutch artists Babs Bleeker, Lorena Solis Bravo, Afra Eisma, Heleen Mineur and Marnix van Uum that was on at Moira throughout the month of March. The exhibition opened on March 9th with a one off performance piece by Lorena Solis Bravo entitled ‘Slowfall’, and from then on for the next three weekends Moira opened for free to anyone who wanted to come and take a look at ‘The Hoarder’. Initially slightly overwhelming, the space was filled with an eclectic mix of art forms that included everything from videos and spray painted canvases to sculpture combined with textiles. Babs Bleeker’s spray painted canvases use colours, textures and patterns that are digitally inspired, with the layering and colouring having an incredible effect. Each of the canvases offered something new, but Bleeker’s distinct innovative style was present in each. Marnix van Uum created another incredibly effective piece, utilising the surreal in the creation of his tragicomic videos. Heleen Mineur’s video was even more surreal, with no narration, but simply used video editing to magnify seemingly random Dali-esque objects.

The whole exhibition had a sense of the surreal, with each artist subverting traditional artistic and aesthetic methods to create something innovative and unique. All four artists created interesting, digitally inspired pieces, but the connection between them besides a vague notion of being similarly innovative and surreal was slightly harder to find. The exhibition description states ‘we found ourselves taking pleasure in the useless sympathy of inorganic patience adding to the mountains of discarded waste.’ Although this sounds intriguing, other than adding to the odd, dream-like quality of the exhibition this description’s message is hard to locate in the exhibition itself. Overall, this digital, hyper-real exhibition had a dreamlike quality with incredibly interesting and provocative work from independent Dutch artists. Although Moira doesn’t have any upcoming exhibitions currently advertised, it’s definitely a space to keep an eye on.   Martha Bird     29th March 2019