Works ON PAPER at Hoorn & Reniers in The Hague

In their first anniversary exhibition this summer, Hoorn en Reniers present a range of works with many stark differences and one clear commonality – paper.

As a gallery, their focus lies with contemporary figurative art. While usually doing solo shows, the gallery finds it important to do a group show at least once a year, to explore broader trends in the art scene. For On Paper, artists hail from both within The Netherlands and far beyond, some are well-established artists while others have only recently graduated from an art academy. Still, the artists’ average age is only about 35.

A diverse bunch, but the show by no means feels fragmented. On the contrary, it is cohesive and engaging. The pieces interact in meaningful ways but every individual work is well worth your time.

As a rule of thumb, the gallery demands artists make new work in order to exhibit in their space in The Hague. This can be a big task for a single artist, and arguably opens risky potentialities when it comes to doing a group show. Thierry Reniers, co-owner, describes to me how a week before the opening he still didn’t exactly know what kind of works the artists would submit to him.

He explains that the shows at Hoorn & Reniers do tend to be rather similar – to show the zeitgeist of a time, the human experience of an era. One artist can do this, but bringing together a range of artists that both strengthen and stand in contrast to one another arguably achieves this goal better.

Reniers enthusiastically walks me through the exhibition, highlighting several pieces and explaining their position within the show as a whole. The process of putting the show together depended heavily on embracing its serendipitous nature.

First up, Peter Feiler’s piece Mahler und Modell. Having works in the collections of museums like Booijmans van Beuningen, Feiler is undoubtedly one of the more established artists on display. His usual practice aligns well to the medium demanded by the exhibition: Feiler almost always produces work on paper as this is most effective for his illustration-style work. He seamlessly intertwines a range of practiced techniques to create a stunning whole.

Hanging across from Feiler’s work is a large collage painting by Inge Aanstoot. Reniers relates to this piece in a special way: they’ve been working together for a while now. She’s a young painter and tends to work on canvas, so creating work for this show using paper meant she was able to rely on her standard technique less. As a result, a certain looseness, a new manner of working came about.

She made a collage of large scraps of her own painting, an impossibility on canvas. Sometimes, Reniers says, providing restrictions that don’t align to the standard practice of an artist means they explore territory that was previously uninteresting to them, but opens up new ways of working. When making a collage, a stroke of paint on paper is less of a commitment than it is when working with canvas, as it can always be redone.

Both the works and the exhibition as a whole are an ode to the accident.

This also counts for Wim Warrink’s machines, like Blikleger, a paint-can emptying installation which blasts paint onto paper. The piece implies that a certain control has been relinquished, but the created aesthetic is equally surprising for artist, gallerist and visitor.

In her piece Dear Cassandra, Arike Gill depicts a parody of newspaper ‘Metro’ from the day October 25, 2019. In contrast to Warrink, the desire to gain control over societal matters is apparent here. The headline of the paper reads that an end to the Dutch Black Pete discussion is finally in sight. Elsewhere in the gallery you can find a full newspaper with this same cover, complete with articles and headlines. Here, too, the theme of the exhibition seems to have led the artist to having created work she normally wouldn’t: a physical newspaper.

Then again, The Diamant Heist, Gill’s second piece in the exhibition, is a playful teasing of the theme. While all works use paper, often as some kind of carrier, this work does exactly the opposite: made with 3D pens, it carries itself. While the pens are fun to use, the technique is a difficult one to master. The Diamant Heist adds an exciting layer to the exhibition: what kind of works can be made when we look beyond this traditional material?

The organic encounter that occurs at Hoorn en Reniers this summer is one worth exploring. All works relate to the here and now in their own ways and through one simple similarity – paper – a timely spirit emerges.   Malou den Dekker   17th June 2018

Th exhibition continues until 29th July.