From Athens to Rotterdam, with love
Coming from the city of Athens, I’ve witnessed much discussion about crisis and politics, and of course artistic creation. As you understand, Athens is difficult to compare to the city of Rotterdam for a number of reasons. My birthplace is ignmost grotesque: a mixture of historical sites, with graffiti on it, and always in the process of constructing something new. Rotterdam is a step up from that and to quote the large billboards with regards to the idea of modernity, here you can make it happen. The great architecture, the power of the new and the traditional combined in art and design, become a rich soil for the contemporary art scene.
During my last visit to Rotterdam, around the time when the Museumnacht Rotterdam took place, in an attempt to compare the Athenian grotesqueness to Rotterdam, I found a great example in an exhibition that made a big impression on me: Agua com Gas, in the Joey Ramone Gallery. Artists live on the edge, they create their works on the margins of society and so, despite the organized structure of Rotterdam as a city l was able to find works of art here that are in its core grotesque.
The work Aqua Com Gas consists of, amongst other things, an installation with tanks full of water and bonsai in them, as well as a video installation. A time-lapse shows the gradual decay of the bonsai trees because of the existence of water. On top of the aesthetic beauty of the work, an underlying message can be found in the context of its creation. The creator is referred to as “Various Artists (24 members)”. Different personas, created by the artist Trudo Engels to support his artistic practice. This collective of personas is a concept of the fragmented body of the artist; pieces of an idea placed in different places. This concept is a work of art in itself, a grotesque one. This ‘one to 24’ and ‘24 to one’ idea, is a transforming body, breathing now in Rotterdam and reminiscent of Athens.
Picture by: Ela Bialkowska. The representation of the Joey Ramone Gallery is fully detailed in gallery’s website.