Artists: International Institute of Social History, Ghislaine Leung, Remco Torenbosch
Venue: Cargo, Amsterdam
Exhibition Title: On Property
Date: June 4 – July 25, 2020
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of the artists, Aatjan Renders, and ESSEX STREET, New York
ON PROPERTY is set against the backdrop of one of the most speculative construction sites in Amsterdam: de Houthavens. This former port area (also the location where Cargo is located) is exemplary of how idealistic urban expansion is used as a means for speculation of property, with all its socio-economic consequences. ON PROPERTY focuses on the subcutaneous and invisible lines of the idea of ownership, a concept that forces separations from public and private and that produces an unequal distribution of collective values. ON PROPERTY investigates the complex influence that ownership has on culture, political economy, production, distribution, and discusses possible alternatives.
Much of Remco Torenbosch’s artistic practice is devoted to creating works that don’t have a permanent physical presence. Instead, he assembles existing objects or situations by repositioning or recontextualizing them to create a new work or discourse. For ON PROPERTY, Torenbosch brought together the installation VIOLETS 2 (2018) by Ghislaine Leung in combination with loans from the collection of the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam.
VIOLETS 2 is a ventilation system appropriated by Leung, which was removed from Netwerk Café Aalst (Belgium) in 2017, after it had become redundant due to the introduction of the smoking ban in Belgium in 2007. Central to the work are questions about which forces determine our personal environment as well as the institutions that organize our community life. It exposes a subcutaneous layer that usually remains invisible yet is essential to the liveability of a space. The installation of the work consists only of a short instruction that states all material must be used. In addition, as part of the installation, a welcome sign must be purchased and displayed on site.
The loans from the IISH archive consist of a number of posters depicting various historical housing crises in Amsterdam: from the Provo movement in the 1960s, to the squatters’ movement and squatters’ expansion to make room for social rental housing in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Torenbosch chose these specific posters because of their historical value, methods of communication and distribution.
The combination of a contemporary art installation with archival material concerning housing shortage and real estate problematics shows Torenbosch’ fascination for the development of ownership and appropriation. As a compiler, he assumes a curatorial and editorial role as an artistic gesture, emphasizing the mutual relationship between cultural production and politics. The composition as a whole can be considered as an experimental form of a case study that lacks a traditional hierarchy and chronology. In this way, the possibility for interpretation and creating connections remains open.
INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL HISTORY (IISH). Founded in 1935, the IISH is one of the world’s leading research institutes in the field of social history. Since 1979 it is part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).
GHISLAINE LEUNG lives and works in London. Her work has recently been exhibited at: Kunstlerhaus Stuttgart, ESSEX STREET New York, KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin, Chisenhale Gallery London, Netwerk Aalst, Local Studies at Reading International, Cell Project Space London, WIELS in Brussels. Leung is a member of PUBLICATIONS + EDITIONEN.
REMCO TORENBOSCH lives and works in Amsterdam. His work has recently been exhibited at: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Kunsthalle Wien, Victoria and Albert Museum London, De Appel Amsterdam, Kunsthaus Zurich, De Vleeshal Middelburg and GAMeC Bergamo. He was part of the collaborative projects Forum on European Culture and Casco Utrecht as part of the Grand Domestic Revolution.
Link: “On Property” at Cargo