press release

De Hallen Haarlem kicks off the new season with two international group exhibitions: The Knight’s Tour, curated by Xander Karskens, and Lunar Distance, guest curated by Suzanne Wallinga.

Suzanne Wallinga is the recipient of De Hallen Haarlem’s 2009 Young Curator’s Grant, which has been generously provided by the Frans Hals Foundation. This is the first time this grant has been awarded. In doing so, De Hallen Haarlem aims to offer young curatorial talent in The Netherlands an institutional platform to research, develop and present a curatorial project that contextualizes and reflects upon the museum’s collection.

The Knight’s Tour and Lunar Distance have been simultaneously developed, both offering contemporary reflections on Giambattista Vico’s 18th century verum factum-concept. This epistemological premise by the Italian Enlightenment philosopher postulates that ‘the true is made’, in other words: man can only truly understand what he himself has constructed. Even as late as the era of Modernism, there still appeared to be a firm belief in the capacity of art to lay a claim to universal values. Today, there seem to be ever more artists who are convinced that reality is a construction of one’s own mind.

The Knight’s Tour brings together positions in contemporary art that show a renewed interest in the ‘aura’ of materials and physical processes. Working between representation and non-representation, the participating artists are looking for ways to articulate connections between aesthetic experience and a kind of intuitive or spiritual register, be it through playful, banal, or quasi-mystical artistic strategies. In a world that is largely de-objectified and demystified by technological developments, new sculptural approaches to ‘the object’ are presented here. The Vico-inspired question ‘what is an object, and how can we know it?’ is crucial: the relation between idea and result, complicated by the production process that lies in between, is the central focus of this exhibition.

While the artists in The Knight’s Tour re-examine the contemporary object by processing the ephemeral and articulate the indefinable, Lunar Distance, in contrast, presents more rationalistic positions. The exhibition investigates changes that took place in science, art and society after the end of the sixties, due to processes of technological advancement, globalisation and increasing mobility. The title refers to the first moon landing, that took place forty years ago. The images of the moon landing showed a new world: a world in which technology is omnipresent, and at the same time a world in which a great deal of scepticism came to exist regarding the veracity of the mediated image. Lunar Distance brings together artists who in an apparently objective manner investigate the relation between image and meaning on the one hand, and the perception of reality in a digital era on the other. The exhibition systematically poses the question of the relation between logic and subjectivity.

Catalogue The exhibitions are accompanied by the richly illustrated publication Lunar Distance / The Knight’s Tour, with texts by Arie Altena, Nickel van Duijvenboden, Xander Karskens, Mariska Kriek, and Suzanne Wallinga. ISBN: 978-94-90198-02-2.

only in german

The Knight’s Tour / Lunar Distance

The Knight’s Tour: Nina Canell, Roger Hiorns, David Jablonowski, Christina Mackie, Navid Nuur, Jennifer Tee
Lunar Distance: Anna Barriball, Jeroen Eisinga, Ceal Floyer, Aurelien Froment, Douglas Gordon, Christoph Keller, Zilvinas Landzbergas, David Maljkovic, Charlotte Posenenske