Inflected objects

Inflected Objects #2: Circulation–Mise en Séance

January 16 – May 16, 2016
De Hallen Haarlem
Opening: January 15, 2016, 6pm

Pics or it didn’t happen – experiences turn into millions of images, moving through socio-technical networks and accumulating comments, views and likes.

Art is part of this economy of attention: in today’s hyper-networked era we are becoming used to seeing and experiencing artworks online. We encounter them as so many images in the various feeds we scroll through, our fingers touching the screen and our eyes quickly scanning its content.

Pics or it didn’t happen – the installation shot of an exhibition has become more important than the exhibition itself.

The exhibition Mise en Séance considers a different set of artworks: things that didn’t happen – objects that have been filed away in the storage space of De Hallen / Frans Hals Museum. They might have had a moment once and have seen the instantaneous light of a digital camera when their picture was taken for the collection’s database, but for now they quietly rest on shelves, are carefully wrapped in boxes or stoically stand in a courtyard. They exist in a state of latency, awaiting their turn to be exhibited. They are not dead, but because they don’t circulate or participate in contemporary media culture’s circuits of visibility, they are also not fully alive. They could be seen as ghosts with a stubborn and decaying materiality that insists on its own objective reality: paint starts to drip, fungus to spread and colors to fade. They exist in their own secluded temporality, secured by their status as part of a particular museum’s collection.

Mise en Séance stages an environment where artistic practices that are immersed in the logic of digital circulation encounter pieces of the collection of the Frans Hals Museum that, at first glance, seem radically detached from this logic. These objects were selected from the museum’s storage spaces and resume their place next to artworks that were created in response by Martijn Hendriks, Katja Novitskova, Vanessa Safavi and Dan Walwin. Without labels or any other explanations present in the exhibition space, the artworks have only each other to refer to and engage in a new set of relations. These relations of formal, conceptual and affective affinities are radically different from the logic of the museum that the objects usually report to: its collection and restoration policies and the art historical canon. What counts is what it is here now, the presence of these (art) objects in the exhibition space.

Henk Baard, director of the Frans Hals Museum from 1956 -1972 believed that candlelight could re-animate the 17th century paintings he exhibited. In the same spirit, Mise en Séance conjures a space of ghostly presence in which absent and present, old and new, and past and future merge. As such it investigates rules of circulation, conditions of vitality and the possibility of timeless appeal.

With Martijn Hendriks, Katja Novitskova, Vanessa Safai, Dan Walwin and works from the collection of Frans Hals Museum / De Hallen Haarlem by Marlies Appel, Charles Atlas, Hans van den Ban, Mari A. Boeyen, Wessel Couzijn, Lotti v.d. Gaag, Antoine François Heijligers, Frank van Hemert, Michel Kuipers, Setsuko Nagasawa, Karel Slingervoet, Marianne Souwerbrem, Elias Voet JR, Auke de Vries Curated by Melanie Bühler