Meer licht (More light)




Guido van der Werve, Portrait of the Artist as a Mountaineer (detail). Courtesy: Galerie Juliètte Jongma, Amsterdam
Wolfgang Tillmans, Paper drop (star) III. Courtesy: Galerie Maureen Paley, Londen
David Claerbout, Long Goodbye (detail). Courtesy: Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerpen

Meer licht (more light)

From 2 October 2011, Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle will present the exhibition More light. The starting point of More light is a painting by William Turner from the Fundatie collection, unique to the Netherlands. This canvas of a shimmering sky above rough seas was the stimulus in examining the extent to which the sublime, which first climaxed around Romantic artists such as Turner and Caspar David Friedrich, still applies to contemporary art. More light was compiled by writer and art critic Hans den Hartog Jager, and shows work by Bas Jan Ader (NL), Miroslaw Balka (PL), Ann Böttcher (SE), Vija Celmins (US), David Claerbout (BE), Tacita Dean (GB), Olafur Eliasson (DK/IS), Spencer Finch (US), Ragnar Kjartansson (IS), Gert Jan Kocken (NL), Wolfgang Laib (DE), Raquel Maulwurf (NL), Erik Odijk (NL), Katie Paterson (GB), Derk Thijs (NL), Wolfgang Tillmans (DE), William Turner (GB), Roy Villevoye (NL) and Guido van der Werve (NL).

A lighthouse desperately seeking a sign of life from a missing man. Moonlight, captured in a room. A man on the North Pole being pursued by an icebreaker. In More light, beauty and danger go hand-in-hand. The works show how the striving for beauty and edification results in works for which the artists take great risk. Sometimes even with their lives.
The main idea behind More light (the title of which is derived from the supposed final words of Goethe) is that, in modern art, a concealed 'sublime tradition' exists, the roots of which lie in the late 1960s. In his In Search of the Miraculous, for example, Bas Jan Ader undertakes a conscious and solitary confrontation with the sea and nature, from which he does not return. In the works of Olafur Eliasson, Tacita Dean, David Claerbout and Guido van der Werve we also see that the combination of nature and the striving for beauty can entail danger and the loss of one's self.
However ambitious these artists may be, they are all too aware that the true sublime can never be realised, not in this life and not here. It is precisely that conflict between endeavour and impotence that renders their work powerful. More light shows that the aspiration to the sublime is still relevant in contemporary art, but also that beauty has lost its innocence once and for all.

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