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On the Road
I was looking out of the window from my studio, when I heard ‘clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop.’ This is my favourite sound, the sound of the horse-drawn carriage. Ah, a carriage is coming (probably for tourists)... and I saw it pass by.
We often come across with carriages in Amsterdam. I like seeing them. They make me happy. They are on the motor vehicle road with other cars; but when I see the cars and the carriages together, it is the car that appears as a strange object to me.
Mia, who was staying at our flat till yesterday (a friend of my flatmate; a Finnish; cute), said that she saw a camel just around the corner from our apartment at night. There was nobody around. Just a camel.
It ran away from the zoo across the road? Or... it could not find its way back to the circus where it belongs? I have no idea why on earth a camel was there. Mia was just saying that the smell was horrible.
Some Like It 'More than Enough'
I borrowed the DVD Good Bye Lenin! (my third time) from the library at Rjiks on Friday. I thought about watching it yesterday (Sunday) and opened the case, where I found Good Bye Lenin! and another DVD, El bueno, el malo y el feo starring Clint Eastwood. Young Eastwood with a cowboy hat is printed on DVD. Ah, someone might have returned it together by mistake... I started to watch it, although both the sound and the subtitles are only in Italian and Spanish (so I don’t understand what they are saying at all).
I don’t know much about Spaghetti Western; but even I have heard the theme song. This must be a really famous one... I was gradually drawn to the story – it was far more complicated and exciting plot than I expected. My heart raced with excitement at the final scene of the three-way struggle...! What I learned from this film was the filmmaker’s persistency? importunity? to excite the audience again and again, episode after episode. I experienced the same excitement when I watched Terminator II and The Man who Stole the Sun – kind of ‘well done, well done, it was more than enough...!’
The English title of this film was The Good, The Bad and The Ugly ... The good, the bad and the ugly, the good, the bad and the ugly, the good... (did you get the sense of 'more than enough'?)
Not to mention, Good Bye Lenin! was fabulous (spoken in German, with French or Dutch subtitles... hey, how can I understand it!? But it’s OK. This is my third time). Again, the final scene with Alex made me cry... if you have not seen it yet, it is a must!
I did not write much during the week... try to catch up a bit today.
There are six hens in Rijks. They are running around the lot freely.
Yesterday, I found that there are baby chicks around too – probably 1-2 months old.
I was watching them ‘bob and weave’ around the mother – how tiny and sweet they are! But when Dick threw some small pieces of bread for them, I saw one of them – the one playing a little away from the rest under the tree – rush to the bread in an incredible super speed.
Because it was such an incredible speed, and its movement was unexpectedly funny, I crackled with laughter.
I remember the scene in which zombie runs in super speed in the film Battalion (I think) also made me laugh.
But I cannot make fun of those who are running in a full speed. Especially when I am travelling, I often ended up having not enough time to get to the destination on time. I’ve found myself running (not because I wanted to) in many cities around the world: Not to mention Amsterdam, but also along the Seine, in Charles de Gaulle International Airport, in Munich, Kyoto, London and even a few weeks ago, in Berlin. I guess a person running in a full speed in a city of Europe is a kind of rare sight...
Another rushing episode this morning – Wenda’s boyfriend was looking out of the window, probably enjoying the view. But as soon as he heard the sound of the shower from the bathroom, he dashed to the bathroom in super speed – he probably just wanted to take a shower with her.
He just ran to it without hesitation – his action made me laugh – but also I thought it was kind of nice.
The interviews started yesterday. The advisors and the facilitators are running around, looking very busy.
This interview is for the selection of the next year’s resident artists. An applicant will do a presentation of his or her works twice, first in front of about ten advisors who are artists themselves, and then in front of about another ten advisors who are critics and theorists. Each session takes about an hour.
One girl (maybe Korean) suddenly burst out crying – probably she was very nervous at the interview, and suddenly the ice melted; or she was terrified by the thought of the next interview.
I remembered my interview last year. I could hardly speak English. While I was waiting, I asked ‘where is the toilet?’ and was told ‘just around the corner, on your right,’ but I could not even understand that. I kept walking to the wrong directions, looking around – this suspicious behaviour even made the person laugh. As I knew I would not be able to talk much, I said to myself ‘let’s hope my paintings will speak to them.’ In fact I rather enjoyed the interview, and luckily, it turned out to be all right.
The girl who was crying said ‘I’ll go home. Thank you,’ and left.
I don’t know why... but I have a feeling that she will pass.
The interview will continue throughout the week. I look forward to meeting new residents!
A Korean (probably) girl, burst out crying.
I just came back from Germany. My plan was just to watch the football match between Japan and Mexico (we lost... what a game!) in Hanover; but as the Netherlands Railways was on strike and I could not come back, I extended my trip and visited Berlin.
In Berlin, I visited a private collection in Germany called Sammlung Hoffmann Collection (reservation necessary; open only on Saturdays).
It was a collection of high-quality, with lots of refined works, a beautiful space... but I did not like it so much. There was a certain element in that collection that demands you to behave in a certain way – ‘a good manner.’ I could not say ‘I enjoyed it’ but instead I felt ‘maybe... contemporary art is not so exciting.’ I felt rather uncomfortable.
Plus, all the staffs were wearing a white T-shirt and jeans, which was, for me, a ‘formal’ wear pretending to be casual. I just could not feel comfortable with their ‘good taste.’
Another one I visited was Frick Collection, an exhibition from the famous American contemporary art collection, in Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum.
This one was crazy, and was a first-rate exhibition. How much collection do they have? – it was enormous. I heard that they change the exhibition quite often. I just can’t imagine how many works they own. This kind of exhibition has to be seen in museums. I really enjoyed.
I saw their exhibition catalogue – looks like worth 4-5 kg – which costs €98 (so expensive!).
I was interested in buying it... but I could not do more than look around the exhibition.
Quite a few people were buying the catalogue... such a heavy and expensive thing!
The Venice Biennale
The Venice Biennale opened last week.
It seems that most people who are related to art are there – as the art spots (?) in Amsterdam look rather deserted.
I heard that most of the people there – the gallerists and the collectors – will then proceed to the Basel Art Fair (in fact, Raj and Maurice are one of them).
A few people from Rijks went there for a visit. They said that the Pavilion of Afghanistan was very interesting.
One of the artists at Rijks, Jewyo Rhii-chan from Korea, is actually one of the artists chosen for the Pavilion of Korea.
She was also one of the artists in the exhibition called ‘Under Construction’ in Tokyo Opera City in 2002. Maybe some of you know her already?
She does not like spicy food so much, but loves Japanese food. A small, charming person.
I don’t have time to visit the Venice Biennale this month – as I have quite a few preparations to do for the coming events... but planning to visit it next month with Iwan and his friends. We probably camp as we cannot afford so much.
The Made Ground
I went to the art supply store.
I usually get what I need from the paint workshop at Rijks (the cost is deducted from our material budget); but over the weekend, as the workshops are closed, I sometimes go to the art supply store called Levant. The shop is located in the made ground not very far from Amsterdam Central Station, about ten minutes by bicycle from Rijks.
The shop is not part of Rijks, but we don’t have to pay at this place either. They will pass the receipt to Rijks and the cost is deducted from our material budget. We don’t have to bring anything! How nice.
This made ground area is planned and organized by the Dutch government in order to solve their never-ending problem of land shortage. It is also known as a key site for Dutch contemporary architecture.
This area looks anything but surreal to me; it is a kind of empty land, spotted with strange-shaped buildings and public art sculptures. But I kind of enjoy this strange atmosphere. If you have chance to visit Amsterdam, this is also a place of interest.
It was like a summer day yesterday, but today it is back to a chilly day again. Everyone is wearing a coat. This unsettled weather and temperature is characteristic of Amsterdam (of the Netherlands?) and not unusual.
I had a busy day yesterday but it was a quiet day today. I spent my day in my studio. I have nothing in particular to write about so... well, I put a photo of Iwan. He is a painter, and was at Rijks till 2004. His works are my favourite (the painting on the back is not his work, by the way).
He has not had any shows in Japan, and no plans yet so far. But you can check the website. I do recommend his works!
I was invited to dinner by Gal, a resident artist from Israel.
I always enjoy talking to her. It often happens that we are not necessarily talking about the same thing... but I also enjoy that too.
She told me things like in Hebrew her name ‘Gal’ means waves and the word for wind also means ghosts.
For two years, she was at the compulsory military service (her job was to take photocopies of confidential documents). Once, on a cold day in winter, she was nearly put into prison because she was wearing a scarf – according to the regulations, no scarf was allowed.
The name of her dog ‘Lula’ is taken from a rock music which she heard on the radio. I enjoyed listening to her stories like these.
Yesterday, there was an opening of the group show.
It was very lively; there were a lot more people than I expected – 200-300 people? (but I am not sure exactly, as I arrived a bit late.)
Raj was telling me, looking satisfied, ‘Marlene Dumas was here’ ‘xx (probably the name of a famous person) was here.’ As for me... I must have been out of my mind for some reason; I mistook Maurice’s father as one of the artists I know, and even telling this to someone else; I must have said something strange to the collector too. I was talking to him as he was interested in my works – but I soon found him looking very confused.
Anyway, it was a nice lively opening. I was pleased.
If you are interested, please check: