Haarlem has a charming old town centre. Its main square is lined with period buildings including its old church and town hall. Along this square are also Haarlem’s “Hallen”, the town’s halls dating from the century. Behind the facade can be found a museum with three floors dedicated to contemporary art.
Solo exhibition Philippe van Snick
The opening night of Haarlem’s the Hallen Museum’s current exhibitions took place 15th of January 2016. The museum’s exhibitions can be visited till 16th of May 2016. The most important one is the solo exhibition of Belgian artist Philippe van Snick.
One of van Snick’s most recent works “Mexican Dream”, is quite fascinating. It is located on the ground floor. Each step a visitor takes, offers a different view of the combination of white lines and colourful panels. In his works, Philippe van Snick applies his own selection of colours; a very reduced yet colourful and powerful choice.
Earlier works like his L-shaped room are also located on this floor. The building’s old pillars add an extra dimension to the objects. This solo exhibition continues on the 1st floor where the visitor is also treated to a video interview with Philippe van Snick. A few examples of his earlier work are on show on this floor as well.
Inflected objects #2 Circulation
The second floor shows “Inflected objects # 2 Circulation”. Guest curator Melanie Bühler’s examines the influence of digital technologies on art. Her #1 exhibition was the first chapter of the series and exhibited at the Instituto Svizzero in Milan in 2015.
“Pics or it didn’t happen” is an interesting installation shot of an exhibition, where the installation shot has become more important than the exhibition. There seems to be a link with the recent tendency of creating docu films about important exhibitions or which focus on museums and their staff, rather than the works on art on show. Or take the influence or use of google art versus a visit to a museum to study and interact with a work of art.
“Mise en Séance” focuses on works of art from the Frans Hals Museum. These objects have been photographed for the collection’s database and then stored and filed away. It is art which does not interact with visitors nor participates in anything. The works are in a state best described as “between exhibitions”. “Mise en Séance” plays with contrasts like absent-present, timelessness, circulation and vitality and responses created by artists like Martijn Hendriks, Katja Novitskova, Vanessa Safavi and Dan Walwin.
The third exhibition is an interaction between works by Douwe Jan Bakker and Marie Barnes. The conceptual art which Douwe Jan Bakker created in the seventies, is part of the museum’s own collection. Marie Barnes reacted to his work. Both played with language: can sound be turned into an image and can this image be uttered or can the image be turned into unspoken or alternative forms of communication.
All three exhibitions are worth a visit and will not take up much time, while on your way to Haarlem’s better-known museums like the Frans Hals Museum or nearby Teylers Museum. Though perhaps only, if one does not have to pay the full ticket price and is extremely interested in modern art. As a linguist and interested in technical aspects of language and various forms of communication, the glass objects and other conceptual art by Rhubarb Rhubarb I found captivating. But what remained most fascinating of all three exhibitions, was Philippe van Snicks “Mexican Dream” and its interaction with the visitor-viewer.