Want to visit a 19th and 21st century panorama? You need to be fast and travel to The Hague. Its museum Panorama Mesdag currently exhibits a modern panorama – till 6th of October 2019.
Panorama Mesdag, not to be confused with the other Mesdag museum (Mesdag Collection) in The Hague, shows a 19th century impression of Scheveningen and its beach. The Mesdags and their artist friends created this ‘snapshot’ of beach and village as they existed at the time. This panorama is on permanent display.
But the museum also has exhibition space. In one of these rooms, visitors come across a modern panorama. It was created by local artist Hanna de Haan in 2018.
De Haan is fascinated by modern city-scapes and architecture. Her fascination resulted in the installation Panorama Hesjtèk. The latter word being the Dutch pronunciation of #.
On entering the exhibition, visitors first notice drawings, sketches and prints on the walls. Some of these resemble spots in say Amsterdam, London, The Hague. Others are far more difficult to recognize or place.
The exhibition space also contains what seems to be a large, circular brown wall. This is the actual Panorama Hesjtèk #. The circular installation consists of 20 large, wooden panels of over 2 metres high and 1 meter wide; with an entrance on one side.
Once inside, a visitor is surrounded by whirling images of a fantasy metropolis. The perspective changes per panel: looking up at scaffoldings, looking at a distant horizon, looking down on whatever is going on in this weird city.
Are buildings being created? Or destroyed? Here helicopters approach; there plastic from scaffoldings seems to blow in the wind. Elsewhere, one seems to be part of a crowd.
Colours are muted: white, browns, black. It is disorientating and after a while, the images unnerved me. But then: who does not feel slightly uncomfortable and disorientated in a real sprawling city?
De Haan prefers to use graphic techniques. She not only sketches when visiting cities. She also uses her sketches and drawings to create woodcuts. On the woodcuts, she may apply inks and chalks. Some of the large panels of her panorama were used as a kind of “etching plates”. The results are displayed on one of the walls of the exhibition space.
This exhibition illustrates, panoramas are not passée! They continue to fascinate artists. Modern artists like de Haan create their versions not just by using oils on canvas; but by using modern techniques and materials to create their impressions of cities, towns, villages.
Want to meet the artist? She will be present at Panorama Mesdag, Sunday 6th of October 2019 between 14:00 and 17:00. This is also the closing day of this exhibition. The next day, Panorama Hèsjtek # will be taken apart again and disappear.
The Hague, Panorama Mesdag: Hanna de Haan’s Panorama Hèsjtek # closes 6th of October 2019