Amsterdam Trip – Afternoon of Day One

After a little bit of culture it was time for refreshment and half an hour of people watching; the cafe overlooked the flea market at Waterlooplein so there were many characters to observe.

Unfortunately a very cold wind prevented a gentle wander round so instead it was a quick glance here and there. The atmosphere was very much like a car boot sale without the usual stalls selling old videos or children’s off-casts. Boxes overspilled utensils who’s purpose have long  been forgotten; clothes, which were once the pride and joy of the fashionable, flapped on rails;  souvenirs from warmer Africa were spread out on the ground which was covered with bright fabric. I bought a pair of patterned tights for €12, of course they are much cheaper on e bay but I have the memory of the day to go along with them.

A walk through the busy shopping area led to the Civic Guards Gallery next to the Amsterdam Museum but is free. It’s a covered passageway and the wall are hung with portraits of the big wigs.


Civic Guardsmen from the Company of Captain Adriaen Pieterszn Raep and Lieutenant Pieter Pieterszn Hasselaer, 1623 – Cornelis van der Voort (1576 – 1624)


Cornelis van de Voort 1618

But it’s not all old Dutch paintings, there are also contemporary portraits of footballers and choreographers echoing the style of the old masters.

Barbara Broekman has produced a wonderful 40 metre carpet which depicts the 179 nationalities living in Amsterdam.



Here is Barbara’s statement copied from her website.

In her work Barbara Broekman goes for a direct confrontation with the senses. The large formats, deep colours, the suggestion of movement and touchability of the materials evoke a sensual experience. Stimulate, seduce, challenge people to look: that is what Barbara Broekman’s work aims at. Her work is included in the collection of the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum, the Tilburg Textile Museum and various corporate collections. Furthermore, she created work commissioned by various ministries, municipalities, companies and private persons.

Since 1982, Barbara Broekman has been creating an oeuvre all on her own. She attended the Amsterdam Rietveld Academy, where she specialized in textiles, and the Master of Arts programme at the California College of the Arts in Berkeley, USA. Her monumental works are executed in various (everyday) materials. In the execution of the works Broekman often collaborates with firms in Spain, India, China and Poland that have specialized in traditional techniques. Besides researching formal principles and technical possibilities in her work, Broekman also addresses subjects we are confronted with in our everyday existence, such as love, death, birth, loss and the relations between the sexes. She mirrors her personal experiences and interests on universal emotions and themes.

This is also expressed in her working method: images from her personal archives are interlaced with existing pictures from the higher arts, science and mass culture. Complex (textile) patterns often underlie the arrangement of the sampled materials. The final image is not immediately readable. The viewer has an active role in the viewing process. This way, images are created that can be experienced at various levels. They appeal both to gut feelings and spiritual awareness. Both her subjects and her use of materials reveal a fascination with the creative powers of man. A manual and craftsman like execution is essential to her work. The time and labour required are palpable in the work and lend it an organic and weathered character. The slowness in the realization of the work is also a stand against instant satisfaction and consumption in our times.

A further wander through a hidden court of an alms house, a welcome sit down in a church then back on the no 2 tram to the hotel.


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