Amsterdam Trip – Morning of Day Two

Sunday morning was slow in starting but no need to rush as the museum didn’t open until 11 o’clock. Once in the city centre the map soon turned to mush in the rain but with only a couple of wrong turns the sign for de Appel Art Centre was soon to be seen. We paid the €7.00 entrance fee into a world of Curiosity which is a touring exhibition from the Hayward Gallery, London.


A view of the first room of the exhibition but as the catalogue is in alphabetical order I’ll work through the list.


The previous day I’d marvelled at the etchings of Rembrandt  and initially thought the etching by Salvatore Arancio where old, just landscapes, but no, they are photo-etchings (a process I’d not come across before but basically a metal plate is made using a black and white image, etched then used for intaglio printing). On closer examination  a surrealist element is seen.



Leopold Blaschka and Rudolph Blaschka were a Dresden father and son who worked in the 1800s making glass models of sea creatures amongst other things. The cabinet displayed about 20 pieces of their intricate work and in the back of my mind I knew I’d seen something similar before. Then I spotted the label ‘On loan from The National Museum of Wales, Cardiff’.


Dark Bathroom (Tub) 2004


Kitchen (Room From Afar) 2004

Corinne May Botz is an American photographer who created Nutshell Studies using models made by a forensic scientist, Frances Glessner Lee, in the 1940s and 50s, . These models depicted unexplained deaths and  were used for police training purposes.

Pablo Bronstein, Museum Section with Artworks, 2013. JPG-1000px


Pablo Bronstein’s ink and watercolour takes up one wall. It’s a cross section of an imaginary museum housing the Curiosity exhibition. The Blaschka’s creatures can be seen suspended from the ceiling and later on I came across the giant flea.


Some work I can leave and The Polaroid Revolutionary Workers Movement  by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin is a case in point.

Gerard Byrne’s film about the Loch Ness Monster gave me an opportunity to be lulled by his gentle narrative.


The Collection of Roger Caillois’s polished agate stones refers to the tradition of artists wanting to ‘see things’ in stones as written in his book The Writing of Stones.

Exhibition " Curiosity" in De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam, June 2014Nina Canell, The New Mineral 2009 – again a piece that didn’t catch my imagination.

Center for Land Use Interpretation_Los Alamos National Laboratory Rolodexes

The Centre for Land Use Interpretation – Los Alamos National Laboratory Rolodexes 1965-78



Claes Oldenburg is seen dusting his collection of small objects housed in his studio in the 11 minute film by Tacita Dean. I was struck by the size of the artefacts in comparison to Oldenburg’s work.


The exhibition wouldn’t be complete without Albrecht Durer.


I learnt a great deal about jelly fish by watching a film, Pulmo Marina 2010, made by Aurelien Froment.



Galileo Galilei published Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger) in 1610 and 23 years later was accused of heresy as his scientific believes conflicted with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.


A series of images collected by  Laurent Grasso show popes and bishops in the Vatican Observatory looking through telescopes. Grasso questions where they are searching for something physical or metaphysical.


This Misfit by Thomas Grunfeld is on the cover of the brochure for the exhibition.

Alfie West


Susan Hiller acquired Alfie West’s collection of split hair works.

Hook's flea

Robert Hooke invented telescopes and microscopes – here is his drawing of a flea.


FerranteThis drawing by Ferrante Imperato taken from Dell’Historia Naturale 1676 reminded me of Rembrandt’s collection of curiosities.


The series Words and Years are silk screen prints of fictitious data presented in a pseudo scientific manner by Toril Johannessen.

IMG_4825-loresAt first glance the series of self portraits by Nina Katchadourian look as if she’s simply mimicking the Flemish  style but the photos were taken in the toilet of an aeroplane using the toilet paper for her head-wear and collar.

Jeremy Millar-Mask Self-Portrait ThreeAnother series of self portraits – masks by Jeremy Millar

Wall drawings


Matt Mullican has taken plates from The New Edinburgh Encyclopaedia  and made 449 oil stick on paper rubbings.

darknessAnother piece I was unsure of was Katie Paterson’s History of Darkness which consists of 2200 handwritten slides, giving date and location,  but each one is pure black.


The Skyquakes in Ear Trumpets by Aura Satz was beautiful to look at but I found the sound it produced interfered with my experience looking at the hangings in the rest of the space. I would have preferred it to be in a dedicated space.


This photo of Miroslav Tichy, wasn’t part of the exhibition but  shows him to be an eccentric photographer who used home made cameras. He secretly took photos of women…………………….


I felt the double edge of being the viewer of the voyeur.


Richard Wentworth produced a series of photos showing Making Do and Getting By in 2013, witty examples of materials re-purposed.

A welcome cuppa in the cafe to fortify us for the next part of the day.

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