Exhibition

What:      Exhibition of graphical works by Gerrit van Dijk including the
                presentation of the project ‘Gerrit van Dijk was here’
Where:    Cinema Amirani, Tbilisi, Kostava str. 36
When:     10-20 June, 2011

‘Mickey Mouse was here’

How often have you seen Da Vinci’s “Lady with an Ermine” not only with an ermine, but also with Mickey Mouse ears? Nowadays’ public can be scarcely surprised by remakes and revisions of classics. Already in the 1919 the world has been arguing about Duchamp’s Mona Lisa decorated with moustache: a genius parody or an indecent and useless blasphemy? Since those times, there has been produced a multitude of various remakes and parodies. But in the works of Gerrit van Dijk, there is far more to it than just a conceptual nihilism of Dada artists.

The exhibition presents a broad number of classical paintings from different periods and countries – and all of them “mickeymoused”. This collection puts the classical art into an absurd context of contemporary society of mass-consumption and the cult of brands. It is paraphrasing Magritte: “ceci n’est pas un Disney”, laughing out massive addictions and the fashion in art with the help of three powerful arms: a refined irony, a touching sadness and a provocative grotesque. Gerrit van Dijk is pointing out the absurdity of the popularisation of art itself, the emptiness of its commercial, “prêt-a-porter” version that is being so imposingly offered to the viewers.

'Mickey Mouse was here' draws a very outspoken line from painting towards animation, mingles them in one notion of contemporary graphics and sets a new concept of artistic interdisciplinary creation.

Project ‘Gerrit van Dijk was here’

A special part of the exhibition is devoted to the project 'Gerrit van Dijk was here' that points out the connection between animation and graphics in Gerrit van Dijk’s works. 'Gerrit van Dijk was here' represents a series of photographs that Gerrit van Dijk has been taking of himself when visiting lavatories in different countries and in different years. Here, as well as with the exhibition of the paintings that is not about the art of painting, these -photographs are not about photography. The project has for Van Dijk two axes: questioning of the notion of aesthetics and art on the one hand and continuity of subject and time on the other.

Indeed, the question of “what is art” has been asked by any artist, and in the attempt to answer this question various aesthetical boundaries have been trespassed in the course of history. It is enough to remember the shocked reaction of the Pope Adrian VI to the “stew of naked bodies” painted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – the very “stew” that has become later THE masterpiece of Renaissance. The humanistic approach of the XV-XVI centuries is in many ways comparable to the modern conceptual art for which intimacy and privacy have become a real challenge. The challenge to turn a forbidden fruit into an item for display and the challenge to encourage freedom of human expression.

Since Duchamp’s “Fountain” created, or actually, set in 1917, the toilet-theme has become a real symbol of rebellion against bourgeois aesthetics. Gerrit van Dijk carries this theme further into the XXI century, adding a human, “re-animating”, presence and a surrounding to it. These photographs remind of transparent slides for cartoons where the “moving parts” are projected on a fixed background. 'Gerrit van Dijk was here' is following this idea of animation, yet in an inverted way: the acting figure stays in a fixed position and the surrounding changes making the viewer feel the movement of time.

 
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