‘In the Face of History – II – ‘De Context” is part of the two part project ‘In the Face of History’. As agreed upon in the sponsorship agreement, Vincent van Velsen was charged with the task of curating an exhibition in the sponsored gallery in Museum Flehite, Amersfoort (The Netherlands).
On the exhibition:
“The set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event or situation.” This is the description the dictionary provides if one looks for ‘context’. The Context is an exhibition in which exactly those circumstances and facts are key. It was the exhibition exclude/include. Alternate Histories at Castrum Peregrini (2015) that instigated this presentation. Include/Exlcude. Alternate Histories examined how history is created and what alternative historical readings, positions and narratives exist – or are suppressed. For the occasion Seán Hannan and Steven van Grinsven produced several works that collectively examined and reflected on how (art) history comes about. This time the starting point consisted of what it means to sponsor a museum space.
The resulting exhibition is a study into the physical effects behind such an agreement: the “material” that was sponsored, literally. That is why ‘Room 2’ of the museum (bearing Hannan’s name) itself is the main focus of the exhibition. ‘De Context’ is an investigation into presentational forms of art and the influence of the surrounding elements on the experience of a visit – among which architecture is prominent and sponsordeals remain invisible. Elements such as color, smell and light are addressed and sometimes manipulated, addressing both a direct and philosophical meaning. It also reflectes on interiors of galleries and museum spaces, in addition to the idea that a painting is just a flat surface, however a representation of a three-dimensional perspective. All together, the works that are exhibited aim to raise awareness of ones environment, and question its non-neutral and symbolic meanings that often go unnoticed.
Katinka van Gorkum
Seán Hannan & Steven van Grinsven
Maarten ‘t Hart
Exhibition curated by Vincent van Velsen
Commissioned by Seán Hannan and Steven van Grinsven
Museum Flehite, Amersfoort, 2016
Publication design by Hansje van Halem