Artificial Amsterdam

29 June 2013 - 13 October 2013

De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam, NL

In 2013, the year in which Amsterdam is deliberately promoting itself as a cultural hot spot, de Appel arts centre is going in search of the city behind the refined, historic Ring Canals and the city marketing campaigns. Artificial Amsterdam investigates Amsterdam as a city full of contradictions: historic and modern, dignified and bustling, free-thinking and liberal but also safe and reliable, open and cosmopolitan but also bound hand and foot by regulations.

Is Amsterdam an artificial city? Or is there a completely different Amsterdam behind the façade of apparent structure and order, which is far from as well regulated? Is Amsterdam a sophisticated village? Precisely how does this city function as a source of inspiration for artists? Various Dutch and international artists who all have special bonds with the city have responded to these questions. Among the pieces being presented in this exhibition are idiosyncratic films about Amsterdam by masters like Lawrence Weiner and Ed van der Elsken, new works by young artists like James Becket and Egle Budvytyte & Bart Groenendaal, and a monumental mural by Jan Rothuizen. In her work Cristina Lucas connects Mondriaan with the erotic, Fernando Sanchez Castillo realizes an ode in bronze to the Nieuwmarkt Riots.

Artificial Amsterdam is curated by Gerardo Mosquera (co-founder of the Havana Biënnale and the Johannesburg Biënnale) and Rieke Vos. Since the early 1980s the Cuban Mosquera (b. 1945) has organized many exhibitions in which public space plays a central role, in Mexico City, Liverpool, Santiago, Cordoba, Madrid and other cities. Since 1995 this world traveler has been calling in several times per year at Amsterdam, where he is a guest lecturer at the Rijksakademie voor Beeldende Kunsten. The Dutch art historian Rieke Vos (b. 1981) curates exhibitions in contemporary art and architecture. She was a participant in the de Appel Curatorial Programme, and has developed various projects in public space for SKOR, the Foundation for Art and Public Space.