( your ) controversy: PIETER ENGELS
As soon as I enter a museum my feet become twice as heavy. So, halfway up the stairs of the Stedelijk Museum, I stopped and walked into the print room where P. Engels has an exhibition. I walked around there for ten minutes. of those ten minutes, I have no regrets. That’s my whole review. But then, I am not an art critic. How does one of those real art reviewers do it ? Curious I read the review in Volkskrant and Elsevier on October 6. Two great pieces. I will now write about what they wrote about one of Engels’ artworks:
Ron Kaal in Elsevier :
We see a photograph of the artist looking at a spot on the wall where the photograph now hangs. The museum context makes the act (the looking) art. As an added bonus, place and image coincide here, a method that Magritte has already dealt with exhaustively.’
No, Ron Kaal, none of that is true. It was not the act (looking) that was made art by the museum context, but the picture of that act. Place and image did not coincide here, for then you would see only a piece of wall photographed in the image. Magritte’s paintings can be hung in any place, so that has nothing to do with it. Incidentally, the non-conjunction of place and image is a method that Rembrandt has already dealt with exhaustively.
Lambert Tegenbosch in the Volkskrant saw this: ‘A picture of Pieter Engels in the company of E.L.L. de Wilde both seen from behind and both posing with that clear tension in the back of now is going to decide which of these boys is the most beautiful. But then, according to the catalog, they are busy with nothing else than searching for the spot where this work of art (the photo of the searching couple) could find its place. This surpasses in depth the nurse of cocoa by many fathoms.’
No, Lambert Tegenbosch, that nurse has a cocoa can on which there is a nurse depicted who and so on. But on this picture the picture itself is not visible at all so it has nothing to do with Droste. About those boys I will be silent, The word is clear. Ron Kaal did not see the other boy at all. Okay, these art critics don’t express themselves very well, but what was going on in the print room of the Stedelijk Museum seems to be clear to the readers of the Volkskrant and Elsevier: this P. Engels has hung a photograph on the very spot where he was looking at the photograph. Well, anyone who looks at the accompanying photo will see that this is not the case. Both art critics did not look out of their eyes : the floor in the photo is parquet, the real floor in front of the photo is plain. According to the reviews, P. Engels wants to show that art is nonsense.
I don’t know if it is. But if it is he will have his reason for it. The pieces in the Volkskrant and Elsevier show that this) art column is nonsense, but I fear that they are not doing it on purpose. You may have known for a long time how blind some critics are, but I never read them, and when you do, and moreover saw the exhibition they are talking about, you are shocked.
VRIJ NEDERLAND OCTOBER 14, 1972 PIET GRIJS (HUGO BRANDT CORSTIUS)