Blogs


The Picturing Museums project started in 2014. The book Picturing Museums is part of this. A museum per chapter is described and the blogs are summaries of that.
On a narrow screen the years are listed on top and at the bottom the visited museums each year are depicted. In 2019/2020 the blogs are being translated from Dutch to English.

CODA, Apeldoorn

March, 8th, 2020. Women take over in art, men may sit by and watch. With friend and artist Piet Krens I go to the exhibition The Future is Female at CODA. The abbreviation CODA literally stands for culture under roof Apeldoorn. The museum is a part of the building. The collection, with jewelry, wooden toys, visual arts and artist books originated from the Van Reekum Museum.

   But first December 2015. With Evelien I visited CODA already. Then there was an exhibition The Weather diaries by the Scandinavian artist duo Sara Cooper (1974) and Nina Gorfer (1979). They showed monumental photos of artists and designers in Iceland. Women were wrapped in rust-colored synthetic hair by Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir (1969), better known as Shoplifter.

Evelien and I immediately remembered our visit in 2006 to the Museum of Modern Art in Reykjavik; Hafnarhu. Shoplifter had the same wigs sculpture where you may put your head into.

And at CODA were photo paintings by the Dutch Teun Hocks (1947). Imaginative scenes. The paintwork in combination with photography showed a mysterious, fairy-tale atmosphere. Humorous too. Every photo painting is a story in itself. Teun Hocks, who himself is mostly the main character in his photos, is lying in a row of cardboard boxes that have the same height differences as the skyline in the background.

Or Teun is sleeping in light blue striped pajamas in a bird's nest. He is tied like the giant in Gullivers Travels or he is chasing musical notes with a butterfly net. Teun as a sneaking hunter with binoculars and a fox right behind him or rowing on a bed, with the oars in buckets of water.

Now, more than four years later, we enter the exhibition The Future is Female - Love Letters. An hour too early so we can watch everything quietly. What immediately stands out is a row of big transparant banners hanging from ceiling to floor. One a bit behind another it entirely forms one monumental pencil drawing of a woman laying, vulnerable, naked. She stares at you and you do not know if she is looking suspicious, anxious or just neutral. This is the rising star Lise Sore (1986). Her drawings, self portraits, were on several exhibitions and I recognize them from the social media.

While I take a picture Lise's daughter behind my back, is waving to her.


On the wall behind the banners there is a picture by Sara Blokland (1969): reproduction of a family. They are naked puppets she found on the attick of the Amsterdam Tropenmuseum. The puppets were used at the 1938 World Exhibition, New York.


Beside most of the works there are printed texts on the walls, Love Letters by Twan Janssen (1968). With imaginative metaphors Twan reacts to the artworks in his own unique way. Not beside the work by another rising star: Monika Dahlberg. A square of Instagram photos, colourful selfies, shot in her quasi-casual manner. Spontaneous, openly and also with humor. Laminated and printed on Dibond.

One of a series of nice realistic works by Andrea Rádai (1964), all called 'Windows', oil on paper, looking like blurry photos.

Videos by Lydia Schouten; Smile from 1979. In the first she gets a blow, in the middle she unpacks her head and on the third she kisses.

Piet is enjoying Dorothy Iannone's (1933) Cookbook,

...one of its printed page with a kind of Kamasutra position is at the wall.

I stare at Torn, an ultrachrome print from 2015 by Lynne Leegte (1965).

   In this exhibition it is confusing to find the information on the works. There are just numbers on the floor which should correspond with small numbers on a flyer. In one room is an installation and on the floor the number 51 leads to 14 works from Lucia Tallová (1985) alone.

  On the CODA website the exhibition is announced with the words "... that in 2020 society is increasingly aware that there is a difference in appreciation between men and women and... ...the number of purchases by museums and exhibitions with work by female artists still lags behind that of male colleagues." The museum further says that they "... bring art created by women to the attention with an emphasis on works in which is doubt, emotion, a personal world and intuition. This would be regarded as 'less interesting' by traditional art history...”. Apart from the idea that this is a bold judgment that says something about quality.
On the social media the artist Joanneke Meester (1966) wrote: “For the exhibition I was asked to design and execute a large text image ‘You deserve it’. Ironically, it turned out the CODA museum does not make an artist's fee available.” Ironically indeed. This makes the declaration on the website somewhat hypocritical. Besides there are works by dead artists in the exhibition you can ask yourself how random are the choices and if they have to do with budget? Is it why there are missing a lot of obvious artist such as the Dutch Marlene Dumas, Rineke Dijkstra, Fiona Tan, the Belgian Michèle Matyn, the British Tracey Emin or the German Katharina Grosse? Are they demanding a fee or is there 'no doubt, no emotion, not a personal world or intuition' in their works? Of course it's there, like there is in Teun Hocks photo paintings.

(Picture thanks to Joanneke Meester, says 'The future is female, NOT yet at CODA')