Willows and seaweed (2018)

Ester Eva Damen in collaboration with Joris Berger and Elmar Kuiper

Willows and seaweed are the archetypical ingredients of my memory. In the twin exhibition at the NDSM, the Frisian poet Elmar Kuiper has read from his work ‘Stienkeal’ (‘Stone Calf’). His poems are integrated in the installation for Loods 6. For these two exhibitions I have invited Joris Berger to collaborate with me, he is trained as an architect and has a totally different perception of space. For Joris a roof can be taken off and windows can be redone. For me a building is a given and I will explore the inside, working with memory. We have included strongly scented materials to the project: space, seaweed, leaves, oysters, driftwood and a bush of mint from a friend’s grave in Friesland. Rather than offering a visual object, we want to offer a space to linger. To sit, to live, to be silent.

  • Installation in collaboration with Joris Berger (2), September 14-16, 2018
    Opening September 14, 5pm with a performance of Tribal Baroque.
    Group show Loods 6, Amsterdam.
  • Installation in collaboration with Joris Berger (1) Opening September 02, 5-7pm. With the poet Elmar Kuiper and performance of Tribal Baroque.
    August 23 – Sept 09, 2018 Group show NDSM, Amsterdam. Curator of this show.

Willows and seaweed are the archetypical ingredients of my memory. To prepare this exhibition we travelled three times to Friesland, the area where I grew up. We wanted to explore a way of working where shape would stay open till the moment of the opening of the exhibition. We have visited a mud house that was of inspiration for us, constructed of willows and typical Frisian building materials with a thatched roof.

Our central question is how you can define space. For this exhitition I have invited Joris Berger to collaborate with me, he is trained as an architect and has a totally different perception of space. For Joris a roof can be taken off and windows can be redone. For me a building is a given and I would explore the inside, working with memory.

Since the exhibition deals with territory I initially wanted to work with ephemeral, immaterial means, like sound. But other artists have already promised to bring sound and music in, so I have shifted to scent. We took strong smelling materials to the project space, seaweed, leaves, mint, oysters, driftwood and a bush of lavender that we have gathered when we cleaned the grave of an old friend of ours, buried under an alone standing church tower on a so called ‚terp’ in Frieland.

Rather than offering a visual object, we want to offer a space to linger. To sit, to live, to be silent.

I have been collaborating with the Frisian Poet and painter Elmar Kuiper for a year now. We made short videos and researched the relation between sound an image. I’ve invited him to read some of his poems in the environment that we create for Set#NDSM.