The power of art

By Qi Xijia Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/6 17:33:39

Consulate General of the Netherlands hosts Dutch Artists in Shanghai

The Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands recently presented its sixth exhibition of "Dutch Artists in Shanghai" at OFOTO gallery.

The series, first launched in 2016, is an ongoing program to introduce and promote established and emerging Dutch visual artists from various disciplines to the Shanghai public, including painting, photography and sculpture exhibitions.

"I thought it would be good if more Dutch artists could be known in Shanghai, and I think it is a very good way to bring people together to show Chinese people more of our country and of our art," Anneke Adema, the Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Shanghai, told the Global Times.

The latest exhibition focuses on the underwater photography of Elspeth Diederix, whose work focuses on light, color and composition. Most of her shots were taken in the Red Sea in Egypt or in lakes around the Netherlands.

Diederix said she went scuba diving with an assistant for one and half hours to get her shots, which include sea animals as well as still-life daily objects.

"What I find fascinating is how the colors underwater can envelop you," Diederix told the Global Times. "In the Red Sea, for example, you are in fact surrounded by blue. You find yourself inside this color and you have no references to anything you know. You become part of the water. It is such an abstract place to be," Diederix said.

Common urban themes

Another ongoing exhibition of the Dutch Artists in Shanghai series is the Sino-Dutch Outsider Art Exhibition being held at the Modern Art Museum Shanghai.

This exhibition illustrates the diversity and appeal of Shanghai's cityscapes, as seen through the eyes of both Dutch and Chinese artists. The exhibition is a result of close collaboration between the Natural Arts Centre in Nanjing and the Chinese Federation of Disabled People.

The architecture and sprawling transportation networks of Shanghai are important sources of inspiration for many foreign and local artists, as are the city residents themselves.

Chinese and Dutch artists depicted common urban themes in their works, irrespective of the artists' geographical or cultural backgrounds.

Work by Lionel Plak, Jefke Dijkstra and Rob Morren as well as creations by Yang Min and Qian Chen are a highlight. Plak said he is fascinated by the city's urban transport systems, producing extremely detailed, colorful photos of every subway stop and station in Shanghai.

More than a soft sector

Adema said that the Consulate General's office in Shanghai has had "very intensive year."

Adema said she sees it as her job to bring people together through culture and art in order to connect Shanghai and the Netherlands.

Looking back on the Dutch art events held in Shanghai this year, Adema believes it was very eventful, with four Dutch Artists in Shanghai exhibitions, a performance by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, a performance by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and an exhibition about Anne Frank at Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum.

"Very often, culture and art are referred to as a soft sector, but in thinking about the past year and all the work we've done, I'd like to think about art as the power of art," Adema said.

"I think art is very powerful in bringing people together, because you don't need words. The language is universal. We look at it and we just understand. I call that the connecting power of art."

Anneke Adema (second from left) and Elspeth Diederix (middle) at the event


Art at the Sino-Dutch Outsider Art Exhibition

Elspeth Diederix's Ultramarine Series-Oranges

Ultramarine Series-Transparent Still Life Photos: Courtesy of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands




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