I first saw work by the French-Luxemburg artist duo Martine Feipel and Jean Bechameil two years ago at Galerie Fontana. It was the exhibion ‘Un monde parfait – In dust suspended’. I wrote an article for NRC about the way they use their sculptures to come to grips with the desolation of the modern utopia that was realized in concrete on the edges of Paris – as in many other cities.
New trend: souvenirs are the new outlet for designers. It dawned on me when I attended a talk by Scottish curator Stacey Hunter at the exhibition design Language during the Milan Designweek about her project Local Heroes in Edinburgh last year. She invited nine designers to create souvenirs that went beyond the heritage clichés. It reminded me of a Dutch project by designer Elmo Vermijs, 100% Terschelling, which is in the running for one of this year’s Dutch Design Awards.
For the newspaper NRC I visited China and Hong Kong and wrote about the two enormous new design museums being built there: Design Society in Shenzen and M+ in Hong Kong.
Winners of the 2017 Pritzker Prize are RCR Arquitectes, a Spanish studio located by deliberate choice in the volcanic hinterland of the province of Catalunya. I interviewed them for NRC Handelsblad and made a video interview as well.
The reaction is most of the architecture world was: ‘Who?’ By chance I knew their work: I had stayed in an extraordinary hotel they designed with rooms made entirely of glass, I had visited a school + library in the Barcelona neighbourhood of Sant Antoni, and I had seen an exhibition on their work in Barcelona. I returned to their town of Olot, to the 16th-century foundry where their studio is located, to speak with them, and visited their striking underground bodega in Palamós, on the coast north of Barcelona.
The Spanish artist Fernando Sánchez Castillo is fascinated by power and its counterpart, the abuse of power. And so he is fascinated by dictators, not lastly Spain’s own Franco. I interviewed him earlier this year for NRC about his impressive exhibition in Den Bosch, where he showed a most unusual relic: two of Franco’s eyelashes.
Sánchez was in Amsterdam recently for the Art Weekend. At his gallery Tegenboschvanvreden he showed his most recent project, about a bloody confrontation between students and police in 1968 in the Mexican new town of Tlatelolco.