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"Gerrit Dekker: About no below, no above, no sides"
2005-01-23 until 2005-03-20
BAK, basis voor actuele kunst
Utrecht, , NL Netherlands

BAK, basis voor actuele kunst presents an exhibition by Dutch artist Gerrit Dekker entitled About no below, no above, no sides. After more then a fifteen-year-long voluntary withdrawal from the structures of the art world, Gerrit Dekker presents his work in a one-person exhibition. Dekker's deliberate choice not to participate in the mechanisms of the art system was grounded in a sincere desire to distinguish art as a concentrated, intimate creative process from the mechanisms of power.

This retreat, however, did not mean abandoning art: on the contrary. Although he no longer referred to himself as a visual artist, Dekker insistently kept engaging with aesthetic practice, exploring its various potentials in everyday life. The title of the exhibition refers to a metaphor Dekker uses when describing a loss of orientation (when there is "no below, no above, no sides") as a sign of his profound engagement in traveling, meeting people, or producing art. In this context, Dekker "collected" subtle gestures from his experiences: ephemeral situations, personal relationships with people, and remnants of "traveling and staying over" in the form of photographic images, mostly on slides. Stored in a tower built out of grey boxes (the slide-holders), together the images form an archive of non-intrusive, quotidian, strangely familiar moments. The slide tower becomes a starting point for an exhibition that explores potentially new meanings of the past as a prerequisite to begin "moving forward."

Gerrit Dekker (born 1943, lives and works in Arnhem) presented his work in the project Now What? Dreaming a better world in six Parts organized by BAK in 2003. In 1988, he was shown at the Museum of Fine Arts in Chandigarh, India in an exhibition with which he brought the more public period of his work to an end. Gerrit Dekker is also known as the long-time artistic partner of Ben d'Armagnac, with whom he produced numerous works and performances from 1966-1975.

The exhibition has been realized in collaboration with Jan Brand, head of kaAp, the General Studies Department of ArtEZ in Arnhem, Alex de Vries, and Catherine Hennegan (image digitization and editing).

Publication: A monographic publication on Gerrit Dekker's work is published by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and Revolver, Archiv für aktuelle Kunst, Frankfurt on the occasion of the exhibition, edited by Jan Brand. [available at the opening ISBN: 90-77288-04-X (BAK) ISBN: 3-86588-072-X (Revolver)] The publication has been made possible by financial support from The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture, Amsterdam.

Artist's Talk: On 22 February 2005 at 20.00 hours a conversation between Gerrit Dekker and art historian Marga van Mechelen takes place at BAK.

The realization of the exhibition has been financially supported by ThuisKopie Fonds.


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