On Sunday 3 May, the fourth solo exhibition will open at Club Solo. In this exhibition, Voebe de Gruyter (1960, The Hague) will show earlier work, such Chewing Gum and Its Stubborn Persistance (1994), along with more recent work. At 3.30 PM during the opening on 3 May and on 17 May, Voebe will take visitors on a tour through exhibition, giving live explanations of aspects of the exhibited works on her path.
De Gruyter’s work can be described as narrative conceptual art. She uses drawing as a central technique, around which almost any material is used to make up the image. She has a fairly direct way of expressing her thoughts, ideas and observations on paper. For instance, in Kauwgomtekeningen (1994) she investigated her suspicion that information can penetrate small particles – that the sentences spoken by people who are chewing gum are transferred to that gum.
De Gruyter’s works are constantly moving; they are omnipresent and in an endless state of being.
Her new work exhibited at Club Solo is exemplary. The first draft was created three years ago, during the violin event of the Queen Elizabeth competition of 2012, when she noticed the position of the water bottles of the jury members. The jury members were seated on a dais in the back of the hall. In front of each jury member, there was an occasional table, and on each table there was a bottle of water. The bottles formed a total image of a single line, with the line of eleven jury members behind it; in front of the bottles, over the heads of the people in the audience, the solo musicians played. In De Gruyter’s observation, the music that was played coursed straight through the water to the heads of the jury members, and the water influenced the verdict of the competition.
De Gruyter’s Solo opening will take place on Sunday 3 May, which happens to be just one day before the start of this year’s Queen Elizabeth Competition. The first round will begin in Brussels on 4 May, continuing concurrently with this Solo exhibition which ends on 31 May; the final event of the competition will take place 30 May. This means the image can also be observed in its original state, although De Gruyter cannot say for certain whether any bottles will be present this time.
In response to Voebe de Gruyter’s work, Van Abbemuseum will display the video work Stairway (2001) by Turkish artist Gülsün Karamustafa (1946, Ankara). The work shows Romani children making music at the bottom of a striking stairway in Istanbul. The playful visual echoes of the shapes in the film, such as those between the stairs and the children’s instruments, shows a similar artistic sensitivity that characterises Voebe de Gruyter’s work.
After the opening on Sunday 3 May, the exhibition will be open from 6 May till 31 May, from Wednesday till Sunday between 11 AM and 5 PM.
Listen here to the interview with Thomas Bakker about the soloshow of Voebe de Gruyter.