20 June – 18 October 2015
GEM, museum of contemporary art
Throughout his artistic career, Mark van Overeem has been fascinated by boundaries, reflections and repetitions, and by the inner spaces created by boundaries. Following a lengthy exploration of this phenomenon in oils on panel, his more recent work has examined the human environment, linking the world of the imagination to tangible reality. He now uses photography, applying it on an architectural scale in large ruimtewerken (‘spatial works’), as he himself calls his installations.
These works are concerned primarily with social issues like the Hutongs (700-year-old neighbourhoods of Beijing that are now gradually disappearing) or, as in A Wish in Return, the time he spent in Israel. But Van Overeem is not driven by any sense of ideological commitment. The associations evoked by his work are personal; he never takes sides and offers no solutions. What interests him is the experience of constraint and conveying that experience to the public, for each of whom it will be palpable but different.
In A Wish in Return, individual visitors play an important role. Draped in blankets and armed with torches, they grope their way through the nocturnal labyrinth of reality, illusion and reflection. Van Overeem is referring back to the public places of Jerusalem, but also creating a new enclosed space in which associations have free rein. In doing so, he plays a game with reproduction and repetition. The same game is a feature of the other works in this exhibition at the GEM. Side rooms accommodate works in which photographs have been printed on top of paintings and the results are presented as three-dimensional objects in space. In one of these rooms, Van Overeem exhibits Presenting the Present, a painting presented in this spatial way and then mirrored. This approach gives the work a site-specific nature and a temporality, since it will exist in this form only for the duration of the exhibition.
Gemeentemuseum Den HaagStadhouderslaan 41
2517 HV Den HaagOpen today 11.00 - 17.00