I’m an international guest at Foundation BAD in Southern Rotterdam – an artist run extravaganza of a place. Based in an old school, originally squatted, it provides both studios and homes for 30ish people who share and co-organise. I am here for a month building on the recently completed ACE project and the Venice work before that – namely improvised landscapes and approaches that are reactions/acclimatisation to some kind of stress.
Rotterdam is the result of a unique history and ambition. Its stress I am assuming is environmental. But unlike Venice it doesn’t feel fragile or tramped or a ruin afloat. It doesn’t feel like Jaywick battling poverty and the sea or the Houseboats of Heachem cobbled together. Instead I see ‘the world’ or better still ‘an improvised world’ – the result of a colonial past. Sveltana Alpers in her great book The Art of Describing said something about Dutch artworks that makes sense here: dont read these paintings as metaphors rather see them for the description of whats already here.