Jakob Kolding

Saturday March 27th, director Ann Goldstein of the Stedelijk Museum opened the exhibition Stakes Is High by young Danish artist Jakob Kolding at SMBA Amsterdam. Since the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, once one of the leading museums in modern art worldwide, has been closed for ‘major restoration’ for years, their project space Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, or SMBA, is as close as you’ll currently get to the Stedelijk’s feel. Where the museum is renowned for its quality collection of classic modern works, the bureau is more of a platform for contemporary art. It has organized exhibitions of Amsterdam-based art in an international context since 1993.

For the past three years there’s been a cooperation between SMBA, the Research Group of Art & Public Space at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (the local art academy), and the Virtual Museum Zuidas in which an artist takes on a residency in the Zuidas quarter, where the relatively young financial district of the Netherlands is situated. Jakob Kolding was the third artist in residence who was invited to share his view on the area. Kolding (born 1971 in Albertslund, Denmark) trained at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, where he graduated in 2000. He currently lives and works in Berlin.

One of the central themes in Jakob Kolding’s work is space, and more specifically urban space. His technique of mixing collage, drawing and typography is used to address questions in today’s (youth) culture in architecture, urban planning, and the sociopolitical frames underneath them. His work has been compared to both early 20th-century vanguard artists like the Russian constructivists and hip-hop street culture, and it definitely touches on both. It looks like the most interesting result you could expect of a suburban childhood.

In a way, Kolding adopts the vocabulary of the modernist city planners, with their hard-edged silhouettes and idealist slogans, and transfers them into something new, something of today. He combines the strict aestheticism and loud rhetoric with figures and phrases from comics, films, television and music. Sometimes the montages and posters get scarily close to the cold neo-liberal world Kolding reflects upon, at other times he seems to look at his surroundings like a kind of Alice in Wonderland lost in the suburbs.

“As a special response to his residence in Zuidas, Kolding made a quartet of posters and printed T-shirts: media that in themselves imply the social use of space. Visitors to the exhibition are welcome to take a free copy with them. The posters are also to be seen in public poster sites in the area around the Zuidas: not in the financial office parks themselves, because the space there has been designed so that there are almost no walls on which public posters can be hung. Instead Kolding asks the visitors to wear the t-shirts, which are also handed out for free, on a visit to Zuidas.” – http://smba.nl

On my way…




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