The idea for the exhibition came about after the Fine Arts cohorts of 2020 and 2021 had limited opportunities to expose their work, due to the pandemic. The municipality of Utrecht wanted to solve this issue, which is why Lift Off was created with the support from the corona funds. Menno Vuister (lecturer at Fine Arts) has been appointed by HKU as curator and with help from the HKU alumni, the exhibition is on display from 24 June to 10 July at Centraal Museum, AG, IMPAKT and Stichting Fundatie Maria van Pallaes.
The worksVuister: ‘The works of the 22 various alumni form a nice and diverse combination of arts, that fit the locations where they are displayed. The match between work and location was the basis for this selection.’
Vuister asked HKU alumni for help in preparing the exhibition. Bas Oussoren is one of them, and also among the artists who was given the opportunity to exhibit his work for Lift Off. Oussoren: ‘I’m currently mainly focused on my own works, but soon we will have a whole truckload of art arriving. I’m really looking forward to setting up the event. Finding the right technical and practical approach; it’s a fresh new challenge.’
The idea behind this exhibition is (unlike most exhibitions) not centred on a theme. Instead it’s about creating a place for the Fine Art cohorts that have been less visible due to corona. Vuister knows the works of these cohorts through and through, since he wrote the descriptions of these artists for Exposure. In the absence of a central theme, Vuister based his view on the locations: ‘What kinds of locations are they? And what kind of art do these locations demand? From there on, I went looking for the main lines in two years of Fine Art works.
Vuister: ‘Essentially, Lift Off consists of four group exhibitions. At the same time, HKU alumna Monika Nowal developed a performance that is displayed during the opening in Centraal Museum and AG. The installations used by the performers will remain there afterwards.’
Centraal Museum is one of the locations, and Vuister knew right away which artists would fit there. It’s a classical building with a dual contrast between glass-and-concrete and stained glass.
Het Refectiehuis has been closed off to the public for a long time, but is now transforming into a cultural location. Vuister: ‘it’s a unique building that has kept its original state, which reveals a lot in its appearance. Truly a historical location, where I’ve brought together several artists who look back on a historical event.’
The rooms of IMPAKT are very suitable for the selected sculptures. Vuister: ‘the interior feels like a whitecube bathtub; perfect for harbouring the sculptures. AG is also a location with a clear purpose. HKU is an academy that brings forth lots of talented painters, so this room displays several tendencies in the Fine Art paintings of the last two years.
On the origins of the name Lift Off, Oussoren explains: ‘the name refers to giving that last little push before taking off. ‘Hopefully, it serves as a nice chance to be seen for the alumni, along with Exposure and the many other exhibitions happening in June.
‘This exhibition is a nice selection from the diversity among young artistic talents. In terms of themes, materials and practices, it presents a nice peek into the crafts of today’s young artists,’ states Vuister. Oussoren is especially curious how the overall selection will come together as a whole: ‘in any way it’s going to be beautiful, so come and see!’
Lift Off can be admired from 24 June t 10 July on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at various locations across Utrecht.
The full programme is available here.