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Art exhibition: Making Space

Summer Exhibition: Making Space

From 14 June to 1 September, the Hortus hosts a special art exhibition entitled ‘Making Space’. Five contemporary visual artists reflect on the Hortus; its location, its collection and the history of this place. Through artworks scattered throughout the garden, visitors are challenged to look at the world around them with different eyes. How do we interact with the space around us? How do we relate to all the living and dying things that surround us? What space does the Hortus occupy? And what would happen if we’d return space to every living thing around us again – and take care of our world together? 


This exhibition is curated by curator Jelmer Wijnstroom. Featuring artworks by: Hadrien Gérenton, Saskia Noor van Imhoff, David Jablonowski, Isa van Lier and Suzie van Staaveren. You can visit the exhibition for free with your Hortus entrance ticket.

Hadrien Gérenton

Hadrien Gérenton (1987) shows sculptures of monitor lizards tied to trees by collars. Gérenton is fascinated by the way people inhabit their environment and relate to the objects and animals around them. Who do we allow into the garden? In his works – sculptures of monitor lizards (the Asian water monitor or Indian dragon) – he responds to the impact human activity has on the environment. For Gérenton, the monitor lizards serve as both a means of entertainment and reflection, forcing the viewer to reflect on the complex impact of humans on ecosystems and the ethical dimensions of international (animal) trade.

Hadrien Gérenton. Les Detectives Sauvages. 2019

Image: Gert Jan van Rooij

Saskia Noor van Imhoff

In front of you are two stones. One was created through a slow and gradual process over thousands of years. The other is a replica made in aluminum. By copying the stone, Saskia Noor van Imhoff freezes a moment in time, the natural wear and tear and decomposition are brought to a halt. On its own, the stone might not have been noticed; it looks like a natural element of the Hortus full of non-local organic materials. The replica makes you look more intently. Other shapes, materials and plants seem to be part of the artwork. It becomes diffuse as to what is natural or artificial. The artwork changes and questions the space around us. For Van Imhoff, the artwork is part of the “organic collection,” an ecosystem referring to the totality of, and an interaction between, material, meaning, value and time.

Saskia Noor van Imhoff. #+30.00. 2017/2019.
(stone, aluminium)

courtesy of the artist and GRIMM Amsterdam | London | New York
Image: Gert Jan van Rooij

David Jablonowski

David Jablonowski (1982) shares with us his views on the complex relationship between humans, technology and nature. With a rich history in exploring communication techniques, technology and human impact on the environment, Jablonowski presents a new work at the Hortus. David’s previous works serve as a breeding ground for his new work for the Hortus. With a focus on materials from his native region, the Ruhr, he explores the cycle of human interaction with nature: from the extraction of crude oil to its use in advanced technologies. With his new work, Jablonowski explores the space of the Hortus and the means of communication between humans, nature and animals.

David Jablonowski. Public Hybrid. 2024. Voor Emscherkunstweg/Ruhrarea/Germany

Image: Anne Lakeman
Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Fons Welters

Isa van Lier

Isa van Lier (born 1996) creates art that responds to the tranquillity of a garden. With a large colourful sculpture of stacked happy heads, inspired by Zen gardens and paradise, she creates a place to unwind. For the outdoor art exhibition Paradys in the forests of Oranjewoud, Van Lier built a temple. Placed in and around the temple were her ceramic sculptures, including a large tower of stacked, colourful heads with faces. This part of the installation will be on display in the Hortus. In recent years, Isa has done several projects where you can feel like a child again in a world of shape and colour and animated objects. A world where everything is alive and the numerous creatures welcome you to quiet your head.

Isa van Lier. Len Temple (Temple of Spring), Paradys, 2022, Oranjewoud

Image: Isa van Lier

Suzie van Staaveren - Necklace for a Tree

Suzie van Staaveren (1991) made a research trip to Australia in early 2019, where she worked with an arborist (a tree specialist). The work of an arborist is constructive on the one hand, by looking at how best to protect a tree or forest, and destructive on the other, when, for example, the decision is made to fell a tree. In summer 2019, Van Staaveren expressed her enriched artistic vision on wood in the project Kompromiss. With a local arborist, she created sculptures made of wood from dead trees. Her work Necklace for a Tree came about here. A series of necklaces with the Latin names of tree species on the pendants. With the necklaces, she gives the trees a necklace and a name, so that we might relate to them more as fellow living beings. Especially for the Hortus, Van Staaveren is creating a new series of necklaces with both folk names and scientific names.

Suzie van Staaveren. Necklace for a Tree. 2019. 

Image: Lou-Lou van Staaveren