International exhibitions

International 2009 Archives

Lunar Distance
De Hallen, Harleem (Netherlands)

05.11.2009 - 31.05.2010

07.09 - 25.11.2012

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Press release

Lunar distance is an international group exhibition presenting the work of Anna Barribal, Jeroen Eisinga, Ceal Floyer, Aurélien Froment, Douglas Gordon, Christoph Keller, Zilvinas Landzbergas, David Maljkovic and Charlotte Posenenske.

Except for Charlotte Posenenske (1930-1985), the artists in this exhibition were all born around 1969, the year in which Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin were the first to set foot on the surface of the moon (around that time Posenenske stated she would stop producing art). That was forty years ago. The images of the moon landing showed a new world in which technology is omnipresent, and at the same time a world in which a great deal of scepticism exists about the 'truth' of images. Unto this very day, there are people who do not believe that Man has been on the moon.

Which impact do increasing technologisation, globalisation and mobility have on our experience of the world ? Lunar distance shows videos, collages, drawings, objects and installations, made by an international group of artists - works that on the one hand explore the relationship between image and meaning and on the other our perception of reality in the digital age.

A number of the artists taking part in Lunar distance provide a seemingly objective registration of natural phenomena and analyse the underlying structures of the cosmos, nature and consciousness. Their approaches are reminiscent of scientific research methods. But ultimately, the works in the exhibition are sooner concerned with a longing for meaning, a feeling that is characterized in ths exhibition by an alternative experience of time, in which events generally take place at a slower pace as is also the case in dreams and memories.

‘The true is precisely what is made’ observed Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico as early as the eighteenth century. During the Modernist period, art was still believed to possess the power to make statements of universal value. Today, a growing number of artists seem to share the conviction that reality is a construct of the individual mind. The exhibition systematically scrutinizes the relation between logic and subjectivity.

From the video collection of De Hallen Haarlem the work Sehnsucht, by Jeroen Eisinga, has been selected for this exhibition. In Sehnsucht (2002) we see a dead zebra lying on a black and white chequered tarpaulin. Eisinga took photographs of the zebra during the process of decomposition, and then edited these in succession to create a cinematic sequence. As a result, we watch as the cadaver bloats and shrivels. The apparently objective recording of a natural phenomenon is reminiscent of a scientific report, but ultimately this film is more about conveying a sense of uneasiness, vacuity, absence and futility.


Exhibition 12 September - 19 November 2009. De Hallen Haarlem, Grote Markt 16 2001 DJ Haarlem (Netherlands).

Lunar Distance, De Hallen, Harleem

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2012. All Rights Reserved

Left : Aurélien Froment, Théâtre de poche, 2007. Lambda print de vidéo HD, 12 mn, 100 x 75 cm. Collection G + W Nederland. Courtoisie Motive Gallery, Amsterdam.

Behind : Charlotte Posenenske, Vierkantrohre Serie DW, 1967. Corrugated cardboard. Charlotte Posenenske Estate.

Right : Jeroen Eisinga, Sehnsucht, 2002. film 14 mm, h/w, 8'47 mn. Collection of Frans Hals Museum (De Hallen Haarlem)

This work was chosen for a good reason: it is exemplary for the recent collection and exhibition policy of De Hallen Haarlem, in which the emphasis lies on a tendency that the art critic Jörg Heiser has described as Romantic Conceptualism. What Heiser means by this is that there is a growing group of artists whose work expresses a longing for meaning. In that longing they combine apparently rational methods with often unattainable (and thus romantic) objectives. Thus the conceptual is linked with the poetic and the melancholy.

In the video Théâtre de poche (2007) by Aurélien Froment we follow a magician who arranges images from different contexts and combines then again in an associative manner. The video is based on Arthur Lloyd, a magician from the 1930s who was also known as the Human Card Index. Rather than the standard conjuring tricks his repertoire consisted of producing from his jacket almost all the pictures one could imagine, from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to a receipt from the chemist’s shop.

Under the title Parallel Compositions David Maljković combines collages of photographs from the surroundings in which he grew up with fragmented images of modernist interior design guides. He investigates how the remains of socialist Yugoslavia are connected with his personal memories of places from his childhood.

Lithuanian artist Žilvinas Landzbergas has been invited to create an installation in the cabinet of De Hallen Haarlem. Drawing on the specific qualities of materials Landzbergas constructs situations in which spectators become parts of a spectacle, a play in which the actors are absent and the materials and objects take the leads.

Ceal Floyer collects everyday objects and arranges them in a circular template. In a continual process of collecting Floyer is constantly arranging them in a different order; there are various versions of the work Helix.

By presenting artistic processes that display an analogy with data processing (fragmentation, duplication, repetition, deceleration, categorisation, etc), Lunar Distance examines ways in which we can find an answer to the ultimate question of how, in our present time, we can know the world through ‘image’. This also applies to the work of Anna Barriball (Plymouth, 1972), Douglas Gordon (Glasgow, 1966), Christoph Keller (Stuttgart, 1969) and Charlotte Posenenske (Wiesbaden, 1930 – 1985) which is also included in this exhibition. Ultimately, the works in Lunar Distance appeal primarily to specific desires: to our longing for truth, objectivity and impartiality. In other words, to our desire for moral and political innocence.

The title of the exhibition, Lunar distance, refers to an old method of navigation that takes the position of the moon and the stars as point of reference. Using a sextant, an eighteneeth century invention, the navigator is able to determine Greenwhich Mean Time. This is subsequently compared to the local time, which in turn results in a sitting.

Lunar Distance is curated by Suzanne Wallinga.