Saturday, June 15, 2013

Art in Amsterdam- Jaski Art Gallery

A lot can happen in a span of 45 minutes. I had to kill some time before my bike ride into the countryside of Amsterdam. In a span of 20 minutes, I had already found the cutest little toy store along with countless cheese and sandwich shops I wished to have lunch in.

I wandered through a street of art galleries and took a moment to peer into one of the windows. The paintings, dark and imaginative, looked like mixed media. A woman opened the door to say hello and hand me a few fliers.

Jaski Art Gallery
Jaski Art Gallery is a contemporary art gallery that lives in what is the New York Soho equivalent of Amsterdam: the Spiegelwartier. The woman, whose name is Willy, invited us in when I inquired if we could take a look inside. She was all too kind and made me a cup of illy espresso coffee. In Amsterdam it is customary to give a little treat, whether it be a chocolate or cookie, with their drinks. I enjoyed every last bit of my chat and coffee break before browsing the exhibit.

Chris Berens, a young 37 year old artist, is a patient painter. His paintings take hours to finish and his technique is simple but complicated. He paints over and over again on glossy paper to the point where his paintings look like different layers and media. They are all hand painted just using different inks and varnishes. To stare at a Berens painting is like looking into a dream. The images are bizarre, of fantasy, ethereal, and often mismatched open to your own interpretation. He will mix fairies with animals, Star Wars spaceships with modern buildings, and doe eyed girls with big heads and nature. Blondie is such a big fan of Berens that the group commissioned him to paint their album cover. He is a true rock and roll artist making a statement.

Strange Days - Chris Berens
Codega - Chris Berens
Jaski Art Gallery is all about statements. Weaved in with Berens’ paintings are the sculptures of Atelier Les Deux Garcons. Les Deux Garcons is the brain child of Michel Vanderheijden van Tinteren and Roel Moonen. Like Berens, they are also from the Netherlands.

Les Deux Garcons specialize in taxidermy art. This is what drew me into Jaski Art Gallery in the first place. The duo sources the animals from taxidermists, antique dealers, and auctions. The animals are stuffed, decorated with props, and posed in such a way that they are whimsical, humorous, and dreamy. This makes light of the matter that their art is based on dead animals. Imagine a chipmunk dancing in a tutu or two hamsters sitting at a table waving guns in the air. Les Deux Garcons like to play on fear and fate all while making you stop and think for awhile.

La Jeunesse Doree - Les Deux Garcons
(hamsters) - Les Deux Garcons
La Tentation Ferme - Les Deux Garcons
Jaski Art Gallery is open every day. They work with young talent, local artists, and collaborate on large scale with museums. They also participate in art fairs around the world. I’ll be looking forward to saying hello at The Affordable Art Fair and The Armory Show.

Photography Credits: Desmond Chow

Jaski Art Gallery
Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 29
1017 DB Amsterdam

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