Artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh (1962) and curator Lucy Cotter (1973) are currently representing the Netherlands at the 57th Venice Biennale (13 May to 26 November 2017) with a set of films entitled Cinema Olanda.
Since 1953 the Dutch entry has been displayed in the Rietveld Pavilion, designed by Gerrit Rietveld during the post-war reconstruction, when architecture was considered key to building a new national image. Cotter’s curatorial departure point for the exhibition was to engage with Gerrit Rietveld’s Dutch Pavilion as a national presentation in its own right. Van Oldenborgh’s films present a view which contrasts with the progressive image of openness and transparency conveyed by the pavilion. She offers an alternative narrative to the Netherlands’ self-image as a tolerant nation, revealing a complex and rapidly transforming social, cultural and political space, both in the 1950s and today.
The title film Cinema Olanda is shot in one uncut take, connecting several individuals in the Pendrecht district in Rotterdam, along with past and current events in a momentary filmic reality, and seeking out alternative voices behind Dutch post-war society. A parallel programme is set to take place in the Netherlands, involving an exhibition at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam (17 June-20 August), EYE Film Museum (13 June), and the Stedelijk Museum (30 June) in Amsterdam.
Two publications accompany the exhibition: the catalogue, Cinema Olanda: Wendelien van Oldenborgh, edited by Lucy Cotter and published by Hatje Cantz /Mondriaan Fund, and a portfolio of images accompanied by a series of essays by leading writers in the fields of art, film, architecture, social anthropology and critical race studies.
Further information on the exhibition appears on the website of the Mondriaan Fund, which manages the Dutch entry to the Venice Biennale.
Top picture: Lucy Cotter (curator) and Wendelien van Oldenborgh (artist) © Ari Versluis
Bottom picture: Production still from Cinema Olanda, 2017, by Wendelien van Oldenborgh (represented by Wilfried Lentz). Photo © Daria Scagliola