Aperture #228 Elements of Style

The elements of style. An edition that inspires me less with photography, but more with ideas and stories. It’s an interesting mix of articles. With each edition that I read, view and analyse I get a better idea of what Aperture is and what their aim is. I’m getting more possitive.

In separate posts I write about a couple of artists presented in this edition.


Aperture #228 Elements of Style (2017), New York City: Aperture Foundation


MHKA – Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp

‘The M HKA is a museum for contemporary art, film and visual culture in its widest sense. It is an open place of encounter for art, artists and the public. ‘ (MHKA, 2017)

Reflecting on my visit to this museum my initial disappointment turned into fascination for a couple of the artist (collectives). Some of the expositions started stimulating my mind after reading more information. In one of the opinions in a news paper article on Joseph Beuys, part of the exposition, the writer criticises, loosely translated, the inability of modern artists to bring a message across with their art. Maybe that’s my problem with a lot of contemporary photography. Looking at a picture often isn’t enough. I need to read background information to even try to understand the photographer.



Joseph Beuys – Greetings from the Eurasian. ‘The exhibition Joseph Beuys – Greetings from the Eurasian will seek simultaneously to consider Beuys’ activities in Antwerp during the 1960s and ‘70s, alongside considering his relevance to a new generation.’ (MKHA, 2017)

Fascinating!. I saw a newspaper article in the collection which basically asked the question that came up with me as well, ‘charlatan or genie’? What I saw was ridiculous, but what I read made it meaningful. I have to read more about this person. I want to understand better what he was doing. I can understand a large part of his philosophy and his explanation of what he considers art needs additional study as well.

‘Joseph Beuys was active in Antwerp during the 1960s and 1970s through his relationship with Wide White Space gallery, for whom he was a key reference. Amongst his many exhibitions, it is here that he also made his performance Eurasienstab (Eurasian Staff) in collaboration with Henning Christiansen on 9 February 1968……..

The exhibition will also consider Beuys as a figure who worked in a way that was contrary to the logic and hegemony of Modernism……….’ (MKHA, 2017)

‘Joseph Beuys was a German Fluxus, happening, and performance artist as well as a sculptor, installation artist, graphic artist, art theorist, and pedagogue. His extensive work is grounded in concepts of humanism, social philosophy and anthroposophy; it culminates in his “extended definition of art” and the idea of social sculpture as a gesamtkunstwerk, for which he claimed a creative, participatory role in shaping society and politics.’ (Wikipedia, 2017)

Some other expositions:

  • IN SITU: Lifepatch – The Tale of Tiger and Lion.
  • Jef Geys: Names.
  • Ping Pong – Philippe Van Snick
  • LODGERS #12 Art Paper Editions
  • INBOX: Lise Duclaux – L’observatoire des simples et des fous
  • Urgent Conversations: Antwerp – Athens, Part IV: Dealing with Catastrophe, The Flow of the World


MHKA (2017) At: https://www.muhka.be (last visited 10/12/2017)

Wikipedia (2017) At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Beuys (last visited (10/12/2017)

MAS | Museum aan de Stroom

‘In the MAS | Museum aan de Stroom you’ll become acquainted with Antwerp in the world and with the world in Antwerp. Use all your senses to discover the city’s rich past, the river and the port. Enjoy breathtaking views of the city and be surprised by the many large and small details of this architectural gem.’ (MAS, 2017)

What a waste of money! The view of the city was nice, and the building architecturally a gem, but those were free of entrance.

‘The city and the world meet in the MAS. As a city on a river, Antwerp has attracted people from all over the world for centuries. Throughout the centuries, people met exchanging ideas and goods. Traces of these encounters are collected in the MAS.’ (MAS, 2017)

City Photographer. ‘The MAS asked curator Kaat Celis to make a selection from 15 (city photographer) portfolios and to create one huge, inspiring and surprising look at the city. This results in a visual love letter for Antwerp, an associative narrative on the love-hate relations with the city from a photographer’s point of view.’ (MAS, 2017) The pictures hang on the walls next to and above eight escalators going to the roof of the building. Not the best place to look at them, They just can give a feel. And I think that’s the purpose. But for me the feel on most of the escalators is not related to Antwerp. The concept and presentation are original.

Art from Pre-Columbian America. As I have noticed more often lately these kind of statements in magazines, museums, books, are interpreted without limitations and therefor sometimes misleading. One exposition was for example P. Janssen-Arts collection. This collection ‘tells us about the extraordinary relationship between man and the world of gods, ancestors and spirits in America before the conquest of Europe.’ (MAS, 2017) What’s the relation with Antwerp?. I’ve visited museums and archaeological excavation sites in Latin America and the condition of the items displayed in this expo seemed almost unreal because of the excellent state they were in.


Antwerp à la carte. Today, over half of the world’s population lives in cities. Antwerp, for instance, has more than 500,000 inhabitants. That’s half a million mouths to be fed every day. How do we manage to do this now, what will we do in the future, and does the past offer any inspiration? (MAS, 2017). Some interesting facts of the current world of food production and ongoing initiatives.

Some other exhibitions:

  • Visible storage
  • Display of Power | Prestige and symbols
  • Life & Death | Gods and mankind
  • World Port | Trade and shipping



MAS (2017), At: http://www.mas.be/en/page/mas-nutshell (last visited 10 December 2017)


Aperture #227 Platform Africa

In a previous post I was very negative about Aperture #226 and the magazine in general. Although a lot of those comments still stand after reading Aperture #227, as the magazine claims to be more than it is, I think the title suits the content much better this time. Also did I find this edition’s theme and execution very inspirational and educative.

In separate posts I will put the spotlights on some of the featured African artists.


Aperture #227 Platform Africa (2017), New York City: Aperture Foundation

Botswana video

In May/June of this year I visited Botswana for a solo 4×4 self drive through its National Parks. Sleeping in a tent on top of the car, a Toyata Hilux, crossing streams, spotting wildlife, It was a big adventure. I used some of the pictures for the decisive moment assignment and made a video of the whole experience.  This is the first video I made (not counting one home video from my apartment when I lived in Mumbai a couple of years ago). For the interested is this the link to youtube: Botswana 4×4 selfdrive video


Scribbles about books (1) – Culture & Design

Art history is about investigating the circumstances surrounding an artwork. Under which conditions was it made? Which factors attribute to the end result of an artwork? Art history is about establishing the context of an art work. In order to do this art historians look at: the age of an art work, style, subject, artist, patron, etc.

When we look at the vocabulary of describing art and architecture we see many words that are relevant in other disciplines as well, not only in scientific disciplines, but also f.e. in commerce:

  • form and composition
  • material and technique
  • line & shape
  • colour & value
  • pattern & texture
  • space, mass and volume
  • perspective and foreshortening
  • proportion and scale
  • unity & balance
  • emphasis and focal point
  • rhythm & motion

Art works can be analysed from many viewpoints: social, political, philosophical, historical, and technical. Different people might come to different conclusions as cultural background and education will have an influence.


Some words more specific to photography, although related to/can be categorised under above mentioned vocabulary as well, are:

  • frame shape and dynamics
  • light & exposure
  • intent & post-production

There are many accounts on the social history of photography and there is just as many debate on those as well.

‘A great deal goes on the process of making an exposure that is not at all obvious to someone else seeing the result later. This will never prevent art critics and historians from supplying their own interpretations, which may be extremely interesting but not necessarily have anything to do with the circumstances and intentions of the photographer’, (Freeman, 2007:6)


For me if we talk art, everything can be summarised in two intermingled words: culture & design.



Kleiner, F.S. (2014), Gardner’s Art through the Ages 14th edition. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning

Lauer, D.A., Pentak, S. (2012), Design Basics 8th edition. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning

Freeman, M. (2007), The Photographer’s Eye. Lewes, East-Sussex: Ilex

Ion Barladeanu

The sixty-year-old wanderer, Ion Barladeanu, lives in the Romanian capital Bucharest, where he survives by cleaning up garbage. When a gallery owner finds that Barladeanu has a collection of fascinating social critique collages that he made when the dictator Ceausescu  was in charge, Ion B. becomes a celebrity‘, (Close Up, 2017)

Ion balances between genius and madness. Between being an artist and a drunk. His social commentary collages are fascinating, sharp, humorous & cynical.


Alexander Nanau (2010), The World According to Ion B.,

Close up (2017), At: https://www.npo.nl/avro-close-up/21-12-2010/AVRO_1416695 last visited (4 May 2017)