Unsettled, Unraveled, Unreal; showcases contemporary art
GVL/Kevin Sielaff Jie Luo's "Imprisoned," 2008, incorportes sinister figures from his life to create dynamic works of art. The annual Fall Arts Celebration unveils the "Dusk to Dusk: Unsettled, Unraveled, Unreal" exhibit Sept. 10 inside the Performing Arts Center on Grand Valley's Allendale campus.
An empty hoodie, a body double and skin removed from a body are images on display in the exhibit “Dusk to Dusk: Unsettled, Unraveled, Unreal.” Showcasing various artists in a variety of mediums, the exhibit contains international contemporary art that focuses on the isolation of the individual in the modern world.
Located in the art gallery in the Grand Valley State University Performing Arts Center, the exhibit is part of this year’s Fall Arts Celebration. The exhibit contains 32 works of art from a private collection in the Netherlands. Henry Matthews, director of galleries and collections, said students should take advantage of this opportunity to see high-quality artwork on campus.
“The exhibition is composed of art by internationally recognized, major, contemporary artists,” Matthews said. “They are really works of art of outstanding quality and the kind of thing we don’t usually get to show at Grand Valley.”
Matthews added that because the exhibit comes from a private collection, the collection is a very personal one. The pieces are owned by anonymous art collectors who gave the pieces to be used in this collection.
“The owners know these artists, they visit their studios, they purchased this work of art and they are passionate about these pieces,” Matthews said. “To have the opportunity to borrow something of this quality and this international standard is a really extraordinary experience, and I think anybody who comes to visit the show will be struck by its high quality.”
Matthews said part of what makes the exhibit so interesting is the variety of mediums that are included in the collections.
“The exhibit has everything from photographs, paintings, video art, sculpture, cast and wood,” Matthews said. “It’s a wide mix and a wide range of materials. There are even a number of video pieces that are on a loop and that’s a very interesting component to the exhibit.”
“It’s not a bright, happy show by any means,” said David Newell, curator of exhibitions. “It has a very solemn sense to it, and some of the images kind of knock you upside the head and really make a point about isolationism.”
Due to the large size of the exhibition, Newell said GVSU split the exhibit with Hope College. Part of the exhibit is located in the DePree Art Center at Hope College, and Newell said he hopes that visitors attend both exhibits.
“It’s a partnership show with Hope College,” Newell said. “So we’re encouraging people to see both parts and really be able to experience the full show.”
To advertise and represent the exhibit, Newell said the art gallery has been showing a piece titled “I30” by Hideaki Kawashima.
“It is this sweet little pink face, with pretty little eyes and pretty little lips,” Newell said. “But it’s base is a flayed body. It’s what the skin would look like after it had been removed. It’s a kind of shocking image, at the same time, but it’s beautiful too.”
Newell’s favorite piece in the exhibit is a small piece titled “Hoody” by Erwin Wurm. The piece is a ceramic, three-quarter torso hoodie without a person wearing it.
“The hoodie is floating in space,” Newell said. “There’s no body supporting it. You look in the hood and there’s no face in it. It has references to the classic imagery of death as the hooded figure with the scythe and it’s also referencing youth culture of today and the popularity of hoodies.”
The exhibit contains emotional pieces with strong statements to make, Newell said, and he encourages students to come to make their own interpretation of the works.
“The pieces all make very strong emotional statements,” Newell said. “It isn’t a show that has a very complicated interpretation with it. You’re really just left on your own to kind of reflect on how it relates to your life or your thought patterns.”