by students of Fontys Academie voor Beeldende Kunst en Vormgeving, Tilburg
In the past six months, a group of 17 students from the Fontys Academy of Visual Arts and Design in collaboration with the Pennings Foundation carried out a project within a course called ‘Crosslab’. In this course, students carry out a project in professional practice in collaboration with clients and guest teachers. Groups are formed with students from different academic years, in which the third year students take the lead.
More information about Crosslab can be found here: https://www.penningsfoundation.com/post/32-crosslab
The project at Pennings came about in response to a request from Pennings to design and execute an exhibition specifically for the target group, people who are in their twenties. Due to the current changes in the world regarding Corona it is unfortunately no longer possible to continue the exhibition at Pennings. That is why we would like to offer you a glimpse into what the final exhibition could be.
The title of the exhibition is O. This is a visualization of what the students within the designed concept want to convey to the visitors. The form represents an idea that each end can also be a new beginning. The students want the viewer to experience what it’s like to reflect on yourself in the moment and leave the exhibition with a new beginning. Especially for the target group (the people in their twenties) this is very important at the moment. People in their twenties suffer more and more from mental complaints, as a result of, for example, social media. Because of the urge to be 'online' all the time and not wanting to miss anything, more and more young people experience a continuous pressure that can be bad for their mental state. In addition, the uncertainty and loneliness of the current situation also puts pressure on the mental state of this target group.
The exhibition focuses on experiencing it yourself, because the students are convinced that their target group wants to experience art. The experience makes the works more personal and the viewer can easily put himself in it, both physically and mentally. In this way, the students hope to offer young people in particular a new perspective on their world.
In the model below you can see what the exhibition would look like in the Pennings Foundation space. As you can see a walking route has been formed in the offered space by means of a wall. This route will guide the visitor through the exhibition and will also make it possible to comply with possible COVID-19 measures.
The walking route first leads the visitor through a dark corridor. This is meant to disorient the visitor and to make a separation from daily life. Then the visitor enters a small dark space in which the work of Kevin Breedveld is shown. Kevin Breedveld is a third-year student at the Academy of Visual Arts and Design of Fontys in Tilburg. The students wanted to offer a stage to an alumna artist (see further on in this story) as well as to a student that suits the content of the exhibition.
Kevin's work is shown through the medium Virtual Reality. In the space there are some VR glasses available for the viewer to step into Kevin's work. Kevin's work is about a dystopian world in which isolation and loneliness predominate. The world is digitally designed and by putting on the VR glasses, the visitor immediately finds himself in a different, unknown place. The visitor can virtually move through a lonely apartment and experiences a dystopian world in combination with frightening sounds. A world that unfortunately still has many parallels with the contemporary.
Kevin Breedveld on his work 2084:
“Trapped, oppressive and sad are words that can describe the climate well in early March. The creation of the work 2084 started around this time. While the intentions for this work were quite different at first, the locked quarantine period has helped to change and create this work. The space is designed in such a way that a user does not have to worry about turning back or leaving. As soon as you look around you can see several fellow sufferers in various rooms in the form of high building-like constructions”
“The title 2084 is a gentle reference to George Orwell’s book '1984', in which the same kind of social control is present. Paired with the atmosphere and sounds, the work tries to evoke the same feelings like those from the period in which Kevin Breedveld worked on it; the online meetings and the constant presence of ever-increasing stacks of assignments that were moved from the workplace to a personal environment. This blurred the line between work and personal needs, ultimately leading to constant frustration, stress and restlessness.”
"Being locked up and being watched is the starting point; after all, this entails, over time, many diverse ailments. Experience the work and take your time.”
When leaving the dark space, the visitor enters a larger, illuminated space. Here one encounters the first work by Rhoda de Dobbelaere which is projected wall-wide.
The works of Rhoda de Dobbelaere consist of photo series of highly processed images. The works of Rhoda are often about emotions, loneliness and perfectionism. Three recognizable subjects for people in their twenties. In addition, the images are often surrealistic and Rhoda uses bright, vibrant colors. On large format this creates an impressive effect in space. Moreover, in her photography Rhoda forms a world of her own that originated from her vision and experiences of this world. By choosing to project all the works, the viewer gets the opportunity to step into her world as well. It is also an opportunity for visitors to recognize themselves in the work because it evokes (their own) emotions.
Rhoda describes her own work as follows:
“By means of mysterious locations and the emotions depicted by the people in the photos, I take the viewer on a journey to themselves and the possibly undiscovered aspects of life. I do this by working with an underlying message. This is a period that I go through at that moment in my life, or a certain theme that plays a role."
By choosing an alumna, a third-year student and a new form of presentation (virtual reality), the students hope to appeal to the target group of people in their twenties and offer the visitor a new impressive experience. In addition, the students want to give a little hope to the visitor when they leave the exhibition.
Because every end is also a new beginning.