Motel Spatie invites artists, linking these to a particular physical and /or social context and supporting them there in the development of new work.
Motel Spatie uses a curatorial practice that doesn’t only pose questions or theorises, but acts. By acting, it encounters the boundaries of political and social issues and through that, these are made visible and can be stretched.
Artist in Residence: Mathijs Lieshout
During informal conversations between Lieshout and Schouten in Košice, eastern Slovakia, Lieshout questioned the relevance of his work. He wanted to take his work beyond ‘the art space’. The audience was often the same audience and a direct connection with society was lacking. Schouten curated, financed and produced the work ‘Pitwood’ under Motel Spatie in 2013, in a disused pit situated in the Presikhaaf indoor shopping mall. The work was built over the duration of a month and disappeared again within two days of its so-called ‘completion’. The video of the total work was commissioned by Motel Spatie and recorded on the last day by Maxim Tymenko.
Lieshout: ‘Over the course of one month, shopping mall visitors could follow the building process of the artwork. After one month of construction, the installation was broken down within a matter of days. A single sign was posted to offer explanation, it read: ‘A project by Motel Spatie’. The context of a shopping mall instead of a gallery or museum, together with the very public building process, resulted in a peculiar mix of the everyday and the out of the ordinary’..
Pitwood in construction.
Into the Grid
Artwork by Rob Voerman
This work came to exist in response to a question that artist Rob Voerman posed during informal conversations with Schouten regarding their work: ‘How he could let his work be more socially engaged without it becoming pamphlet-like’. Motel Spatie curated, financed and produced an investigation in the form of a work by Rob Voerman; an installation with a public programme, taking place in an out-of-use pit in the centre of the Presikhaaf shopping mall (1965) and open to the general public for the duration of two and a half months.
For Voerman the project meant a new audience range; something that Motel Spatie is experienced in. Our audience is not the regular ‘art audience’. Furthermore, the process of obtaining a permit for a public space that is not public but private was of great interest to Motel Spatie. A shopping mall is not a public but a privately owned space. To keep up the momentum of the project, Motel Spatie began building before all permits had been issued.
Motel Spatie also coordinated a broad public programme, with highlights including a sold-out concert by De Kift, taking place within the work after the mall’s closing hours, and a boxing clinic instructed by retired professional boxer Orhan Delibas, silver-medallist at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Delibas currently runs a boxing academy in Presikhaaf, the suburb where he in part grew up.
The audience reached in this period is estimated at 10,000 visitors. Many visitors asked questions about the work and many conversations about art took place within the work.
Into the grid was in this sense a prelude to the work that Voerman built the following year for Sonsbeek ’16: transACTION, also in Arnhem, utilising the same material choices and public programme, this time above the waterfall in Park Sonsbeek. The Presikhaaf audience is nevertheless a totally different audience than that of Sonsbeek, whose primary visitors were informed and had an existing interest in art. The desired connection with a wider audience that Sonsbeek had envisioned did not take shape as it did in Presikhaaf.
Daily visitors inside the work and the special attendant at the door: Kenneth Letsoin a.k.a. Naamloozz Eindeloozz, Locatie Spatie member.
De Kift in concert, performing ‘Wee Mij’ : “A guaranteed melancholic event”.
Research trip/ Moscow residency/ Museum Night Moscow presentation/ Dutch Design Week presentation/ Motel Spatie presentation
Motel Spatie curated and produced two earlier projects for Dutch artists in Russia between 2014 and 2017. For Motel Spatie this was a continuation of research into ‘Engaged autonomy’, wherein the utilisation of public space for art, direct connection with and exchange of social and political context and the rules and laws that are faced are considered central, become visible and most preferably are actively stretched. Motel Spatie sets up an extensive network for artists involved, wherein new work or a new method of working can be developed, as well as supporting artists with necessary means.
In 2014 we started with Mathijs Lieshout in Galleria, a fashionable shopping centre in the heart of St.Petersburg. A repetition of the project previously conducted in the Presikhaaf shopping mall was envisioned, this time in a comparable but even more complex and challenging context; private, like Presikhaaf, but also a public space.
Motel Spatie also curated and produced a Silent Skies project by Arnhem-based artist Rob Sweere in Moscow and St.Petersburg in 2015. Amongst other things, the project involved sociology students from St.Petersburg staging an intervention, laying down on the square in front of the Hermitage. A daring project, bearing in mind the strained relationship between the Netherlands and Russia at that moment. Both projects succeeded in achieving their intention, much that seemed impossible proved to be possible.
All of the experiences and contacts gained since 2013 contributed to an invitation and another new project, with the theme of the lost Sukharev tower in the centre of Moscow, for which Elejan van der Velde was invited.
In his work van der Velde examines memories of spaces and objects, as well as the traces in spaces that form a visual memory on the surfaces of built-up living environments. He is also interested in concepts such as ‘time’ and ‘memory’ in relation to materials.
The ‘Network of Friends’ again manifests itself; Schouten and van der Velde have been working together since 2009, from intern and neighbour at the first Spatie, to Cum Laude Sandberg. Van der Velde also held a part-time position in 2016/2017 as ‘MultifunctionalMotelSpatieMiep’ and as such represented Motel Spatie amongst others in a panel discussion in Wroclaw, Poland in November 2016, alongside other residency programmes including Meatfactory, Prague and the Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw.
During a work visit to Russia, Schouten came into contact with a small local museum that willingly sought to work together with a contemporary artist who could contemplate and turn their thoughts to the ‘heritage’ of the lost Sukharev tower. Built by Peter the Great and later demolished by Stalin to make way for a six-lane motorway, the tower once housed Russia’s first secular school; an institute of navigation where Russia was mapped for the first time. The first Dutch-Russian dictionaries also emerged there.
Elejan’s work remained a proposal. The initial design was approved by the Moscow City Department of Culture, but was rejected by the the Department for Transport and Road Infrastructure Development. Nevertheless, Motel Spatie is proud to have brought the work this far.
Imprint is a proposal for a road monument. A four-centimeter elevation of the asphalt in the shape of the tower’s floor plan, covering 1100 square meters on the site where the tower once stood; now an intersection of a busy six-lane motorway running right through Moscow. The metro tunnel beneath runs around the remaining foundations of the tower, which are concealed from view.
Elejan van der Velde:
‘By raising the floor plan from the asphalt, it is as if the memory will rise up again. The word imprint is derived from the metaphor of Aristotle; that everybody’s soul has a block of wax on which all of their memories are imprinted. Some have a softer wax, some have harder. Some memories are pressed harder into this block of wax and some are softer. But in the end these will always fade away to a certain extent’.
The extensive project involved a period of research followed by a period of work in Moscow conducted by van der Velde, as well as a presentation during Museum Night Moscow of a 3.20 by 3.50 meter scale-model of the intersection and the to be realised work. The presentation took place in the metro tunnel next to the hidden foundations of the Sukharev tower.
The presentation of a second scale-model, this time made of asphalt and accompanied by a publication, took place during Dutch Design Week 2016 in Eindhoven. The asphalt scale-model and accompanying publication were subsequently exhibited in the therewith newly opened Motel Spatie project space at the independant premises in Presikhaaf, as opening of the January 2017 season.
Motel Spatie in collaboration with and invited by the Garden Ring Museum, Moscow, supported by the Dutch Embassy in Moscow and CCI-Fabrika Moscow. Elejan van der Velde was supported by the Grant Programme for Talent Development – Architecture 2016, care of the Creative Industries Fund NL.
IMPRINT was presented in the Sukharevskaya underpass/ metro entrance as a scale-model measuring 3.20m by 3.50m, accompanied by a photographic impression of the idea: Looming #1, Museum Night Moscow 2016.
Project Space Motel Spatie
Motel Spatie Season Opening and the opening of the new project space, featuring work by Elejan van der Velde, Erik Tlaseca (Mex) and Jakub Nepras (CZ). View the extensive visual report via Trendbeheer.
Poster for the Motel Spatie Season Opening on 27-01-2017, designed and screenprinted by Spatie member Sido Dekker.
Visitors attend the exhibition at the Motel Spatie Project Space.
Everything Here Still Seems To Be Under Construction And Is Already A Ruin
Artist in Residence: Eric Tlaseca
A two-and-a-half month residency resulting in an installation and a performance, interventions in public spaces and the publication Interzone, published under Motel Spatie. Curator: Claudia Schouten.
Erik Tlaseca: ‘Everything Here Still Seems to be Under Construction and Is Already a Ruin: a two-and-a-half-month residency at the invitation of Motel Spatie, from mid-May until the end of July, 2016. During this residency I embraced many types of media to communicate with the architecture and the neighborhood of the Presikhaaf city district. From drawings, videos, collage and sound to spoken word, sculptures and installation. This residency had its first outcome in a brief action; a cluster of different collaborations with the network of friends at Locatie Spatie that surrounds Motel Spatie. To alternatively coincide with creating an interzone: an installation built inside a trash container. This was placed in the garage at the rear of the Spatie space, which I consider to be the core of the Winkelcentrum Presikhaaf building. The curtain was raised on the 22nd of July at 7pm, only to let this Interzone disappear the next morning and return to the wastelands of Arnhem, the Netherlands. The process had a final breath in the publication Interzone, published under Motel Spatie’.
Artist in Residence: Crater Invertido
A month-long residency conducted by the Mexican cooperative Crater Invertido at Motel Spatie in Presikhaaf, Arnhem. As an official partner of Sonsbeek ’16: transACTION, Motel Spatie, in cooperation with the Spatie network, hosted and produced three smoke signal gatherings (two of which in Presikhaaf) as well as interventions in the city using posters.