Issue #023 Published: 28-03-2019 // Written by: Tatjana Macic

PuntWG and Collaborative Contemporary Art

Situated in the former hospital grounds of the Wilhelmina Gasthuis, which was squatted in the 80s, lies an artist-run project space. In 2005, a group of artists established puntWG in a small yet majestic space on the ground floor of the building. As an ever evolving group of artist volunteers and enthusiasts, puntWG has facilitated numerous exhibitions, lectures and events by emerging and established artists, local and international.

Today, as part of the WG artistic community and the WG Foundation, it is run by a group of five artists who shape the program by a yearly open call. They see puntWG as an opportunity for the invited artists to “temporarily own the space, with the sense of freedom and responsibility to shape their own program and make contact with the public.” Without this prevailing attitude and vision, one that invites reflection and experimentation in collaborative artistic processes, many exhibitions at puntWG simply would not have been possible. That includes Something Other Than a Thing, a collaborative endeavour by Iqra Tanveer, Ehsan Ul Haq (both from Pakistan) and Loenardiansyah Allenda, who’s originally from Indonesia, an exhibition that took place at puntWG in February and March 2019.

The artists have a few things in common: before relocating to the Netherlands they spent their childhoods in warm climates and have an affinity for certain foods and spices. In more recent years, they were all residents at the Rijksakademie. However, they strongly diverge in their working methods and approaches to materials and perceptions. Such divergence has been welcomed, questioned and examined during their collaboration, which resulted in something unexpected.

Perhaps the best way to describe the exhibition is by listing the variety of the materials the artists have used: clay, wood, metal, lights, shadows, found objects, ceramic tiles, images, sand, glass and one brooding egg. The exhibition was an attempt to create an immersive spatial installation. The visitors were invited to engage in speculative viewing and to contemplate, since there was no information provided about which work was made by whom, and the works themselves were sparse, structural affairs.

The trio seemed to be proposing a notion of shared authorship, questioning the very presumption of the artist’s ego as the motor behind contemporary (western) art. The critical collaboration resulted in a serene, introspective space. The visitors could intuitively explore the installation and reflect upon what they encountered. The enigmatic photomontages of mountains, rainbows and a cricket stadium intersected with intricate, deceptive ceramic objects made to appear like natural stones and bare tree trunks which radiated an aura of ritualistic shamanism.

During the finissage, on the 3 March 2019, the three artists welcomed the public to engage in conversations while cooking and sharing homemade food in the project space. This exhibition was yet another demonstration that puntWG is an oasis of progressive artistic activity.

Next up at puntWG:
On the 31 March 2019, Nomadic Picnic, a one day event by the Day Collective.
From 6 to 28 April 2019: an exhibition by Milena Bonilla Galeano and Natasha Papadopoulou.

For more information, visit puntWG the website: puntwg.nl