Life Most Intense

“Life Most Intense” is Ma Ke’s first major solo exhibition. His paintings explore the ugly, occasionally distasteful, side of reality and human nature, but he presents it in a way that is compelling. The paintings are visualisations of the feelings he has when experiencing ‘life most intensely, before routine, time and distance dull the shock and veil the memory.’ Ma Ke has got us thinking and created myriad paths for our thoughts to pursue. As they do, we find he has created a mechanism for exchange and communication all too rare in today’s experience of art. Ma Ke never has need of illustrating the act itself. We instinctually add up the clues he provides to arrive at the intended emotional sum. It is this conflagration and the structure within which they are presented and are balanced that sets up a mood of instability in the paintings. An acrid scent of bitterness that underscores the sorry moral tales each painting is conceived to convey. This paradox of painterly perfection is the root cause of instability in Ma Ke’s painted world.

319-1 East End Art Zone A, Caochangdi Village,Chaoyang District,Beijing,100015

Il était une fois…

An absolutely wonderful pop-up book by Benjamin Lacombe. Eight classic tales evoked by a double-page ingenious mechanism. This exquisite book combines a technical beauty and true show of talent and artistry. The characters represented are from the most famous stories: Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, Bluebeard, Peter Pan, Little Red Riding Hood, Mrs Butterfly, and Thumbelina.

The promotional video is created by B&C, directed by Benjamin Lacombe and sound by Jose Pons.

Dream the World Away

A psychedelic gang of boys, bears and bravehearts stomping toward us against a thumping KrossBow soundtrack. Nick Knight’s fashion film featuring Simon Foxton’s visual mash-up of Belgian menswear master Walter Van Beirendonck’s enviable archives is an explosive Technicolor experience.

Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair

For 42 years, Gilbert & George have been reflections of each other, identical twins alike in being different: not from each other but from the rest of the world, which is a dark and violent place filled with ambiguous pageantry.

The Jack Freak Pictures shows their ominous kaleidoscopic world, a chaotic pulse of medals, flags and street names. The freaks who walk these mean streets and spooky parks are Gilbert & George. Dressed up as a Union-Jacked dynamic duo and portraying themselves as dancing vaudevillians, robotic avatars, and mutating entities. Simultaneously being victim and monster, they seem to enjoy the disaster, sticking out impish tongues and blowing raspberries.

The Jack Freak Pictures feel unpleasantly two-faced, on several levels and to be honest… a little frightening.

Size Matters

Imagine yourself entering a dark space, directed towards a quietly swishing revolving door. There are signs everywhere warning you’re about to enter a “pressurized area” so if you’re pregnant, have breathing problems, or some curious disease: GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE, YOU’RE GONNA DIE. What do you think is going to happen.

Anish Kapoor’s Leviathan at the Grand Palais in Paris is probably the closest you ever get to experience how Jonah felt when swallowed by a whale. Instead of standing in an exhibition hall looking at an object, you’re in the object itself, a mixture between a whale’s stomach and a massive womb, with no sense of the surrounding environment. Your only connection with the outside world are the web-like patterns of the Grand Palais’s roof over the rounded surfaces. It’s surreal, kind of bizarre, and very beautiful.

Passing back out into the entrance area, you head through another door into the body of the hall where you’re hit by brilliant sunlight and overwhelmed by a 376,700 ft² dark purple globular monster, the exterior of the space you’ve just been in, which appears about to roll over you and makes you feel truly tiny. Kapoor really gets the scale of the Grand Palais. He didn’t fill the entire space so you can get a clearer perspective standing away from it. The mint green iron against the dark purple is beautiful as are the shadows the sun creates through the glass and iron slats of the roof.

These two very different, very challenging environments fulfilled Kapoor’s aim of creating “a contemplative and poetic experience”.  There’s nothing more to say.



With the birth of my children I realized I developed a new set of feelings. There was that complete and unconditional love, not wanting anything in return. There was the fear something could happen to them which made me more vulnerable then I ever felt before. And there was astonishment about the simple fact that they exist and I was allowed to watch them grow up. All these feelings can be found in the portraits Hendrik Kerstens made of his daughter Paula.

Kerstens, like most parents, wanted to document all the important moments in his daughters life, to capture something of the fleeting moments that fade from memory all too quickly. But his portraits are not the average family snapshots. Kerstens recognized and captured the fact that every human being, no matter how familiar, remains a mystery that can never be completely unravelled.

Then there is his consciousness of the fact that people are the same, no matter who they are or what age they live in. Associations are determined by the way we are depicted: the clothes and make up we wear, accessories and lighting.

Kerstens: ‘One day Paula came back from horseback riding. She took off her cap and I was struck by the image of her hair held together by a hair-net. It reminded me of the portraits by the Dutch masters and I portrayed her in that fashion.

It’s the combination of the love for his child, his awareness of the little we know about our loved ones, his attempts to come to grips with the passing of time and the knowledge of his craft what makes this series of photographs so unbelievable beautiful.

New Nature

With the arrival of genetic manipulation, we became the creators of our nature. This idea resulted in a large book by Melissa Peen in which she shows the graphic evolution of nature. During the Dutch Design Week 2011 she presented in collaboration with PHE several new applications: the images are processed in wallpaper, cabinet or ceiling.


Prayer of Shadow Protection

prayer of shadow

Most Dutch bridges, whether fixed or movable, are built by civil engineers without any input from architects resulting in “functional constructions devoid of any poetry whatsoever.”
Therefore it is really nice that an architect was deemed necessary for this relatively small drawbridge for the Amstel-Drecht canal in South Holland.

NIO Architects, one of the finalists in the 2010 Dutch Design Awards, found poetic inspiration in all sorts of odd places: a Jedi Starfighter, a praying mantis and the design of the stylized pleasure boats that clip along in the canal. And, unlike the most Dutch bridges, this bridge, the Prayer of Shadow Protection, is dark, somewhere between green and blue, a bit like the water in the Netherlands but more sparkling.
The result is a bit terrifying, yes, but also kinda awesome.
A freak robot with elegant contours slowly disappearing as dusk falls

Father & Daughter


A bittersweet short movie, set in the landscape of the Netherlands with its wide skies and tall poplar trees, tells the story of a young girl whose father departs in a small boat and disappears. The girl returns again and again to the place he left her to peer out to the sea to search for him. Each return marks a passage in her life, from child to adolescent, mother and eventually old woman. Of course her father will never, can never, return. Yet the longing for her father always remains with her.
For anyone who has experienced a last moment like this, and many of us have, this poetic film strikes a chord. How often does one travel back to that spot, even if it is only in one’s mind?

There is no need to understand why the father leaves his daughter. The grief and a longing for his return are so intense that everyone can attach an individual interpretation, be it a lost father, child or love. In the director’s own words it is about “longing” that never diminishes despite the passage of time, defeating all logic.

In 2000, Father and Daughter won the Academy Award for Best Short Film

Director: Michael Dudok de Wit
Music: Norman Roger