Last weekend in the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, the graduates of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy had the opportunity to show their hard work and creativity. And I had the opportunity to enjoy it all.  

ABOUT THE GERRIT RIETVELD ACADEMY

The Gerrit Rietveld Academy is one of the oldest and most prestigious art schools in the Netherlands. It is home to a large number of art students from around the world. The cool thing about this academy is that they don’t limit themselves to just fine arts. As a student you can get a bachelors in graphic design, fine arts, fashion, photography and a whole lot more. After the bachelors you can even obtain a Master of Arts in Fine Arts or Interior Architecture. 

This wide spectrum of creativity was very clear during their graduation exposition, where all graduating students got the opportunity to showcase their hard work. The academy organises this exposition every year and it’s free for all art lovers. Here’s a glimpse of all the great art that was on display this year.

‘In Between’ by Konstantina Mavridou

Konstantina, a graduating student from Greece, is on a journey to discover new states of being by exploring the ‘in between’. If you have a hard time understanding this straight away, don’t worry. That happens to the best of us. Luckily I had the opportunity to speak to her and she explained more about it. It’s all about discovering the time and space outside of what we experience in day to day life. In her own words: 

“… we will need to think of the concept of space; a flexible multi-dimensional grid, inter-connected with other similar grids. Each of which are mapped/applied onto, for example, astronomy, mathematics, art and other social & cosmological fields”. 

If you still don’t understand it, don’t worry, that makes two of us. But in case you think the issue might be Kostantina, you’re wrong. The issue is us. Just keep in mind that besides being an art graduate, she is also a mathematician and probably smarter than the two of us combined. 

The Enchanting Pool by Konstantina Mavridou at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy
The Enchanting Pool by Konstantina Mavridou

One of the works she had on display to visualise the ‘in between’ was a creation that can only be described as ‘a thing that floated’. Take a look at this photograph. What you see is a laser used in construction to make sure things are level mounted on a board floating on water. This board is kept in constant motion by 4 strategically placed fans. The end result is a constant movement of the board, but a laser beam that remains almost completely level on the wall. She called this work ‘The Enchanting Pool’. Konstanina explained that it took her about 3 months to position the fans in such a way that they kept the board moving constantly.

‘Yes or no it’s just a show’ by Hannah Jacques

As soon as you entered one of the exposition buildings you were treated to the joyful art of Hannah Jacques. She finds motivation in the aspiration of reaching a sincere society. She uses a variety of materials in her work; fabrics, objects and even drawings. Her art is meant to provoke emotions. In her own words: 

“When words are not the truth – but a truth – they open a dialogue between feelings and things left unsaid.”

Gerrit Rietveld Academy graduation exposition 2020 by Hannah Jacques
by Hannah Jacques

In my personal opinion she achieved her goal of provoking emotions. As soon as you laid eyes upon her tapestries you were moved by them. You had no other choice then to feel their impact on your mood and temperament. The playful colours and lettering. Amazing. 

‘The Flood’ by Angelique Farge

If I had to choose a word to describe her art it would be ‘intriguing’. Colour is found, but a rather intriguing darkness prevails. The cool thing about her exposition was that it wasn’t just amazing art. It was a story she was telling. The story of the history of Angela Forge and every work of art was a chapter in that history. In her own words: 

“I give myself the freedom to imagine each new idea as the vanishing point form one chapter of the story to the next, in a manner as natural as these idea evolve in my thoughts”

It was simply not possible to enter the room where Angelique displayed her work and not see it. Before I realised it I was admiring her work. It simply could not resist. 

by Angelique Farge

Melle van Herwaarden

I cannot finish this story without talking about the paintings of Melle van Herwaarden. You probably know the feeling you sometimes get when you look at a work of art. That feeling that you can’t really put into words, but you know you found something you love. That same feeling you get when you go on a first date and can’t find the words, but you just know this is going to be special. That’s the feeling I got when I saw Melle’s paintings for the first time. They made me happy at first, but sad moments later. The colours and the compositions are amazing, but you just can’t help to feel sorry for the person depicted in the paintings. It gave me a certain feeling of loneliness. Incredible works of art. 

Painting by Melle van Herwaarden at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy
by Melle van Herwaarden

Melle’s art becomes even more interesting when you learn the simplicity behind it. Melle finds inspiration in everyday simple moments. As simple as “a hand dangling in the air, the silhouette of a figure or poses in a dance”. What you see in the most recent paintings is an inspiration derived from people just standing. Maybe that was the loneliness I felt. 

LOOKING FORWARD to next year

I can simply state that this year’s graduation exposition from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy was one to remember. It’s a great place to meet fellow art lovers, learn the artist’s stories first hand or simply indulge in all that there is to indulge in. The atmosphere is simply lovely. Also, when you need a short break from all that creativity you can get a drink from their cafe and just relax on the patio. And don’t forget, all of that free of charge. Don’t miss it next year.

1