From the 24th of February to the 8th of May 2016, the 6th Biennial of Marrakesh takes place. Marrakech: medieval, stimulating, rough, refreshing. Behind a heavy black door, a stone's throw away from the famous Djemaa el Fna square lies the 16th century Riad El Fenn - a boutique hotel with an extraordinary art collection by the hotel's owner Vanessa Branson (Richard's sister). Branson organizes lectures, lunches and parties there, during the Biennial of Marrakesh that she initiated herself. Even just the contrast between the hotel and the busy, dusty, loud city nearby makes a visit to El Fenn sensational.
In 2013, her work was on view at the photo museum Huis Marseille. Now, photographer Awoiska van der Molen (Groningen, 1972) has her first solo exhibition at FOAM in Amsterdam. Her photographs 'show the results of longer periods of isolation in which van der Molen permeates deeply into the being of the secluded world in which she photographs'. She stays alone at great length and sleeps out in the open to fully experience the place that she takes photographs of. With that uncompromising way of working alone, she is commanding respect.
Blanco consists of approximately fifteen high gloss photographs on barite, made in the period 2010-2015. I try to figure out whether or not her work becomes more radical, emptier, deeper black over time, but I get no answer. Hence, the idea of development and progress is at odds with what she expresses in her work: atemporality. I would like to go back soon and look at her jet black photographs once more, that are too hopeful to be disturbing.
I've been a great admirer of Ellsworth Kelly for years. Art that you should take plenty of time for, so that you can disappear into the primary colour fields that he paints. But after seeing the clip that was published on the website of Phaidon publishers in response to his new book (the beautiful monograph Ellsworth Kelly that came out in outstanding red linnen a couple of days before Kelly's death) I started to see his work with different eyes. Kelly speaks of his fascination for 'the human body' and 'birds'. Now that I know his preferences, I can suddenly recognize them in his work: bums, breasts, birds.