Exhibition: – 5 Mar 2022
Sat 15 Jan
THE RAVESTIJN GALLERY
1013 BV Amsterdam
A Stain in a Rug was MacGuffin magazine’s commission, but Scheltens & Abbenes decided to approach the theme from another angle. From a local thrift shop the artists borrowed worn-out carpets and with large sweeping gestures they tried to remove the hideous stains they carried. The soap splashes not merely freshened up some colour patches, but also caused surprising new patterns. The fleeting moments were caught by the camera’s eye and the photos featured in MacGuffin’s Nº 9 issue. While being happy with the series of revived rugs, Maurice Scheltens and Liesbeth Abbenes felt the photos deserved yet another context. For their upcoming show at The Ravestijn Gallery, which opens on January 15th 2022, the photos gain a next life, this time by returning to the rugs’ three-dimensionality. The original photos, the size of which had been limited by the dimensions of the magazine, are now blown up to a considerable magnitude and encased in somewhat smaller Plexiglas boxes. As a result, the heavy prints lean against the back and slightly curl up at the bottom. A three-dimensional reality, a doubling of the illusion - Soap (MacGuffin magazine, 2021) has become Whiff.
Scheltens & Abbenes are known for their detailed, highly aesthetic photos, in which familiarity and illusion play a mysterious game. However, the duo never aims at creating mystery for the sake of mystery. Instead, the artists try to reach the innate wisdom, or essence, that secretly resides in mundane things. The still-life sets, which they meticulously build up in front of the camera’s eye, are discarded once the images have frozen the moment. And thus, only within the context of the photo, the soap splashes are part of the carpet’s decoration.
Literally is a way of coming full circle for Scheltens & Abbenes. The recycling of their own works, and returning to that which is depicted in the original photos, emphasizes the essence of their work: inviting people to look again and look more intensely at that which they have probably seen a thousand times before.
Scheltens & Abbenes, who live and work in Amsterdam, have presented their work at prestigious international institutes, including Foam Amsterdam, Huis Marseille Amsterdam, Galliera Musée de la Mode Paris, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie in Mannheim. Their commissioners include MacGuffin Magazine, Fantastic Man, The Plant, The Gentlewoman, Vrij Nederland, as well as Hermès, Chanel, COS, Balenciaga, Paco Rabanne, Maison Martin Margiela, Gucci Osteria, HumanRace by Pharrell Williams, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Dutch Royal Residence.
Due to the current lockdown regulations we are not sure if we can open the show to the public on Saturday the 15th of January. If not we will organize a get together at a later date!