Tudor Bratu & Willem de Haan | with The Balcony
Willem de Haan, Emergency Exit for Daily Life, 2020 (left)
Tudor Bratu, Public Archive (right)
Tudor Bratu (RO 1977) lives and works between the Netherlands and Romania. Having graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy (2003) and the Rijksakademie voor Beeldende Kunsten (2009) in Amsterdam, Bratu works with photography, installation, and artists’ publications. Since 2010 he manages the artists-in-residency platform www.bucharestair.com
His current practice is focused on projects that interweave documented stories of contemporary migration with the artist’s own family history, archival footage and data, and post-documentary photography. Presentations often involve working with scale models, slide projection narratives, and printed matter, and expand on an ongoing research of an ethical responsibility, which stands at the heart of global emergencies today. The failure to recognize the human subject both as equal to his peers and as part of an environmental global operating system leads to alienation, ‘othering’, and the systemic abuse of both the environment as other human beings. In his projects, Bratu often starts from the writings of amongst others Simone Weil, James Baldwin, and Alasdair Macintyre, activating texts and messages through processes of recontextualization and close reading.
Tudor Bratu website
Willem de Haan
Willem de Haan (Apeldoorn, 1996) graduated from Bachelor Fine Art at ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in 2017. Ever since, he’s been working on immersive presentations for exhibition programs of Unfair (Amsterdam), Nieuwe Vide (Haarlem), Gouvernement (Ghent) and Stichting NDSM (Amsterdam) amongst others. He worked as a freelance curator for De Player (Rotterdam) and MAMA (Rotterdam) a.o. and was an artist in resident at ZK/U (Berlin), Hangar (Barcelona) and SAM (Saint Petersburg) a.o.. His work has been published in a.o. De Volkskrant, NRC, VICE and Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin.
In a lot of his artworks, de Haan tries to evoke a moment of absurdity, alienation and confusion. Those types of moments are exactly the ones that precede every good joke. They create an expectation of a clarifying punch line, but this expectation will never be redeemed. De Haan wants his artworks to function as a tribute to alienation, confusion and absurdity in daily life. And a good tribute does not explain its subject, it just strengthens it. Having a playful attitude towards a specific everyday location is one of the strategies he is using while creating the work. Every space or location that human enters, whether that’s a city square, white cube gallery or a family members house, is subject to a set of social, political and mental rules. A playful or humorous intervention offers the opportunity to undermine or even challenge those rules. By appropriating daily situations in an absurd manner, the object of the artwork gets alienated from its usual context: it’s no longer the (everyday) object that wasn’t noticeable and it’s no longer a situation that could have taken place anywhere. That exact same object suddenly seems to be made just for the one place it exists.
Willem de Haan website
For the occasion of commoning, SEA Foundation invited an artist-run curatorial project space The Balcony which is based in Den Haag to facilitate the Bratu’s and de Haan’s collaboration together with us. The Balcony is curated by Arthur Cordier (BE) & Valentino Russo (IT). Since 2018, The Balcony has been curating exhibitions in The Netherlands and abroad, collaborating with local and foreign artists and initiatives. The Balcony is a platform for conversation, research and knowledge on arts and visual culture, a space for curatorial and artistic experiments, which also welcomes independent curators.
Recently, The Balcony moved to a new location, which combines its original vitrine format with a project space and shared studios. The project fold #02 on Commons will be the first instance to take place in their new location, at the Nieuwe Molstraat 14-2.
The Balcony website