Dear elves and party people,
Let’s get one thing out of the way before we start: the first one to mention Christmas will face court on charges of unwanted and boring repetition. We know it’s that time of the year. Thank you for your cooperation.
These months have felt like a rollercoaster, or better, a train ride. The Modeltrein Kerstfestijn, a collaboration with model railroading community Schiespoor, opened last Saturday in the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. Thankfully it has been drawing a lot of positive attention. The local news (Rijnmond) made an item about it, as well as the online magazine Trendbeheer. (Both articles are in Dutch only.) It will be open for both adults and children until January 5th, and anyone is very welcome to stay awhile and make their own train car or rubber duck and the like.
I have taken up two new hobbies recently: embroidery and speeding. The first needs little explanation. I’ve been embroidering texts and images comparable to the ones I write in my monthly notebooks. These are very delicate and will be sold at some future point though I feel hesitant to part with my babies.
The speeding (and running red lights) is necessary for my new fine art project. Fine art, get it? Fine art. I’m selling fines for the exact price of the fine. Payments can be made directly to traffic police. I also take commissions with any specified misdemeanor and at any location in the Netherlands, given it will not land me in jail. Last years fines have been exhibited at Neck of the Woods project space, though I fear this will be an ongoing project.
One of the reasons for my traffic fines’ magical multiplying is simply that I’m a man of the world now. I’ve been to loads of places and loads of times. About a month ago I was in France for a group exhibition in honor of Pierre Bayle, a philosopher from the seventeenth century who fled to Rotterdam because his beliefs didn’t quite please the French authorities at the time. I was Pierre Bel, and finally returned to my home town to see how it had changed. I spoke to the citizens, attended a colloquium, and most importantly I recorded everything I encountered. After five extraordinarily interesting days I left Earth forever.
In February though, I’ll be back. More north, in Friesland to be precise. I will reside at Kunsthuis Syb for six weeks in order to study the humorous side of art.
February will be an exciting month, as I also have an opening planned at the Van Gogh Museum the 20th. The exhibition ‘In the Picture’ focuses on the artists’ identity and everything about the creative self. Children will develop their own alter ego based on different props and charts, to eventually be captured in a series of diverse and yet similar photographs.
Lastly, with God’s tears ever pouring down on the Netherlands and leaving puddles of raindrops, one has to turn lemons into lemonade. I’m making smiling puddles of rain which will make the world a happier place.
We wish you a merry dinner and a happy dessert.
Maarten Bel en Gabot (writer of the newspaper)