Group exhibition with: Jean Charles de Quillacq, Ghislain Amar, Laura Toots,
Marthe Elise Stramrud, Laura Kuusk, Simon Kentgens
Curated by Mathijs van Geest
from 20th February to 4th of March 2013

In 1918, Dutch writer Louis Couperus wrote the book Brieven van den nutteloze toeschouwer, (“Letters by the useless spectator”). The bundle of letters, collected in this book, are written by a fictional journalist who moves to Munich to report on World War I. Through the first letters he describes his difficulties actually understanding the complexity of war. The war seems to have very little effect on the city as it appears normal and quiet. There is hardly anything to write about, until the journalist becomes aware of his close surroundings, the small things in life, his home, his street.
“What speaks to us, seemingly, is always the big event, the untoward, the extraordinary: the front-page splash, the banner headlines.” French writer George Perec states that these big events are what distract us from focusing on our own lives. Described as the ‘infra-ordinaire’, Perec writes about the act of looking, really looking. “What’s really going on, what we’re experiencing, the rest, all the rest, where is it?
How should we take account of, questions, describe what happens every day and recurs everyday: the banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the infra-ordinary, the background noise, the habitual?” Perec stimulates to question one's close surroundings. Question your house, question your street, and question your teaspoon. Together, Couperus and Perec want to overcome the eagerness towards the big events and attempt to focus on the act of looking itself. Poetry, which can exist by itself arrives by viewing and naming what we see. It is an active, personal relation with the world.
For the exhibition Letters by the useless spectator Mathijs van Geest invited six artists, friends, whose works are characterized by their poetic and playful response to the everyday. Through photography, performance, drawing and sculpture these artists ‘write’ about those parts of our surrounding that have become static but therefore exciting to break open again. From direct observations and reenactments to more abstract translations, this exhibition invites you to take part in the act of looking itself. There is the choice to get close-by and interact, or to stay at a distance and be silently curious.

____________________________ for exhibition images go to: Hobusepea