A while ago I met a somewhat quirky young artist who told me about his vast collection of collections.
Who gets it into his head to go around the Netherlands to browse collections of others to buy?
That would be Pet van de Luijtgaarden.
Pet had already been looking at his collections for a while when he decided to spice up part of it. He decided to invite other artists to each take home one of the collections and make something new out of it . Me and 19 others got involved in Pets Marktplaats (Pet’s Marketplace).
In January I visited Pet’s large studio in an old office building. His space was filled with big boxes, full of pins, Batman dolls, McDonalds toys, jewelry and so on, and so on. In one room he had even made an arrangement with all pinkish Barbie stuff, a big bright Mattel world…I barely could constrain the ten-year-old screaming girl inside me.
On the way home I had 40 pounds of sunglasses in the back of my car and a plan in my head to build a lamp out of it.
One month ago, the big news came: Pet was promised an exhibition in the Kunsthal. If, however, he would be able to get everything done within two weeks! And one week before, my home-built frame had collapsed!
I put up a big search for a frame through the lovely world of social media and miraculously, in between all the very helpful posts (among others there was tweep Nancy Kers who spend a whole day to try and help me find alternative materials), I received a message by Lisette Spapens, glass-artist: “You live nearby, right? I’m coming over right now!”
Lisette built me a beautiful frame of steel lead. It was her first experience with a 3D object! Many nightly hours later, hours of experimenting and building, there it was: my 30-pound lamp!
Last saturday the big day of the official opening had arrived: all of Pet’s collections were beautifully displayed and next to it were the creations of me and my 19 colleagues. So proud!
About the exhibition (from the website of the Kunsthal):
Pet is a visual artist who is fascinated by the absurdity of abundance when it comes to ‘stuff’. ‘Shops are getting larger and fuller, but what we need it all for?’ As a collector, Van de Luijtgaarden buys discarded collections of objects such as disposable lighters, frogs, GI Joe action dolls and Flippos (Pogs), all of which have been neatly arranged to create a cabinet of curiosities for the exhibition. It seems the absurdity of it ‘never being enough’ is irrevocable.
As a child, Pet van de Luijtgaarden collected beer bottles and postage stamps; later, when he was a student, it were books that he collected. Nowadays, as a visual artist, Van Luijtgaarden voraciously buys up private collections including caps, porcelain cats, pencil sharpeners, spectacles and milk bottle tops! He spends hours on the Dutch digital marketplace ‘Marktplaats’ and drives all over the Netherlands buying up collections that are often being sold as a last resort, for example in the event of financial difficulties, death, divorce or lack of space.
Sneak peek of Pet’s work:
A sign said:
Ellen Vesters (1979, Ulft)
Hanging lamp made with sunglasses
[With the cooperation of Lisette Spapens]
Ellen Vesters incorporated the glass of hundreds of sunglasses into her sculpture to, in her own words: “enhance the beauty of light, to color and reshape her.”
(unfortunately, because of all the backlight the reflections on the walls weren’t as dramatic as they were intended to be)
The other participating artists:
Fenny Faber – Els Petit – Choi Wong – Jacco de Jager – Roos van der Heiden – Ghita van Bergen – Sylvia Stolan – Eva Bullens – Tim van de Meer – Jessica de Kort – Malou Cohen – Sarah Gunti – Astrid Willems – Britt Dorenbosch – Erik Fusco – Robin de Wilde.