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First encounters in art, nature, archaeology around the ENCI-area

The exhibition opens on Friday 1st of September at 6 pm, at the ‘ARCHIEF’/RHCL in Maastricht.

‘PIONEERS’ is a thematic exhibition that deals with the fascination for discovering, excavating and showing what is hidden. The notion of visibility is simultaneously used as a vehicle to make ‘the hidden’ tangible and perceptible. The exhibition takes place at the ‘ARCHIEF’/ ‘Regionaal Historisch Centrum Limburg’, in collaboration with the Province of Limburg (Ad Himmelreich, conservator) and Van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. ‘PIONEERS’ is curated by Krien Clevis.
Opening: Friday the 1st of September at 6 pm by governor Theo Bovens and Lex ter Braak, director Van Eyck. Opened during normal opening hours of the RHCL, free admission, until 3 November 2017
With: Kristina Benjocky, Krien Clevis, Jasper Coppes, Bart Lodewijks, Chaim van Luit, Astrid Mingels en Rod Summers.
In this special exhibition, works from artists are showcased who wandered or have been working in and around the plateaus of the ENCI-area. The show includes artists, who have generated independent projects in the past years, as well as artists who have discovered and mapped the complete area in the 1970s and 80s. The artists have worked literally and figuratively in ‘the hidden’; share a common interest in the sensation of discovering and digging to hidden places. By means of this, a location acquires a special meaning. These artists are the pioneers of the ENCI-area and the direct location of Mount St. Pieter and the Cannerberg; it is the first meeting between art, nature, archaeology and heritage. These are works that have not or have barely been shown to the public, or have become oblivious, sometimes even literally buried underground and been excavated like an archaeological treasure. The artists involved in this project are between 30 and 75 years old. They are or were (partly) connected to the Van Eyck Academy, which itself organised a related project titled ‘BERG EN BEELD’ in 1988. These aspects offer a historical perspective on the encounters between art, nature, archaeology in Maastricht and surroundings, and specifically in the ENCI-area. The exhibition in a parallel project to ‘TRANSITION ZONE’ and is organised in the context of the EAA-conference.

Rod Summers

Rod Summers (UK, 1943) came to study at the Jan van Eyck Academy Maastricht in 1973 and has remained in the Netherlands ever since. The reason for Summers’ stay in Maastricht was his work, beneath Cannerberg Hill. “From September 1969 until May 1973 I was W1943100 Corporal Summers in charge of the Medical Centre of NATO J.O.C. in the sandstone tunnels of the Cannerberg just outside Maastricht. It was certainly the most boring period of my 13 years’ service in the Royal Air Force. In 2.5 years I had just two patients. I had nothing to do except keep the Medical Centre clean and have a monthly check of medicines and equipment to see if anything had passed its expiry date. The positive aspect is that, during my tour of duty in the Cannerberg, I fell in love with the city of Maastricht and, as soon as my service contract was completed, I returned here and have been here ever since.”

Summers is a conceptual artist, sound artist and performance poet, but not necessarily in that order. For this exhibition, he wishes to return to this unexplored episode of his past. The installation, DESK & DUST, DARKNESS & DUTY, is a reflection on his sojourn in dusty darkness. “Sandstone on my face. Sandstone in my tea. Sandstone up my… Good Grief! Is that the time already?”


Jasper Coppes

Jasper Coppes: The Fox Legacy (2012), documentatie/documentation
Jasper Coppes: Flow Country (2017), film-still
Jasper Coppes (Netherlands, 1983) places the transformation of spaces at the heart of his work. He uses subtle interventions in that space to question the definition and function of both built environments and landscapes. Based on active field research, Coppes explores the material and immaterial conditions that shape these spaces. Frequently, this results in large-scale architectural installations, sculptures, films and texts.

In 2012, Coppes developed The Fox’s Legacy for the Jan van Eyck Academy, a work documenting the discovery of a sculptural archaeological find in the quarry operated by cement company ENCI. Coppes plans to use photographs and artefacts to stage (or restage) the excavation. In addition to this attempt at falsifying history – which is dedicated in part to the Japanese archaeologist and master forger Shinichi Fujimura – Coppes is also presenting the film Flow Country (2016). In the apocalyptic landscape of the film, the archaeologist – rather than observe the distant past – actively produces future historical layers.


Chaim van Luit

Chaim van Luit: Voyage Souterrain (2014), film-stills
Chaim van Luit (Netherlands, 1985) hunts for secret tunnels and hidden cave systems and documents everything in fine detail. His field work is his artwork. His film Voyage Souterrain (2014) traces his study of the underground cave systems in southern Limburg and Belgium, undertaken with historian Fabian de Kloe (1982). The film’s title is inspired by the book Voyage Souterrain, ou Description du Plateau de Saint-Pierre de Maestricht (1821), a study of St Pietersberg Hill by French naturalist Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent (1778-1846). Van Luit and De Kloe undertook their own exploration of St Pietersberg Hill and other places of natural interest in spring 2014. Their purpose was to experience the historical and geological layers of this region, including the gigantic chalk structures formed by the remains of prehistoric sea life and the far-flung network of tunnels that resulted from centuries of limestone quarrying. They also explored the many concrete and metal structures dotted around this labyrinth for industrial or military purposes. The emerging images provide a material and audio-visual impression of what were often laborious attempts to navigate, excavate and break through these historical and geological layers.


Bart Lodewijks

Bart Lodewijks: Strombeek Drawing (2015), Strombeek
Bart Lodewijks: Ieper Drawing, Geluweveld (2016)
Bart Lodewijks: Lixhe Drawing (2017), work-in-progress
Bart Lodewijks (Netherlands, 1972) uses chalk as his base material for his work, which consists of kilometre upon kilometre of chalk lines stretching across the world, on streets, walls, homes (sometimes inside), factories and abandoned sites with noteworthy histories. His chalk lines makes all sorts of stops. In his books, lectures, guided tours, essays, films and newspaper articles, he relates his encounters with local residents and how they make his drawings possible, his interactions with them, sympathy and trust, but also the mistrust and resistance roused by his drawings. The stories reveal what would have remained invisible without the chalk drawings. The artist sees drawing as a form of social action.

In the framework of the ‘PIONEERS’ project, Lodewijks would like to produce an work in situ in and around the ENCI plant buildings. His work relates to a floor drawing that he is creating in the ‘ARCHIVES’ project and a further link with the ‘TRANSITION ZONE’ project.


Krien Clevis

Krien Clevis: Passage (2015-2017), Duratrans Light Box, Aluminium, 126x162x26 cm.
Krien Clevis: Giudecca/ Ad Astra Volo (2015-2017), Duratrans Light Box, grenen hout en lood, 197x130x23 cm.
Krien Clevis: Giudecca, 3D-impressie/3D-impression
Krien Clevis (Netherlands, 1960) studies the notion and quality of ‘place’ and the way in which it is linked to such concepts as memory, transience and transition. She wants to know how places acquire meaning in the course of history owing to changes in time, space and social customs. Clevis photographs places that are in the midst of change; they are marked by new building layers, temporal and spatial aspects, that are constantly being reworked. They are lieux perdus, places of significance, many of which no longer exist. If they were not already places of significance, they become so because the photographer – as a maker – (re)creates them. What emerges is an intensified world that – although in a state of constant transition – seems to have been immobilised temporarily by a call for silence. Her practice calls for enormous patience. She observes, returns to the place and waits until the right moment arrives to be captured in her camera lens. She creates time documents, using a slow shutter speed to record the passing of observed time.

Clevis takes her Linhof technical camera beneath the limestone plateau and attempts to study and capture the layering and depth of the quarry and tunnels. Her work is about discovering and peeling off the layers of the place, and its marvels, which are seemingly lost once unlocked, yet appear solidified in the photograph, ultimately captured in a Duratrans light box.


Astrid Mingels

Astrid Mingels: Time Future Contained in Time Past (2014), video-stills
Astrid Mingels (Netherlands, 1987) is interested in the idea of ownership – for example in relation to time, in the triviality of certain objects and mass production. She was intrigued by this prehistoric flint hand axe because it incorporates a commonness while at the same time it is a very personal and specific object. This tool carries the shape of its owner’s hand; it refers to its utility and to its invisible user. Mingels had this prehistoric tool scanned by a 3D scanner and the video work Time Future Contained in Time Past (2014) shows this scanning process. Even though we reproduce endlessly, she believes that every object - copy or original - is its own entity and will live through time. This object from the past contains the future while the object from the future contains the past.


Kristina Benjocki

Kristina Benjocki: Sedimentation of Memory (2017), close-up
Kristina Benjocki: Sedimentation of Memory (2017), installation detail
Kristina Benjocki: Sedimentation of Memory (2017), detail
The research driven practice of Kristina Benjocki (Yugoslavia, 1984) focuses on the investigation of post-socialist historical and cultural revisionism, seen as a political mechanism of forgetting and remembering in the context of former east and west. Kristina recently completed a two-year research fellowship at the Van Eyck Academy in Maastricht, where in 2015 she started her long-term investigation of Cannerberg, a cavernous hill on the border between the Netherlands and Belgium. Her research project includes a series of works, and will be concluded with a film essay and book,