Inspiration – Munch, the Caldic Collection and Beauty in Science

I recently visited the Kunsthal in Rotterdam to see the Edvard Munch exhibition. Whilst I’m not a big fan of all of his work, some of his pieces are stunning and his colour use really appeals to me. Did you know that he actually made a number of versions of the ‘Madonna’, each one differing slightly? Munch experimented with many techniques and this has given me some ideas to try out for myself.

The Munch exhibition ran until 20th February, so I was lucky enough to catch it on its last weekend.

Also at the Kunsthal (and still running) is an exhibition of Joop van Caldenborgh’s Caldic Collection of modern & contemporary art. The exhibition, called ‘I Promise to Love You’ after Tracey Emin’s red neon piece, runs until 15 May 2011. It contains some wonderful works and I really recommend you pay this a visit.

My favourites were Robert Zandvliet’s ‘Maannacht’, Renie Spoelstra’s ‘Recreatiegebied #58: Struik’, Maria Roosen’s ‘Breast Berries’, Robin Rhode’s ‘Kite’, Ai Weiwei’s ‘Oil Spills’, Carla Klein’s untitled piece, Ian Davenport’s ‘Poured Lines: Primer’… and many more.

I’ve never come across a collection that contains quite so many pieces that speak to me. I’ll be going back for a second look sometime between now and May and I urge you to do the same.

And if all this inspiration wasn’t enough, there’s an exhibition of scientific photographs and film just started at the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam (in conjunction with the Museum Boerhaave in Leiden) called ‘Schoonheid in de Wetenschap’ (‘Beauty in Science’). This looks to be right up my street, combining both art and science.

The challenge for the exhibition was to find out if beauty exists in scientific images. Of that I’ve no doubt. Having spent years looking down a microscope I can assure you it does.

In the last 2 years nearly a hundred scientists from a wide range of disciplines were approached to take part; from physisists and astronomers to chemists and geologists, from botanists and microbiologists to marine and cell biologists.

I’m looking forward to visiting Boijmans this weekend together with a fellow science and art lover.

Let the inspiration continue!

Dieuwke Swain
Fine Artist & Photographer


Indonesian Street Art -The City As A Canvas

Street art is a world wide phenomenon. Love it or hate it, it’s everywhere.

Most of the time we go about our business and don’t see what’s under our noses: little gems of colour, statements on society or politics, flashes of ego and plenty of humour – a lot of it’s overlooked by the average passerby. A real shame.

On my recent trip to Indonesia (which I could talk about for hours, but I’ll spare you), I spent a couple of days in Yogyakarta (Yogya for short), one of the more progressive and artistic cities in Java. In addition to the traditional batik art that the city is famous for, it’s large student population unsurprisingly contributes to the city’s vibrant creative culture.

On a stroll through the busy main streets and the quieter side streets you can find a wealth of street art if you keep your eyes open.

It’s interesting to compare the street art in Yogyakarta with that in Europe (Bristol and Amsterdam, for example). You can see some similarities in style, but naturally there are also different cultural influences.

Check out my new Street Art pages to see my favourites in Yogyakarta, Bristol and Rotterdam. I’ll be adding more pages soon: one on The London Policemen (the internationally acclaimed, Amsterdam-based duo) and one on the Crimes of Passion exhibition in Bristol.

Dieuwke Swain
Fine Artist & Photographer