Willem de Rooij

Willem de Rooij

Kunstverein München e.V.

Willem de Rooij, “Vertigo’s Doll,” 2010.
Courtesy Galerie Buchholz Cologne/Berlin.*

February 16, 2012

Willem de Rooij

19 February–15 April 2012

Galeriestraße 4
80539 Munich


The basic texture of woven fabric is produced by the repeated intersection of threads which run in two different directions. Dutch artist Willem de Rooij (*1969) has taken this structural polarity as a starting point for an investigation of abstract concepts such as opposition, contrast, transition, and nuance. In his solo exhibition Untilted at the Kunstverein Munich, he shows a small number of monumental hand-woven tapestries. Explored in these works is a range of variations: a gradual transition from silver to gold (‘Vertigo’s Doll’, 2010) or a slow evolution from one quality of black into another (‘Black to Black’, 2011). On closer inspection, a pink monochrome is revealed as the product of ten different shades of pink (‘Mechanize her Jenny’, 2011).

Since 2009, these weavings have appeared in various constellations and contexts in De Rooij’s multidisciplinary production, only now do they appear for the first time as a coherent body of work at a European institution. Especially for this occasion, the Kunstverein Munich has co-produced two new weavings, including a large-scale work that cites elements which appear in earlier weavings, thereby suggesting the experimental and retrospective character of this exhibition.

This focus on a single medium can be seen as exceptional within De Rooij’s extensive record of international exhibitions, publications, and academic activities. His work is known for establishing visual correlations between film, photography, sculpture, anthropological and art-historical research, fashion, and less conventional means of expression such as flower bouquets. Within this visual web, THE weavings play a specific role in close proximity to the other works. Still, the temporary isolation of this particular medium allows us to experience one possible outpost of De Rooij’s critical artistic position within contemporary image production.

De Rooij’s work investigates the contexts through which we receive, perceive, produce, and value today’s visual productions—including works of art. An examination of the role of the object within this cultural field of play seems especially relevant when our understanding of ‘value’ and ‘meaning’ in relation to image production today is increasingly guided by external factors: by cultural or historical references or by the artist’s interests. The production and display of the weavings shown at the Kunstverein Munich permit a host of cultural and aesthetic associations to arise, yet without confining themselves to any in particular. Instead, they display their basic materiality and the polarity, which this materiality entails. Stripped now of what De Rooij refers to as ‘referential terror,’ these objects are perceived directly, on a purely visual basis.

Willem de Rooij (*1969) studied at Gerrit Rietveld Academie (1990–95) and Rijksakademie (1997–98) in Amsterdam. He has been a tutor at De Ateliers in Amsterdam since 2002, and a professor of Fine Arts at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main since 2006. De Rooij received the Robert E. Fulton Fellowship at Harvard University in 2004 and represented the Netherlands at the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005 together with Jeroen de Rijke. Recent exhibitions include “Crazy Repelled Firelight”, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York and “September 11″, PS1/MOMA, New York (2011), “Intolerance”, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; “Slit or Gloved”, Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Köln (2010), “Birds”, Cubitt Gallery, London; 2. Biennale of Athens (2009). Among other collections, his works can be found in the Nationalgalerie in Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, at the MUMOK in Vienna, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and at MoMA in New York.

*Image above:
Willem de Rooij, “Vertigo’s Doll,” 2010. Tapestry, unbleached linen warp, using 10 different fills, each fill a different mixture of silver- and gold coloured metal threads, on wooden stretcher 135 x 430 x 5 cm. Courtesy Galerie Buchholz Cologne/Berlin.

Willem de Rooij at Kunstverein Munich
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February 16, 2012

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