INSIGHTS | tegenboschvanvreden, winner of the DISCOVERY Prize 2019

Art Brussels wishes to support the younger scene, and has therefore instigated a prize since 2013, which is awarded yearly during the opening day to the gallery that has made the most original and engaging presentation in the fair in the DISCOVERY section.

The winners of the DISCOVERY Prize 2019 have been selected by the following jury members: Tessa Giblin (Director, Talbot Rice Gallery, The University of Edinburgh), Hans Ulrich Obrist (Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London / Senior Artistic Advisor, The Shed, New York), Hélène Vandenberghe (Director, Philippe Vandenberg Foundation, Brussels / Advisor, The Institute for Artists’ Estates, Berlin).

For the 37th edition, the jury decided to award two galleries in DISCOVERY: NOME, with a solo presentation by the duo artists Goldin+Senneby, and tegenboschvanvreden with Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen.

For the second part of our INSIGHTS focusing on the winner of the DISCOVERY Prize at Art Brussels 2019, we spoke with Pietje Tegenbosch and Martin van Vreden, the owners of tegenboschvanvreden who have been awarded for their presentation of Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen.

How was the experience for tegenboschvanvreden at Art Brussels?
Participation in Art Brussels again was a positive experience. The international focus of the fair was an opportunity to meet new collectors and curators. Expanding the network of the gallery is of course one of the main objectives of participation. Winning the prize was an amazing experience: we were really surprised by the impact. The reactions, also from other galleries, were extremely supportive. For the artists – who were present at the fair – it meant a lot of extra attention and interesting meetings with visitors.

What was the focus of your presentation at Art Brussels?
A constant throughout the multidisciplinary work of Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen is their fascination with human behaviour, the coded structures within it, the influence of time, place and socio-economic structures on human relationships, physiognomy and body language. Their work departs from the notion that people are essentially always playing a role. Sculptures almost become persons and function as performers in a both realistic and imaginary theatre of the commonplace. The gestures are based on observations in public spaces, like art fairs. Breure & Van Hulzen take on doing nothing as a state of being in which an idea can be born and something new can arise. “Mees” is sitting on the dishwasher, doing nothing. “Chris” leans against the wall with his headphones. Whether these time outs are just for a short time or a fundamental decision not to participate in the system is not immediately clear. These figures seem – after the famous example of Bartleby, the office clerk from a short story by Melville who one day when asked for the umpteenth job refuses, saying ‘I prefer not to’ – to step out of their role to seek the confrontation with themselves.

How did you discover Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen?
Sander Breure and Witte van Hulzen both live and work in Amsterdam. Breure graduated from the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague, and Van Hulzen obtained his degree from Artez in Arnhem. We first saw their work in the graduation show at Artez in Arnhem (NL), where Van Hulzen graduated with a video work made by them as a duo. They started their collaboration before, focussing on theatre, performance and video work. During his studies at the art academy Van Hulzen was a trainee at the theatre company of Jan Fabre. The work of Van Hulzen and Breure is based on research on the body language and its interpretation. When we first saw the work, we were attracted by their experimental and innovative approach to subjects related to the condition humaine.

What other current/upcoming projects by Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen are you excited about?
Winning the prize at Art Brussels is part of the positive flow of the work of Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen. At this moment there is a comprehensive solo presentation by Breure & Van Hulzen on view at Marres in Maastricht (until August 4), with the title ‘The Floor is Lava’. A book on this project will be presented at Marres. Just before Art Brussels it was announced that Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen are nominated for the Prix de Rome, the most important prize for contemporary art in Holland. The nominees will have a solo presentation in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam from October 19 onwards, during half a year.

Do you have any advice for young, aspiring art collectors?
The most important advice to young art collectors is to go and see as many shows as possible, to do research and collect information on artists they are interested in, and to buy art with their eyes and heart.

Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen, view of tegenboschvanvreden booth at Art Brussels 2019

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