Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Beauty and the Right to the Ugly, 2014

Beauty and the Right to the Ugly, 2014

Beauty and the Right to the Ugly has three chapters, referring to the three statements with which the history of Het Karregat could be sketched. The first chapter, ‘Open Architecture for an Open Society / the government embarks on experiments’ refers to the fact that it was the city government which initiated the experiment of ‘Open Architecture’. The question remains why and how these authorities were interested in propagating the idea of an open society. The second chapter: ‘Experiments don’t need to succeed, they just need to exist’ offers some possible insights into those questions. And the last chapter: ‘Normalization makes everything safe again’ focusses on how today’s situation shows that all the alternative attitudes have been co-opted into the neo-liberal system by processes of normalization. All material was filmed in a series of shoots with the participation of many people who have lived with and around the experiment. The building is a materialization of the time that passed since the 70’s.

This work explores the seemingly opposing nature of the ideals from the 70’s in relation to the current climate. However, it exposes that the contrary may be also true. The visible differences can also be interpreted as the logical workings of a well functioning capitalist discourse, which was already set into operation in the 60’s.

Half-way between directing the participants, and letting them take the lead, the work functions also as a performative enactment of the issues it addresses. It will thus be a continuation of the artist’s interest on filmmaking as a performative device and of her ongoing engagement in discussions on collectiveness, its intersection with the private and the role cultural production plays in this.

Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Beauty and the Right to the Ugly, 2014
Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Beauty and the Right to the Ugly, 2014
Stills from the film (55 min.)
Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Beauty and the Right to the Ugly, 2014
Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Beauty and the Right to the Ugly, 2014
Metal structure with acoustic panels, three screens and display tables for borrowed works by Constant Nieuwenhuis. Installation view van Abbemuseum, photography by Peter Cox
Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Beauty and the Right to the Ugly, 2014
Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Beauty and the Right to the Ugly, 2014
Metal structure with acoustic panels, three screens and display tables for borrowed works by Constant Nieuwenhuis. Installation view van Abbemuseum, photography by Peter Cox