La Javanaise, 2012

La Javanaise, 2012

For La Javanaise the circularity of relations between a Dutch textile company, former colonies in the East Indies, and current African markets within globalized textile trading systems was one of the departure points. Van Oldenborgh was intrigued by recent advertising campaigns by Dutch Wax producer Vlisco.
La Javanaise features fashion model Sonja Wanda, who has regular commissions from Vlisco, as well as artist, writer and former model Charl Landvreugd and the writer and theorist David Dibosa. All three have their own relation to textiles, fashion and image production. Van Oldenborgh filmed them posing, moving through and exploring the multilayered spaces in the former Colonial Institute, now the Royal Institute for the Tropics, a large neo-Renaissance building in Amsterdam. We hear them pondering, storytelling and interacting with each other in different moods, while the camera crosses the spaces with and without them, picking up other stories on the way.

3 minute preview La Javanaise:

Wendelien van Oldenborgh, La Javanaise, 2012 – PREVIEW from Wilfried Lentz on Vimeo.

Wendelien van Oldenborgh often uses cinematography as a motif for staging dialogues between participants in a setting with historical significance, for instance the Mauritshuis in The Hague, or the Radio building in Kootwijk. The participants work with a scripts compiled from fragments of historical letters, essays or other references that the artist puts together beforehand, during her research. By this she constitutes a space in which ideas from the past are re-enacted in such a lively manner that the meaning enlightens contemporary public debates on issues like national identity, cultural exchange, colonialism and social responsibility. By creating a space of interaction between non-professional actors who speak (for example) the words of 17th century figures, historical voices are included in a contemporary field of social and political relations.
For La Javanaise in ‘Hollandaise’ the circularity of relations between a Dutch textile company, former colonies in the East Indies, and current African markets within globalized textile trading systems was one of the departure points. Van Oldenborgh was intrigued by recent advertising campaigns by Dutch Wax producer Vlisco. Originating from, and still based in Helmond, this company has been shipping its printed fabrics to Africa since 1876, where especially in West African countries handmade batik and its industrial version ‘Hollandaise’ became increasingly popular in the 19th and 20th centuries. La Javanaise was the nickname for the very first machine that industrially imitated Javanese batik for a Dutch Indies market. It was an adapted banknote printer.
Nowadays, due to cheaper labour costs in China and surrounding countries, imitation goods challenge the dominant position of Vlisco in Africa. The production of batik seems to be moving back to the Far East again, as an imitation of an imitation of the original. As a result, Vlisco has been repositioning its brand with advertisement campaigns claiming its authenticity by stating that Vlisco is ‘The True Original’.
In 2006 the company decided to become a leading fashion brand in Africa. Vlisco started to produce fashion fabric collections, which are more difficult to imitate, and sold them in Vlisco flagship stores in West African cities as well as to an African clientele in London, New York and The Netherlands. Every year four collections are accompanied by a commercial campaign on television, billboards, advertisements, and fashion events in African countries. The fashion shoots are done by a Dutch agency that employs international black models posing with Vlisco clothing and accessories.
La Javanaise features fashion model Sonja Wanda, who has regular commissions from Vlisco, as well as artist, writer and former model Charl Landvreugd and the writer and theorist David Dibosa. All three have their own relation to textiles, fashion and image production. Van Oldenborgh filmed them posing, moving through and exploring the multilayered spaces in the former Colonial Institute, now the Royal Institute for the Tropics, a large neo-Renaissance building in Amsterdam. We hear them pondering, storytelling and interacting with each other in different moods, while the camera crosses the spaces with and without them, picking up other stories on the way. In this way her film work addresses the inextricable link between imagination and authenticity, but also between colonialism and globalization, especially in the case of the production of Vlisco’s Wax Hollandaise and its relation to African imagery.

(source: newsletter SMBA, http://www.smba.nl/static/nl/tentoonstellingen/hollandaise/smba-newsletter-130.pdf)

La Javanaise, 2012
La Javanaise, 2012
two-channel HD video projection
production still (photography: Bárbara Wagner)
25 min. English spoken + subtitles
Ed. 3 + 1 A/P
La Javanaise, 2012
La Javanaise, 2012
two-channel HD video projection
25 min. English spoken + subtitles
custom made projection screens, semi transparent curtain and cubes for seats
Ed. 3 + 1 A/P
La Javanaise 2012
La Javanaise, 2012
two-channel HD video projection
25 min. English spoken + subtitles
custom made projection screens, semi transparent curtain and cubes for seats
Ed. 3 + 1 A/P