Catching the aura of a former hiding place

What does a contemporary artist do with the vibrant past of a former hiding place on one of Amsterdam’s canals? Is it the aura, the uniqueness and authenticity of this place to be captured and can it be transformed into something new and relevant? Those questions live at the heart of the art project Aura: an exhibition and a series of events in the historic premises of Castrum Peregrini Foundation, where in WWII young German Jews survived in hiding. Since the war the time seems to stand still in this labyrinth of rooms and passages. A small part of the first generation lives there to date, in the middle of countless antique objects, books and pieces of art they produced and collected. In the coming years the house will be partly opened to the public.

To mark this transition Non-fiction’s Michiel van Iersel invited nine artists from different disciplines to choose a historic object, a story or a person as a point of departure and use it for a new artwork. The writings of pre-war German literary critic Walter Benjamin formed the basis for the project, and his signature is included in the show. The results of this ‘artistic recycling’ vary from installation art, ink drawings, photography and film to conceptual furniture, poems and a short contemporary radio play. The exhibition of works will start in the new project space of Castrum Peregrini, moving up the old staircase into the deserted apartment of a late inhabitant where the past is still perceptibly present.

In conjunction with the exhibtion a series of Aura-salons with guided tours, performances, statements and music will be hosted by Castrum Pegrini. Non-fiction’s Juha van ‘t Zelfde has invited the French composer and multi-instrumentalist Pierre Bastien and Dutch electro-acoustic musician Machinefabriek to perform during two consecutive Aura-salons. For more information on the Aura-salons, the exhibition and the official opening please visit: Castrum Peregrini website

Aura logoAura-exhibition
From 14 May until 21 June 2009
Wednesday through Sunday 13:00 – 18:00 hrs
Admission 5 Euro, 18 years and younger free

Castrum Peregrini
Herengracht 401
1017 BP Amsterdam

Participating artists
Amie Dicke (visual artist, NL)
Chris Kabel (designer, NL)
John Kleckner (visual artist, USA)
Susanne Kriemann (visual artist, D)
Jan Robert Leegte (visual artist, NL)
Alexandra Leykauf (visual artist, D)
Erik Lindner (poet, NL)
Renée van Marissing & Allerd van den Bremen (theater-makers, NL)
Henk van der Waal (poet, NL)

And original works from the collection by
Max Beckmann
Walter Benjamin
Gisèle d’Ailly van Waterschoot van der Gracht
Simon van Keulen

Official opening Aura-exhibition (free for all)
Thursday, 14 May, 18:00 – 21:00 hrs

Thursday, 28 May, 20:00 – 23:00 hrs
With contributions by Allerd van den Bremen, Machinefabriek, Erik Lindner, Renée van Marissing, Joachim Umlauf, Ton Venhoeven

Thursday, 11 June, 20:00 – 23:00 hrs
With contributions by Jan Baeke, Pierre Bastien, Theu Boermans, Dragan Klaic, Tracy Metz, Henk van der Waal

Finissage Aura-exhibition
Sunday, 21 juni, 14:00 – 20:00 hrs

Informal Aura-drink
Every friday 17:00 – 19:00 hrs

The Aura project is being made possible through the generous support of:
Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst
VSB Fonds
Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
Lira Fonds
Goethe Institut Amsterdam
Genootschap Nederland Duitsland

By Michiel — Posted May 1, 2009 — 2,704 Comments