Of emperor Nero dressed in green
it is said
that he watched the chariot races
through an emerald
to protect his eyes
against the sun.
Of medieval scribes centuries later
it is said
that they rested their eyes
from copying their manuscripts
by staring at an emerald.
Childhood, love and money features works by the historical conceptual artist Ulises Carrión, curator and writer Christina Li, and artists Martin La Roche and Vincent Verhoef. The exhibition’s title draws upon associations with the colour green. Over the centuries the colour green has been linked to various transient aspects of life: childhood, love, hope, luck, play, chance and money. Historically greens remained chemically unstable, in painting, in dyes and in meanings. While the colours would gradually lose their vibrancy, our associations with them would undergo a transformation. This unstable nature of the colour green might provide a loose and flexible framework to think about the works presented in the show.
Vincent Verhoef, co-organizer of Amsterdam art space rongwrong, received a carte-blanche to create a presentation in which his own practice formed the starting point to invite others. This exhibition is a continuation of a series of collaborative projects that took place in the former P/////AKTPOOL from March 2022 through April 2023. As a celebration of initiative-initiated exhibitions – a celebration of the initiative, of its dedicated organizers and of the many talented artists that they (re)present and care for – this next episode is focusing on the artist as an artist and organizer.
*Parts of the text are inspired by Green: The History of a Color by Michel Pastoureau
Ulises Carrión (1941, San Andrés Tuxtla, Mexico – 1989, Amsterdam) was an artist, editor, curator, and theorist of the post-1960s international artistic avant-garde. He studied philosophy and literature in Mexico City, Paris and Leeds, and lived in Amsterdam from 1970 until the end of his life. Carrión was the author of several books and in 1975 founded Other Books and So, a distribution centre for artists’ publications and multiples. Carrión arrived at visual art practice through his interest in print culture and media, which led him to engage with mail art and eventually performance, film and video. He was closely involved with the In-Out Center, an alternative Amsterdam gallery which drew artists of diverse cultural backgrounds, whose work in some way commented on Dutch art and society from their own cultural perspective. The continuation of his engagement with literary formats can be seen in the videos’ examinations of the strategies and devices used to create narrative structure in a film, story or artwork.
Christina Li is a curator and writer who lives and works in Amsterdam. She has taken up numerous curatorial roles at Para Site in Hong Kong (2005—2008), SKOR in Amsterdam (2009—2010), basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht (2010—2011) and as director of Spring Workshop in Hong Kong (2015—2017). She has presented exhibitions in Europe and Asia, including the Pavilion of Finland at the 59th Venice Biennale, Hong Kong’s presentation at the 58th Venice Biennale, Lafayette Anticipations in Paris, Tai Kwun Contemporary in Hong Kong, Z33 in Hasselt, and most recently the second edition of Ghost—a triennial video and performance art series in Bangkok. Li’s writing appears in Artforum, Art Review Asia, LEAP, Parkett, Spike, and Yishu Journal of Contemporary Art among others.
Martin La Roche
Martin La Roche (Santiago Chile, 1988) earned a BA in Visual Arts at the University of Chile, Santiago in 2013. In 2015, he completed a postgraduate program at the Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Since then, he has lived and worked in Amsterdam. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at MAVI (Museum of Visual Arts, Santiago de Chile); Manifold Books (Amsterdam, The Netherlands); Miriam gallery (Brooklyn, New York); Die Ecke Arte Contemporaneo (Santiago de Chile / Barcelona, Catalunya); a.o.; and in group exhibitions in Colombia, Germany, Serbia, Switzerland, Japan, China, a.o.
Vincent Verhoef (Netherlands, 1982) is an artist and art historian who lives and works in Amsterdam. He graduated from the University of Amsterdam, the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the Jan van Eyck Academy. Verhoef’s work has been shown a.o. at Josilda da Conceição Gallery, Akinci Gallery, Fons Welters Gallery, puntWG and Bradwolff Projects in Amsterdam and at The Breeder and Hot Wheels Projects Gallery in Athens. He filmed himself cleaning the terrace of his former home in Athens and dedicated a neon light to a Roman emperor known as Julian the Apostate. He still reads Michel Foucault because the end of modernity never quite seems to happen. Since 2012 he has been involved with artspace rongwrong in Amsterdam.