Collector's Items No.2: ‘High Drama'

15 Oct 2010 – 28 Nov 2010

NL - Dutch Cultural Pop-Up Space in London

London, United Kingdom


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  • Nearest tubes: Oxford Circus and Goodge Street

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Works from the Collection of Hugo & Carla Brown


Hernan Bas, Marc Bijl, Norbert Bisky, Iris Van Dongen, Martin Eder, Aaron van Erp, Cyprien Gaillard, Anthony Goicolea, David Haines, Erik Van Lieshout, Joep van Lieshout (AVL), Alisa Margolis, Erwin Olaf, Hans Op de Beeck, Ronald Ophuis, Grayson Perry, Christian Schoeler, Maaike Schoorel, Anne Wenzel. The second exhibition in the ‘Collector's Items' series at NL-The Dutch Cultural Space in London timed to coincide with the annual London art fair season turns its attention to an important private collection. ‘High Drama' is an exhibition drawn from the collection of Hugo & Carla Brown that picks up the themes of melodrama, theatricality, the Gothic and self-conscious staginess in the work of some of the most exciting contemporary artists within this significant collection. Responding to the specific nature of the space, the exhibition explores such themes and some of their tangential discourses — such at the traditions of ‘the domestic' pioneered in Dutch painting- present within works in the collection. As will be seen, many of today's top artists, both emerging and established, have devoted substantial energy to readdressing these long unfashionable themes. It is also clear that each of the included artists takes these historical starting points in different directions: political, personal, conceptual or formal. The collection is not only significant for its comprehensiveness — works range from the Cobra movement through to some of today's top young artists- but also for its contexts. Given the sheer size of the collection, 'High Drama' is in no way an attempt to offer a thorough overview of the collection but rather a selective view picking up on certain themes and preoccupations that are notable within it; a snapshot of just one aspect of a sprawling collection. In effect, the collection has grown into something of a family affair. Hugo Brown's passion for contemporary art, first shared with his wife Carla and later with their children makes this one of those rare and notable collections that has a strongly personal history to it, making a relevant connection to some of the themes picked up in the exhibition. After all, the Netherlands was the birthplace of what we now understand as a ‘family household' and, indeed, the development of visual art is strongly bound up with this. The Brown's, like their predecessors in the sixteenth century, have brought art home.


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