The collective exhibition TRADITIONS showcasing Stephan Bontje, Jacco Bunt and Nazif Lopulissa is the result of an artistic dialogue between the three Dutch artists on how images, forms and symbols constitute our cultural and individual identity. TRADITIONS raises the question of how these culturally shaped and formative sign systems overlap and stimulate each other across national borders.
Jacco Bunt shows current works, emerging from his research on iconology of mythological stories. By contrasting different mythologies, he wants to explore the most prevailing imagery. He focuses mainly on non-European stories and iconography, where imagery from the mythology and history of Europe seems to vanish in contemporary visual landscapes. In preparation for this exhibition, Bunt travelled to southern Spain, to research how a mix of Islamic and Christian religion, folklore and culture have shaped the local imagery. Gaining a comparative perspective on that matter, his interests further developed into a deeper study of differing iconologies of two cultures that despite a turbulent history are close to each other. This visual investigation into patterns, use of color, figuration, decoration and stories that this research convey, forms the basis of Jacco Bunts new work.
The works of Nazif Lopulissa (Nasbami) illustrate the artist’s astute awareness of his immediate surroundings, and his desire to improve them. Questioning who and what defines this environment, and how both the artist and others deal with the world around them, Nasbami converts his reflections into dynamic and colorful wall-based and sculptural works. In his new series he reflects on the contested urban environments of our contemporary cities by using materials and shapes that highlight the contrast between their shapes, materiality and function.
Stephan Bontje is fascinated by the role of religion in contemporary capitalism. It is the transformation of mainly religious and mythological iconology in relation to the past where Bontje bases his research. The artist questions which visual elements have survived that transformation and are present in our collective memory and visual language and what this actually means to us today. With his paintings and sculptures Bontje extracts new forms from collective memory, and explores whether existing forms of iconology can be used differently. By combining different objects, both artistic and useful objects, meanings and rituals, he explores if it is possible to come up with new visual languages for contemporary rituals and religions.