AboutArnolfini presents the first UK solo gallery exhibition of groundbreaking Dutch artist Willem de Rooij this autumn. The show will feature a politically-charged photographic work and a new installation that explores themes of individuality, protest and how single objects can carry multiple layers of meaning.
For his exhibition at Arnolfini, de Rooij presents Index: Riots, Protest, Mourning and Commemoration (as represented in newspapers, January 2000- July 2002). The acclaimed work consists of 18 large panels that display a selection of visually-arresting photographs, cut from newspapers and magazines that depict political struggles around the world. The work, beyond creating a poignant montage of human suffering, protest and power, explores the mechanics of representation: how are people presented in protest? how do they present themselves in front of a camera or observer? how are images selected for global distribution in news media?
Also featured in the exhibition will be a new version of de Rooij's Bouquet V. The piece is composed of 95 different flowers, loosely arranged in a spherical shape and placed in a cylindrical vase in the centre of the gallery. Although, on one level, the bouquet invites the pleasure of immediate sensory experience, the careful selection and grouping of individual blooms also suggests a comment on diversity and the tension between the individual and the collective.
The artist continually explores the idea of a âshared authorship' in his artwork. His installations often include the work of other artists, florists, photographers and use artefacts from anthropological collections that create new layers of meaning when placed together encouraging the viewer to begin to see the pieces as an exploration of individuality within a wider system whether that system is one of protest, oppression, hierarchy, or a system of human behaviour.