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Hans op de Beeck, Michael Krebber, Stijn Peeters, Julião Sarmento, Fernando Sanchez Castillo, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Jean Luc Vilmouth have been scouting and introduce 15 talented young artists from art school in Europe and the USA.

The fifteen scouts, including Karin Sander from Germany, Hans Op de Beeck from Belgium, Karin Arink from the Netherlands and Julião Sarmento from Portugal, were asked to present an artist who really adds something to the contemporary art world, not only now but in the future as well, say the next 500 years in following Jheronimus Bosch. The use of established names to focus on new ones is smart and certainly fits the spirit of time. We see a similar format with the master-apprentice arrangement (meester-gezelregeling) at the Mondrian Foundation for example. This, to stimulate the transfer of knowledge and experience. As for the artists presented at BYTS, they all seem to have found their own way already.

What becomes clear after a while is that all scouts have chosen someone who more or less works the same way as they do. That is not to say that they are just a younger version of the scout, but they use the same sort of language and often the same media. Karin Sander and Sophia Pompéry for example, both zoom in on aspects of daily life and play with the way we look at things or people in using different media. Stijn Peeters and Marthe Zink are for one thing both excellent draughtsmen, and Karin Arink and Inge Aanstoot share the interest in the inner-self of people. But as for the exhibition, it’s all about the young artists. No explanation for the selected artist is given. As a visitor you get all the space to experience the works by yourself, to interpret and to figure out why this artist is selected.

Sophia Pompéry’s work Plopp, Plopp is a bathtub filled with some sort of liquid. The liquid is quiet. But occasionally it bubbles, audible bubbles are coming upwards. And then the liquid is quiet again, no wrinkles, nothing. The video-installation looks so real that you want to touch the liquid. Your eyes say these are normal bubbles and your mind knows it’s impossible. In a very subtle way Sophia Pompéry exposes reality in a different way than we used to. Only a tiny adjustment can be enough.

The video installation of 2012-2555 Korakrit Arunanondchai, chosen by Rirkrit Tiravanija, attracts attention. It is reminiscent of the film Enter the Void. Not so much in terms of content but in terms of intensity and bizarreness. A piece that sticks to your mind and that you will not easily forget. It’s about life and death and what comes after death. The contrast between the artificiality of life and nature is a central theme. On the one hand someone with a bright blue wig who’s playing on a keyboard, on the other hand a quietly sliding turtle. All sorts of contrasts are coming along. Old, young, life, dead, reality, fiction. It looks like a bizarre dream world full of unusual associations, but in the end it just shows the world we are living and how we deal with that.’

To answer the question if BYTS succeeded in becoming a very special talent show, one can answer ‘yes’. But if it’s the mother of talent shows? I’m not sure. The exhibition presents a promising selection of young international artists in a pleasant museum environment, but it could have been rougher around the edges. 

Berlijn: Karin Sander
Brugge: Robert Devriendt
Brussel: Hans op de Beeck
Frankfurt: Michael Krebber
Gent: Jan van Imschoot
’s-Hertogenbosch: Stijn Peeters
Lissabon: Julião Sarmento
Londen: Ben Johnson
Madrid: Fernando Sanchez Castillo
New Haven: William Villalongo
New York: Rirkrit Tiravanija
Parijs: Jean Luc Vilmouth
Rotterdam: Karin Arink
Venetië: Elisabetta di Maggio
Wenen: Werner Reiterer

Berlijn: Sophia Pompéry
Brugge: Kelly Schacht
Brussel: Alice De Mont
Frankfurt: Sam Siwe
Gent: Stephanie Maeseele
Utrecht: Marthe Zink
Lissabon: Nuno da Luz
Londen: Alex Ball
Madrid: Marco Godoy
New Haven: Meena Hasan
New York: Korakrit Arunondchai
Parijs: Nøne Futbol Club
Rotterdam: Inge Aanstoot
Venetië: Fabio De Meo
Wenen: Marlene Hausegger

Stedelijk Museum ‘s Hertogenbosch
21 september – 27 oktober

Pam Roos ten Barge

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