‘Things Could Be Better’ is a fantastic name for a fantastic exhibition. However, it only makes sense once you know a little bit about the artists and a little bit about where they are coming from. You could be forgiven for thinking that with this name it could be a depressing exhibition. In fact, it is quite the opposite. This exposé of work is a friendly ‘Fuck!’ that for some reason puts a delightful smile on your face. It celebrates fun, sexiness and eccentricity.
The Walls Gallery on Prinsengracht officially opened last Saturday. And what an opening it was. The wryly amusing installations by ROYALSTEEZ worked perfectly with the crazy but beautiful photography of Sander Dekker. DJs Kris Kross set a friendly and positive tone for friends, art enthusiasts and perspective buyers. Walking into the gallery, you are immediately encapsulated by the renowned crisp red light display, eloquently depicting the word ‘FUCK’.
Charming, amusing and pertinent. It was hard to pick a favourite piece from the works of the ex-graffiti writer ROYALSTEEZ. His piece de la resistance was a toss off between the paddling pool and the intentionally misspelled ‘Probleme de luxe’ light installation. I however preferred the flashing F/Art installation.
The LED lighted up the word ‘Art’ but an ‘F’ would flash on and off, thus displaying either ‘ART’ or ‘FART’. This was simple but effective. His video installation was a seemingly endless reel of a man, presumably himself, swearing out of the window as he drives through road after road. Ironically something so childish can be emphatic yet also inquisitively delightful.
The crazy cool photographer Sander Dekker was the other impressive artist whose established work was on display at the Walls Gallery that night. His work is exhilarating. Drawing on fifteen years in fashion, his images are loud, sexy and wild, and in some ways utopic as well as being affordable. In our interview he told me that he wants to sell his art at a price that he himself can afford. The pictures, as he said, are basically ‘of a perfect world. A world that doesn’t exist but everyone wants to be in’.
To me they celebrate the weird and wonderful things that might happen at the end of a great party. Sander’s happy-go-lucky and ‘Sunday Child’ charisma really drives and enables most of his work. Having spoken to some of his models at the opening, they all spoke very highly of him and said he was really fun to work with, especially after a glass or two of wine. His ethos is very genuine and creative. He hardly uses photoshop because he likes all things natural and he hardly plans any of his shoots.
‘I never have an idea in front of me. With the models, usually it is the first time I meet them when I’m doing the shoot. It’s just pure improvisation. That’s why I put on my website that I don’t consider myself a real photographer. It’s just cool situations that are created and I just take the pictures.’
What is great is that there is a story behind each photograph. One of his favourite pieces is the one of the colourfully painted Rolls Royce. This was the story behind it:
‘I was at an opening in London and I saw this Rolls Royce hand painted with flowers. I ran inside and asked ‘Who’s Rolls Royce is this? It turned out to be this old man’s with a great fluffy beard. He could have been my father. So I asked him to do a shoot with the car, and I used a beautiful girl from the party. It all happened very naturally. It was completely un-staged, totally random. ’
The car used to be owned by John Lennon. It actually made its own appearance for the gallery’s opening, coming all the way from London and being parked prominently at the front of the gallery. The car and its fun and eccentric owner caused quite a commotion adding to the fun and festive vibes.
Some of the other photos have some excellent and enthralling stories behind them as well. But if you want to find out about them then you’ll have to head down to the gallery and see for yourself. ‘Thing Could Be Better’ will put a smile on your face. The exhibition is on until the 8th of December.