[by Marjolein] The location where to find incredible art is not always an obvious one. AkzoNobel, the international corporation we associate with paints, coatings and chemicals, turns out to be quite the art loving company. The art collecting started back in 1996 via the AkzoNobel Art Foundation and now – fast forward 20 years – the AkzoNobel Art Space Amsterdam is open to all of us.
I recently attended a glamorous fashion show by Syrian couturier Achmed Oso of Oso Couture, my first visit to the Art Space. Then the focus was on the catwalk where mannequins Marvy Rieder, Jessica Gyasi and their long-legged colleagues showed us the most beautiful dresses. This inspirational environment triggers my curiosity, time to go back for the arts!
AkzoNobel Art Space
When I enter the AkzoNobel head office on the Zuidas in Amsterdam, Charlotte Rommerts – curator of the AkzoNobel Art Foundation – greets me. It is immediately obvious: the entire ground floor breaths contemporary Art (capital intended). I can barely keep my eyes on the coffee offered. I see (and hear) all kinds of exciting pieces. Not just on the walls and in cabinets, but on the floor as well. Charlotte tells me the dynamic open AkzoNobel Art Space is designed by Tom Postma Design (known from work for Art Basel and TEFAF). The walls can be adjusted, depending on the exhibition.
We walk around the white basic space and are drawn into a ‘darker’ room. Filled with works from Rietveld graduate Elspeth Diederix. Underwater landscapes, flower photography and more. We sit down on a comfy couch to take it all in.
Then on to the rest: I notice a molten gold work by Sarah van Sonsbeeck (we at CF HQ are huge fans of Sarah’s work) on the floor. Above it hangs a stunning photo (see featuring image, shown with Oso Couture golden coat) by Isaac Julian. This 2016 work ‘Stones Against Diamonds’ – my favorite – depicts a simple lump of ice held in a pair of gold gloved hands. The ice is depicted as if it were a huge diamond. A reminder of the preciousness and vulnerability of nature.
Gijs Frieling’s Wall
There’s just too much to mention. OK, one more. The mural ‘Common Background’ by Gijs Frieling (1966). Especially commissioned by the AkzoNobel Art Foundation. The time-lapse shows Frieling & family & friends working on the completion, done in just a couple of days. The details are amazing. This brings us to the theme of this exhibition: Common Ground.
Hester Alberdingk Thijm, director and founding mother of the AkzoNobel Art Foundation, thinks it important that not just established artists (Damien Hirst, to mention one) are on display. Therefore they also make space for young and freshly discovered artists.
“Art celebrates diversity yet instinctively creates Common Ground”.
__Hester Alberdingk Thijm
That is how it feels here, with a load of different art and art forms, from all over the world. Art seen by employees and visitors plus art loving locals alike. It all mingles, just like a pot of white paint that gets a shot of color to become one. A visit to the AkzoNobel Art Space is free of charge. Open from Monday to Friday from 10 AM till 5 PM and also by appointment. How’s that for an inspirational lunch break in Amsterdam’s office skyscrapers district?
AkzoNobel Art Space
more info click here
timelapse Common Background by Studio Gerrit Schreurs