The Story of the Stone is an international group exhibition presenting new and existing works by Zarouhie Abdalian (US), Helen Dowling (UK), Nickel van Duijvenboden (NL), Judith Hopf (DE), Ian Kiaer (UK) and Jason Loebs (US).
Supported by Gemeente Rotterdam and Stichting Stokroos.
Curator: Suzanne Wallinga
The exhibition’s title refers to one of the most important novels in Chinese literature. In the book, the story of a rich family history is told by the account of an intelligent stone. The exhibition brings together a selection of artists whose works relate to a renewed understanding of the relationship with our surroundings. We turn to the existing hierarchy between man and object. How does our perception of materials influence the meaning that is associated with a particular material? Do culturally determined expectations influence our understanding of the world? The Story of the Stone conveys that typically considered “dead” materials, rather, seem to be full of life.
Zarouhie Abdalian’s (US) installations and sculptures evoke a direct relationship with the specific characteristics of a place. Stemming from research of the history and physical elements of a space, Abdalian focuses on the dynamics between viewers and a place to arrive at subtle, yet clear interventions that transform the experience of the space in question. For her newest work, Helen Dowling (UK) traveled to La Gomera, a Spanish colony off the coast of Africa. She researched the “spoken” language Silbo Gomera there. This rare, pre-linguistic language inspired Dowling to make a video, in which she connects rhythm and ritual to principles of perception and evolution. Writing acts as a process of self-awareness for Nickel van Duijvenboden (NL). He writes about perception in all its aspects, particularly about absence, silence, landscape, alienation and trauma. Van Duijvenboden has written approximately 175 letters that will be presented as a continuously developing archive in which there exists an ongoing tension between the individual words, the letters, and the archive as a whole. Judith Hopf (DE) explores the way in which we are shaped by our social environment in her performances, installations and videos. Her work encourages the viewer to engage psychologically in relation to object and meaning. Ian Kiaer’s (UK) practice deals with theoretical ideas about human interaction and natural and technological surroundings. He uses these theories as a departure point to make poetic sculptures that simultaneously function as conceptual models. For The Story of the Stone, Kiaer developed a new work in which the Surrealist – and later anti-Surrealist – artist Wolfgang Paalen acts as an important protagonist. Jason Loebs (US) connects the deconstruction of industrial materials to thinking about consumerism and the passage of time. Loebs shows works that are comprised of plastic mats that usually function as under floor heating. Heat itself becomes sculptural material by placing the mats distinctively within the space, whilst simultaneously flowing through the monumental stone floor of the bathhouse.