Its hard to believe I’ve been here for 10 days already. Whoosh.
I had a fantastic Saturday night last night. I stayed in and painted the living room of this apartment. I cook all my meals here, it’s where I come and sit down after a long day walking or biking around, and I do a lot of reading out on the balcony or just watch the barges pass and listen to vespa scooters putting by. I’ve quickly grown to really enjoy this room, with its high 15ft ceilings, the Miss Blanche Virginia Cigarettes board, and awesome picture-frame windows that have special hinges so they can open completely like doors to let you out or just pop out at the top like mini-van backseat windows.
Bending the space in the room I was thinking about work by Amer Kobaslija, a hero of mine who was my professor for a drawing class Sophomore year. He has recently spent time in Japan painting the aftermath of Fukushima. (See).
I also took the idea on as a sort of challenge. Anna Schuleit, an incredible artist and MacArthur fellow came to visit a painting studio I was in last year. Her major critique of my work was that none of my paintings had any space in them besides one or two that had ‘abstract’ space. Ever since then, I have been pretty conscious of what she said and realized that she makes a great point. With drawing or painting you have the ability to create a world that does not exist in reality. Photographs have a monopoly on representing something mostly the way it looks in real life, so why not try to stretch the borders with art? I was finishing this up at around 3am…not quite sure if it’s done, but I think it is.
Today, Berend invited me along to go and see Feyenoord F.C., Rotterdam’s football club that plays in the premier Dutch league. I was the only person of 40,000 that didn’t know the lyrics to all the songs so I think I brought some bad mojo with me to the stadium. It was 1-1 at the half, but then at the start of the second, everything took a turn for the worse. A 17 year old Feyenoord defender in his career debut got a red card for an aggressive tackle in the box…1-2 on a penalty kick…then a couple minutes later a similar thing happened again…1-3. So then Feyenoord was two players down and the opposition but a fourth goal in. Tough day for Rotterdam football, but all the fans were die-hard. They saw the game to the end, singing “Feyenoord until death” (translated) through to the final whistle. (Experience)
Being in the mob was almost more fun than watching the football. You see plumes of smoke rising all over the stadium from all the cigarettes and cigars being smoked, you get wet from all the beer and rain trickling down from the ceiling, and are deafened by whistling thats directed at the referee and opposing players when the fans disagree with something that happens on the field. I was reminded of a time more than 15 years ago when my Dad took me to a Chelsea game and I was so overwhelmed by the rowdiness I just hid under my Dad’s seat. This time I could handle it though. Big thanks to Berend for inviting me out there! Generosity is a great thing.