The Appel Arts Centre is the host of the Prix de Rome 2015, the oldest prize in The Netherlands for visual artists under 40 (let’s say the Dutch equivalent of the Turner Prize). The work of this year’s winner, Magali Reus, is exhibited on the ground floor.
In her practice, the London-based Dutch artist is interested in passive, familiar everyday objects such as fridges and street curbes that we normally don’t pay to much attention to.
Last year at Art Basel, Reus’s fascinating sculptures reminiscent of padlocks, caught my eye at the stand of The Approach. De Appel showcases Reus’s series of five enlarged padlocks hanging on the wall called ‘Leaves’.
Some of them are build out of colourful layers others recall jerrycans with a nozzle. The surfaces feature info and data relating to the calendar such as dates, months and weekdays that the viewer could interpret as anniversaries or milestones in our lives.
The data works intriguing but it’s hard to decode or decipher their actual meaning.
The titles of the works refer to a month. The list of materials is extensive. For instance, Leaves (Flint Levels, April): Milled and sprayed model board, phosphated aluminium tube, silicone rubber, pigments, powder coated, zinc plated, anodized and etched laser cut aluminium and steel, bolts. The finishing of the surfaces and moulds of all the sculptures are immaculately done.
In an interview with Andrew Bonacina of The Hepworth Wakefield, Reus explained her interest in making the relationship one has with an object which can be an emotive as well as physical set of exchanges. “The locks may offer a suggestion of secrecy and personalised emotional coding, but they are also perversely erotic in their overly machined and decorative skins. It is this conflation of a type of simplified, graphic image of the world set against more flamboyant latent narratives that I enjoy”.
Prix de Rome until 17 January 2016 at De Appel Arts Centre in Amsterdam