Rob Johannesma









Rob Johannesma is interested in images or, more specifically, the symbolic potential of images and the way this potential vacillates between historic and artistic spheres. During the last few years, Johannesma developed a complex methodology of collecting images, newspaper pages, footage and contrasting photographic icons and tropes from the global media. Each image, when juxtaposed with others and comparatively analysed, provokes a concentrated re-reading or double take. Within the glut of visual material one is exposed to each day, the offering of alternate image banks (as Johannesma does) ultimately transforms one’s understanding of the roles of repetition, accumulation, and framing in the making and breaking of worldviews.

One of the best-known rally cries of the 1968 student uprisings in Paris was ‘Sous les pavés, la plage!’ (Under the pavement, the beach!). This statement heralded an understanding of history and the state as conditional, malleable, transient. And indeed, much of the coverage of contemporary demonstrations—such as those against globalisation and the financial collapse, the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement—by social media and the press implies a fleeting  temporality.

It is this tension between the desire for radical change and the seeming intransigence of certain institutions that led artist Johannesma to create Spots of Time (2013). The work is a multichannel digital slide show that presents a compilation of newspaper pages and photographs from 2008 to the present that capture this phenomenon. As re-photographed by the artist multiple times and transferred to a different medium, each image guides our view beyond its immediate take as news to a more abstract reading of information. Although the language of the archive might seem incompatible with the spectacular nature of revolutions, Johannesma uses his role as an artist who understands and appreciates the complexities of image-making to create a compendium of the architecture, the objects, and the issues of freedom and citizenship embroiled in such occurrences. His conservation of moments of these ongoing struggles stands as an example of what playwright Bertolt Brecht called ermattungstaktik(‘tactics of attrition’), and the creative efforts of imagination and dedication, through which, however short the duration, the challenges of this world will eventually give way.

Text by Clare Butcher

2009- 2010
Wiels, Brussels, BE

The American Academie/KNIR, Rome, IT

Villa Concordia, Bamberg, DE

De Ateliers, Amsterdam, NL

Cooper Union, New York City, NY

Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, NL

Videopresentatie #2: Rob Johannesma, Nieuwe Vide, Haarlem, NL

World-Wielding, ar/ge kunst Galerie Museum, Bolzano, IT
World-Wielding, Marino Marini Museum, Florence, IT

Present Future, Rob Johannesma & Roma Publications, Artissima, Turin, IT
Cinnabar, Het Torentje, Almelo, NL

Probability Space, Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam
Probability Space, Bis71, Geleen, NL

Uitval uit ten, De Vleeshal, Middelburg, NL

Parallelle Bibliotheek, University of Amsterdam, Oude Turfmarkt, Amsterdam, NL
Rob Johannesma, Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam, NL

Rob Johannesma, Galerie Zürcher, Paris, FR 
Rob Johannesma, Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam, NL

Kunstbunker, Forum für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Nuremberg, DE
Kamm Galerie, Berlin, DE
Flatland Gallery, Utrecht, NL
De Hallen, Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem, NL
Rob Johannesma, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, NL

Rob Johannesma,Kunstvereniging Diepenheim, Diepenheim, NL
Rob Johannesma, inkijk #3, SKOR (Stichting Kunst en Openbare Ruimte), Amsterdam, NL

Team Gallery, New York 

Rob Johannesma, De Ateliers, Amsterdam

The 13th Istanbul Biennial “Mom, am I Barbarian?”, Istanbul, TR
Abstract Myths, Nest, Den Haag, NL

Autumn of modernism II - Temporary Gallery, Cologne, DE
Differenza e Ripetizione, Galleria Lia Rumma, Naples, IT
'Herfsttij van het modernisme', De Vleeshal, Middelburg, NL
Provisional Space, Roma Publications, Castillo/Corrales, Paris, FR
Obiettivi Obiettività, Rome, IT

The Materialized Memory, Depo, Istanbul, Turkey, TR
The Materialized Memory, Total Museum, Seoul, Korea, KR

Sneeuw is wit, Fotodok, Utrecht, NL
Monumentalisme. Geschiedenis en nationale identiteit in hedendaagse kunst, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL 
Capturing Metamorphosis,Heritage Lab/Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam, NL
Screening video Starlings Black Clouds in la grande Bouffe by Johan Simons en toneelgroep Amsterdam, NL

Remain in Nature, Galerie LUMC, Leiden, NL
Sea Art festival, Biennal Busan, Korea, KR

Satelitte Station, W139/Tijdelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam, NL
Glocal Affairs, Timmerfabriek, Maastricht, NL

Contour.Continuiteit, Museum Het Prinsenhof, Delft, NL

3500 cm2 Art By Way of a Poster, The American Academy, Rome, IT
Zo ziet het paradijs eruit, De Hallen, Haarlem, NL
3500cm2, The Blue Room, Rome, IT

Some Trees, Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Dresden, DE
“Exile or Aim?”, MedFilm Festival laboratory 2005 - XI edition, Rome, IT
Loop, Angelo Mai, Rome, IT
De Natura, Abbaye Saint-André, Centre d’art de Meymac, Meymac, FR
Slow-art, Kunst Palast Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, DE
The Art is where the Heart is, Paraplufabriek, Nijmegen, NL

Cultivating Nature, The César Manrique Foundation, Lanzarote, ES
Surfacing - Contemporary art from Holland, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, HU 
Over zee, land en gezicht - Nederlandse videokunst van nu, Museum het Valkhof, Nijmegen, NL

Pro Arte Institute. St. Petersburg 
Contour, St. Rombouts Cathedral, Mechelen, BE
Post-Nature, Nine Dutch Artists, Tommie Othake Institute, São Paulo, BR
Far Away Too Close, Tour Fromage, Aosta, IT

Nuit Blanche, Galerie Zürcher, Paris, FR 
Early Works, De Ateliers, Amsterdam, NL 
Moving Landscapes, Sala Uno, Rome, IT

Post-Nature, Nine Dutch Artists, Palazzo Ca’ Zenobio, Venice Biënnale, Venice, IT
Wild Gliders, Aschenbach/Hofland Galerie, Amsterdam, NL 
Eddy D, Carlos Amorales, Rob Johannesma, Montevideo/Time Based Art, Amsterdam, NL
The People’s Art/A Arte do Povo, Witte de With, Rotterdam; Central Eléctrica do Freixo, Oporto, ES
Ex Machina/Über die Zersetzung der Fotografie, NGBK, Berlin, DE
Bert Frings, Azir Mendizabal, Rob Johannesma, Flatland Gallery, Utrecht, NL
Prix NI 2001, Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague, NL

For Real, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL
Doppel, Galerie Kamm, Berlin, DE
Een ceder in mijn tuin, KW14, Den Bosch, NL
Profili della giovani pittura contemporanea in Europa, Museo del Golfo, La Spezia, IT

Stimuli, Witte de With, Rotterdam, NL