Club Mama Gemütlich created by the Dutch artist Christiaans Bastiaans is a retrospective of his work from the past 20 years, but also a total work of art.
Hope and Terror
Christiaans Bastiaans is fascinated by the human ability to survive in crisis situations. He therefore often travels to conflict zones where he visits refugee camps and meets war victims, such as child soldiers. These people’s stories form the motivation of his artistic practice. Consequently he hopes to be able to find beauty and humanity in this world.
The exhibition structure follows that of the Japanese Noh theatre, in which the relationship between the world of the dead and that of the living is represented symbolically. The visitor is guided past thirteen places in the museum towards the main stage.
Exhibition 'Club Mama Gemütlich', 2009
There, a large army tent is set up in which a film is shown about the fictional Club Mama Gemütlich, an improvised shelter for a group of wounded soldiers in no man’s land. The leading role is that of La Vivre, played by the French actress Jeanne Moreau, who in this environment of pain, despair and alienation is nevertheless a beacon of comfort, hope and warmth.
Van Straaten expresses his admiration for this total work of art. ‘The depiction of alienation, desperation and exclusion is one of the most difficult tasks for a visual artist. Bastiaans has made an extraordinary effort to find an artistic and intellectually challenging form for that.’