Exhibition: Drawing Stories
Drawing Stories is a partnering project presented as part of the online exhibition Corona in the City, organised by Amsterdam Museum. The commissioned works exhibiting in the digital room evolves and changes on a weekly basis, sharing the stories of multiple people and communities in the city during lockdown.
This online presentation changes with time, reflecting the evolving narratives, experiences and expectations of the participating artists. They draw stories based on their observations and experiences.
From one moment to the next, everything is different. With the regulations, we have missed our loved ones, kept our distance, and stayed inside. The lockdown has also brought new ideas, and the hope that, perhaps we are at a tipping point to start doing things differently, putting well-being before prosperity, making sustainability a guiding principle when the consumerist society breaks down. We start to cherish local producers and shops; see and listen to the beauty of people and their stories, the city, and nature. For some, however, this hope for change is drowned out by fear or disappointment. We are not always supportive of those who are not doing well. Some rich people are becoming richer, some poor people poorer. How do you experience a lockdown when you are sick, homeless, penniless, or mentally distressed?
At a time like this, artists play a crucial role in depicting, interpreting, and archiving developments by utilizing their imagination and criticality. What will change, and what will stay the same? Here, artists residing in Amsterdam reflect on the past, present, and future in a period of crisis. Grasping this moment, we also want to take a self-reflexive look at the role of Framer Framed as an Amsterdam-based platform for contemporary art, visual culture, and critical theory & practice:
Who are we? What do we do? And how should our role change as the world changes?
We Sell Reality
Domenique Himmelsbach de Vries
All of the works from this digital exhibition were commissioned by Framer Framed as an act to support and attend to our artistic community. In a moment of crisis, it became clear very soon that sharing stories, resources, ideas, and care with artists are crucial in cultivating solidarity and communal bonds across people and cultural sectors in the city we belong.
During the lockdown, TuncTop went on a ‘home residency’ and produced a cartoon documentary Mokum Stories (2020) which focuses on the East of Amsterdam. The work is based on real stories collected in and around the neighborhood of Framed Framed during the beginning of the pandemic.
We Sell Reality, an open source collective consisting of created a series of graphics entitled The Homeless Quarantine (2020-). These graphics create an imagery of how refugees experience the Corona crisis. The intimate and personal visual stories are confrontational, rich in contrast, painful, funny and real. They provide insights into a world that usually remains hidden.
As one of our participating artists in our previous exhibition, Elsewheres Within Here (2019), Marieke Zwart presents a set of drawn photographs of the centre of Nieuwendijk, where she has lived for more than a decade. These photo drawings are part of her final video work, The River. Witnessing her residential area transforming from a street overflowing with people to a motionless landscape, Zwart records this historical moment in an imaginative and poetic manner.
Gluklya’s Corona Diary (2020) illustrates the artist’s thoughts regarding social distancing through intimate drawings. With a candid and honest tone, the accompanying text reveals Gluklya’s concerns regarding the power structures that pervade our daily lives and how revealing ‘vulnerability’ can generate invisible forces of change.
Salim Bayri presents a collection of daily sketches drawn with gouache, fell pen, and pencil that appears casual and slightly absurd yet visually attractive because of its coherent style and hues. The artist’s fantastic imagery invites viewers to look closer into the work, in which many semisocial political themes embedded by the artist can be discovered.
During the lockdown, our residency artists in Werkplaats Molenwijk BetweenTwoHands, composed of visual artists Erin Tjin A Ton and Gosia Kaczmarek, created Ecognosis, Work in Process. The stop-motion animation film imaginatively illustrates how our world may look if people left Earth and nature took over.
Inspired by numerous conspiracy theories surrounding the lockdown and the coronavirus, Domenique Himmelsbach de Vries draws out ideas and fantasies regarding matters related to the new world order we find ourselves in.
During the lockdown, our education coordinators have worked remotely with artist Karine Versluis and i-psy Arts to conduct Stay Strong Photo Stories which is a series of online photo workshops for immigrants suffering from psychological difficulties and adolescents in youth care.
On May 28 2020, Amsterdam Museum organised a live stream panel discussion with Framer Framed and asked Josien Pieterse to share the curatorial concept of the room. Two of our participating artists TuncTop and Elke Uitentuis were also present to share their creative process. Watch the interview (Framer Frame’s contribution starts from 37:10).
An extensive motivation on the project can be found here.
While museums were forced to close down again in the end of 2020, Amsterdam Museum decided to highlight nine works from its online exhibition Corona in the City and exhibit them in the courtyard of the museum. A work by Marieke Zwart, presented in our gallery Drawing Stories, was featured in this selection. The River (2020) shows Nieuwendijk, an old residential street in Amsterdam where Marieke lives. Instead of the river of people that fill the street, Marieke depicts an imaginary river curling on the empty street.
Working together with a variety of organisations, Corona in the City aims to connect residents living in isolation, to place this time of crisis in a larger and historical context and to capture these unique zeitgeist in testimonies, enabling people in the future to reflect on this period.
Corona in the City is still an ongoing, expanding exhibition. Since lockdown measures tightened in early 2021, Framer Framed had been closely working with Amsterdam Museum on a new presentation Shaping Feelings, which highlights a variety of projects Framer Framed executed in response to the extended lockdown. Shaping Feelings is opened in April, 2021.
Collection development / Community / online /