Have a peek in those mysterious canal houses with Chambres des Canaux

Have a peek in those mysterious canal houses with Chambres des Canaux

Nov 13, 2013 |  by  |  Art, Event
About the author
Mara Lagerweij is a researcher at the Rijksmuseum and álmost a Master of Arts. She finds dark, for most people depressing, works of art extremely uplifting for the spirit. She likes Trouw, boys on skateboards and her favourite animal is the sea otter.

Walking along our relentlessly beautiful canals, do you ever wonder what’s inside those houses? What kind of people live in these amazing, historic buildings? What their living room looks like? What kind of art they have on their walls? Well, until the 17th of November you can take a peek inside those homes and in some of the museums located at the canals. Chambres des Canaux: The Tolerant Home is an exhibition through 20 of the most iconic canal-side buildings, with contemporary art by Marlene Dumas, Atelier Van Lieshout, Fiona Tan, Guido van der Werve and more.

Chambres Des Canaux (Cris Toala Olivares)

Tolerance is the chosen subject. Tolerance was the foundation on which the Dutch Republic built its commercial success in The Golden Age, curator of this show Siebe Tettero explains, and because of the fact that private owners of canal houses open their homes to the public.

Music to our ears, as you might imagine, so Mark and I dropped by the I amsterdam office and picked up our tickets. The rain seemed to have backed down, and we parked our bikes to start the tour on foot. The passes lay out a convenient route along the locations starting from the Central Station all the way to the Amstel, and they punch a hole for each visit. We made it to seven out of twenty, so we’re good for another day or two of wandering around.

Huis met de Hoofden

In a lot of the locations you’re completely free to wander around, which got us all adventurous. It’s quite likely that after opening yet another door you’ll end up in a server-room or empty attic. Some locations like Huis met de Hoofden represent the work of several artists. In this house a personal favourite was a piece of video-art by Guido van der Werve, who became famous for his film of a man walking alone in front of an icebreaker. In the video The Day I Didn’t Turn With the World, shown in Huis met de Hoofden, a man is standing alone on the rotational axis of the world in arctic surroundings while nature is moving around him for 24 hours. Combined with the absolutely beautiful music, his loneliness against the moving ice and air is almost hypnotising.

Guido van der Werve - The Day I Didn't Turn With The World (still)

Looiersgracht 60

At a different location, Looiersgracht 60, we were impressed by the work of Daya Cahen. Her video installation about an anti-fascist camp in Russia makes you wonder about the way propaganda and mass-indoctrination is used by both sides of the political spectrum. At the same time, because of all the camp sites that were filmed, we started longing, on this rainy day, for a summer that had just ended. Looking back on what we’ve seen so far there are surely some highlights in the works of art, and the special locations definitely make it worthwhile to plan a visit this week!

Daya Cahen

Chambres des Canaux: The Tolerant Home

When: From 1 to 17 November
Where: Twenty locations along the canals
Tickets: €14, here
Info: Website

Feature image: Atelier Van Lieshout, photo by Crist Toala Olivares

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