In the words of its organizers Sacha Pohle and Tao Sambolec Home Sequence is “a self-organized exhibition taking place in the private homes of Amsterdam based artists.” On June 28-30, 2019 there was its second edition, after a very successful first one in July 2018. It featured the works of artists based in Amsterdam presented in the private space of their homes. In a conversation with me Tao Sambolec and Sascha Pohle shared some thoughts and the ideas that were the impetus to organize Home Sequence.
The idea is simple, and simple ideas sometimes have big impact because they reframe a situation to reveal possibilities for exchange and sharing of work, which have been latently there. Amsterdam is the home of many international artists, who have relatively limited opportunities to show work outside of institutional contexts. This often requires lengthy planning and negotiation.
In 2018 Pohle and Sambolec came up with the idea to invite artists to present works in the private space of their homes, and each invited artist could extend an invitation to another artist. The addresses of the participating artists are not shared online out of respect for the privacy homes, but the two organizers compile a simple list, which is only sent on request of the visitors. This creates a network-exhibition, which does not adhere to a thematic principle or a central curatorial concept. It grows organically and branches out by the principle of affinity and proximity, which could be friendship, or interest, or resonance with the work of another artist. In this way, Home Sequence addresses the need to open a space for another type of visibility and discussion, to show a work in progress, or a new work, or existing one, and to create a space for emergence of a friendship, discussion and affinity. It is, in a certain a sense, based on the idea of a gift economy, one opens their home as a gift and invites another to give back thus opening a circulation, an economy of ideas and exchanges that form a particular type of artistic neighbourhood. The transformation of private space into a semi-public one is also an affirmative statement and a gesture of resistance to privatisation of the commons and the gradual erosion free public spaces that should can host intellectual or artistic exchange.
Again, simple ideas sometimes have a great impact, as they have the capacity to induce a structural shift in the relation between public and private space. The position of the artist is redefined as well; she becomes a host who opens a space where a more intimate conversation around making a work and its triggers can happen. This brings me to the importance of sharing one’s working table and process precisely before the work is completed. The process of making, research, even simply the desire to develop a particular project, often carries a network of objects, both aesthetic and conceptual, which are important and often full further potential, but in many cases are edited out of the final version of the work. The space of a living room, a kitchen or a bedroom is obviously not a neutral white cube, objects and surfaces coexist to form resonances with each other and sometimes to blend with the space of the home, or transform a living room into or an artwork. A specific aspect of the idea behind Home Sequence is its open-endedness. It is like an open score which can be completed in variety of ways, and in which the initiators don’t have control over the final constellation of participants. This implies a degree of taking a risk and sharing responsibility. The relation between art host and the visitor becomes tangible, less representational and the interaction becomes personal. This idea is not new, it the 80s and the 90s there were a lot of private artist run spaces, but the difference with Home Sequence is that it takes place for a short duration, and the selection is based on an inclusive model, feeling proximity with someone’s work, and it requires a site specific response to the space of home, to the intimacy and the presence of the everyday. Another question which I asked to the organizers was, why not the studio? And their answer was that the idea is to keep the profile of the event different from the format of the open studio, which becomes too focused on networking and to keep the intimate situation which allows for a different type of exchange.
It is important to note that Home Sequence is entirely done without funding, as affirmative action based on friendship and solidarity. It is a wonderful initiative, which should continue. It could be done over the course of three or four days or the number of participating artists could be a bit less. It would be good to organize a final event for the participating artists so they can meet as a group.
The network of artists’ homes participating in Home Sequence invites one to move through Amsterdam in a way different from the everyday routine and to engage with its urban texture in way reminiscent of a Situationist drift. A movement through a network of open homes brings surprising encounters with artworks and artists, and most importantly brings to visibility an outline of an artistic community, which is a community par excellence, heterogeneous and open.
The first edition was very well attended and the initiative greeted with enthusiasm. The presentations in the different homes were varied involving different media and gestures: listening, ephemeral temporality and the event (Tao Sambolec), the history and the scene of the home as a work of art (Noa Giniger), surface articulation and mimicry (Sascha Pohle and Flo Maak) histories on several planes both affective and the scene of the archive (Marianne Flotron and Sasa Karalic) burial practises in China (Kristiina Koskentola) and a toilet collage with a dose of dark humor (Andre Avelas), archaeology of contemporary ruins (Maria Lalou and Skafte Aymo Boot), and I had a chance to do reading performance. It is difficult to mention all presentations for a lack of space, but all in all the first edition included series of great works and events that created productive connections using the potential of Amsterdam community outside the usual institutional frameworks.
The 2019 edition included more homes and a network that spread through the city. Again, there was a variety of media and artistic gestures: architectural extractions as historical fragments hovering between determinacy and indeterminacy (James Beckett ), mise-en-scene as a mise-en-abyme the stage as a void and as an image (Ayako Yoshimura), object archaeology of ex-votos (Leonid Tsvetkov ), archaeology of water and photography (Maartje Fliervoet), museum in a hat (Martín La Roche Contreras), Surrealist constellation of murmuring objects (Michele Son), plates with inscriptions which blend with the home walls (Manrtine Neddam), the home as a found object and as of a work of art, a tattoo performance (Angelo Leonardo).
July, 2019 Alena Alexandrova