Amstelveen, capital of ‘accidentalism’

The Keizer Karel Gallery in Amstelveen is an open air gallery. To be more specific, it is a series of poster frames of both sides of the A9 fly-over. Not quite the traditional way of exhibiting art, but that is no suprise if you know the council’s art officer who came up with this idea. Han van Wel spent many years in the advertising industry before following a career in the communication department of the council of Amstelveen. And it shows. His aim is to make public space more attractive by adding art. The first exhibition in the Keizer Karel Gallery was a display of posters inspired by Japanes sea poetry. At the vernissage at the nearby Cobra museum of modern art,  the poems were read both in Japanese and English. Then the guest set out to see the works in situ to reunite some time later in the museum’s hall for drinks and sushi.

A second exhibition showed paintings by Kamagurka, a Belgian artist. Quite accidentily, he created a new art form that he labelled ‘accidentalism’. Kamagurka draw portraits of people he thought would exist, although he had never met them. A sturdy bold man in his forties. A blond and shy teenage girl. A sophisticated lady in her sixties. A young and cheerful black man.

Who is this woman?

The idea behind these portraits was to invite the people of Amstelveen to add photographs of people they knew – or their own portraits – to the accidentalist portraits by Kamagurka. And it worked. After a few days photos were added showing faces that bore a striking resemblence to the portrait by the Belgian artist.  A fascinating phenomenon. Kamagurka’s works appears to depict archetypical categories of people. It’s the experience you have when you meet a person who walks, looks, and talks like your sister, but whom you’ve never met before.

We all have our ‘Doppelgänger’. He or she is out there somewhere. One day you will meet him or her. Chances are this encounter might take place in Amstelveen, the capital of ‘accidentalism’.

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