Spaces in Doubt, The Hague in Times of Corona

The fact that we are in a unique historical situation can be felt by everyone, but is not always visible. It is precisely this surreal time that calls for a visual testimony, an artistic registration and interpretation.

It's mid-March 2020, public life in the Netherlands comes to a standstill. The schools remain closed, the trains empty and the sky turns into clear blue. From one day to the next, public space changes into a silent theater where people blatantly avoid each other. But for how long? 

In a series of urban landscapes, the squares, the architectural objects and streets become characters providing various perspectives for a story in which we rediscover places in The Hague. The imposed COVID-19 restrictions call for the ability to make shifts in our use of public space, and to closely observe our way of life: our habits and desires.

At first sight, the encounters on the corner of a street, a crossing, or on the beach form unnatural biotopes with their own distinct mechanism of social control.
After assessing each other's behavior, life can be celebrated again in a seemingly clear and safe organization of ad hoc group meetings. This new social context results in a secondary reality; in an after image that satisfies our anticipation and memory, into being participant and spectator at the same time.

By understanding that the people are the real foundation on which a city is built, we can now reflect on a fundamental feature of human existence: the clear evocation of thinking in a crisis. It is the act of constructing new situations, while acknowledging that there is always an aspect of chance involved. The demons we've kissed awake will haunt us for the time to come.

‘SCHOOL - verliefd, verveeld, verslapen’
Upcoming Group exhibition at Fotomuseum Den Haag,
April 8th until August 6th 2023.

Halverwege maart 2020 komt het openbare leven in Nederland abrupt tot stilstand door de uitbraak van de coronapandemie in Nederland. Van de ene op de andere dag verandert de openbare ruimte in een onnatuurlijke biotoop waar mensen elkaar schaamteloos mijden. Daarbij wordt niet alleen het samenleven bedreigd, maar gaat de bedreiging ook uit van het samenleven. In de serie ‘Den Haag in tijden van Corona’ toont van der Kooy een reeks stadslandschappen, waarin Haagse pleinen, straten en parken het decor worden waarin ons verlangen naar verbondenheid botst met de coronamaatregelen.

‘Capturing Corona. De lockdown in foto’s’
Group exhibition at Stroom Den Haag, Hogewal 1-9,
October 3rd until November 4th 2020.

Essay (in Dutch) by Arjan Post ︎ 
‘Het Lichaam in de wereld, de wereld in het lichaam’. 

Commissioned by Stroom Den Haag

‘Capturing Corona. De lockdown in foto’s’
Group exhibition at Stroom Den Haag, Hogewal 1-9,
October 3rd until November 4th 2020.

In collaboration with Vincent de Boer and the artists:
Johan Nieuwenhuize, Nadine Stijns, Esther Hovers,
Miguel Peres dos Santos, Sandra Uittenbogaart,
Milene van Arendonk.

Exhibition and Graphic Design by Welmer Keesmaat;
Context - Creative Studio.

supported by:
Mondriaan Fund
The Hague Historical Museum
Municipal Archives of The Hague

(NL: De tentoonstelling 'Capturing Corona. De lockdown in foto’s' kwam tot stand in samenwerking met het Haags Historisch Museum en het Haags Gemeentearchief. Stroom Den Haag presenteerde deze tentoonstelling in het kader van haar programma voor kunst in de openbare ruimte. Met dank aan Stichting Atrium, Mondriaan Fonds en gemeente Den Haag.)