Exhibition 'Gems etc' of Thomas Raat in Circl.ART, installation 'Standards', 2015. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij

On September 10th 2017 the new art project space Circl Art Space will open its doors on the pavilion's upper level. Alternating presentations will be held in this art project space created by ABN AMRO, which is open to the public.

Art is constantly in a state of flux. Artists manage to make unconventional connections, dare to dream and more quickly sense, as the 'seismometers' of our times, what goes on in the world around us. Vision and a free way of thinking lie at the heart of a circular economy. Circl.ART is, for that reason, intended as a platform for new developments in art, art that stimulates the imagination and anticipates social and topical themes. At the same time Circl.ART aims to provide a podium that enables artists to reach a wide audience. This can involve presentations of work from the ABN AMRO collection or contemporary art that focuses on social topics such as the circular economy, but also exhibitions of young and rising talent, sometimes in connection with the ABN AMRO Art Award.

The project space will open with a solo presentation of the Dutch artist Thomas Raat, titled ‘Gems etc…’, which includes new work that he has created specifically for this location.

Thomas Raat

The work of Thomas Raat engages with the realm in which visual art meets design. He continually seeks the turning point, where applied design becomes art and vice versa.

In his recent work Raat focuses on objects from his immediate surroundings ‒ chairs, tables, or mirrors ‒ and he investigates, in terms of the design of these objects, the vestiges of avant-garde thought. In a work designed specifically for this exhibition, Raat concentrates on a practically futile but nonetheless essential everyday object: the paperclip. The design dating from 1835 has iconic status in modern design. Due to its complex simplicity it is an example of 'compressed ingenuity', in which the function is optimally combined with the logic of the design. Raat sees this perfect symbiosis of form and content as a metaphor for the artistic thought process involved in seeking the right form for a particular idea. The paperclip symbolizes the right answer to the right question, the eureka moment. 

Raat also presents the installation 'Standards', in which he cleverly plays with mass-produced chairs that he found at flea markets and shops with second-hand goods. By taking them apart, fixing them up and placing them on a pedestal, Raat gives the chairs an unexpected sculptural quality. At the same time, each chair is given its own repeating, yet unique range of color. In doing so, Raat transforms the anonymous, industrially-produced utilitarian object into a new, autonomous image. 

Thomas Raat (Leiderdorp, 1979) studied at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten in The Hague (1997-2001), the Norwich School of Art and Design (2000), the Delfina Studio Program in London (2005-2006) and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam (2011-2012). Raat exhibits work both within the Netherlands and abroad. Among the locations where his work has been shown are Schunk, Heerlen (2015), Juliette Jongsma, Amsterdam (2014), Transit, Mechelen (2013), the Andor Gallery, London (2011).

Photo on the right: Thomas Raat, installation 'Gems', 2017. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij