OPPERCLAES. offers young and upcoming creatives a platform to show work to peers and the established art and design world. What started out as a traditional gallery quickly grew to a unique concept that has been translated to collaborations with art fairs, live events at festivals and instore art exhibitions.
First of all, thanks for doing this interview guys. Can you tell us something about the how and when of OPPERCLAES?
It was basically a chain of different events that made us decide to open our own gallery. Before we started OPPERCLAES, we organized exhibitions in various locations, or just showed our own work. In both cases, we ran into the same problems.. Due to our former education at art-school, we worked up a pretty wide network of people. Our interest sparked to do something and work around these problems, so when the owners of our current space, over at the Claes de Vrieselaan, offered us this space we jumped at the opportunity. At first, for a short amount of time, but we’ve been here for three years now.
What are the thoughts behind OPPERCLAES?
With OPPERCLAES we want to offer young talented artistst a stage to show their work. Especially free work by graphic designers, illustrators and photographers, because this group really deserves more space in Rotterdam. We also think that there should be a bit more diversity in the field of young artists. Our goal is to act as a connection between the artist and the establishment, like future clients or buyers. We also want to connect as much people as possible with these artists.
Next to the whole art-thingy, we’re also funtional as a management bureau. We help clients to carry out and develop their concepts for specific events. Dependable on the project, we team up with the artist to work on a concept that’s being carried out by themselves. We take care of the planning, budget, communication etc. The goal in expanding to a management burea is to extend our platform. We think it’s pretty important to get finances straight and to create more diversity at events. Our biggest goal is to connect artists and clients.
At OPPERCLAES, who is responsible for what tasks?
We don’t really have a tight distribution of tasks. There are a lot of things that have to be done, considering there’s only two of us. The curating and assembling of exhibitions, communicating and running appointments with artists and clients, global planning, promoting of exhibitions or events, preparing and realizing openings, stocking up on materials for projects and off course, hosting our space for people on our regular opening-hours.
We’ve both got enough know-how of everything going on around here, so we pretty much compliment each other and can easily switch tasks when needed.
How do you maintain a project like OPPERCLAES?
It all started out back in 2010, as a three-month project which we financed ourselves. In the meantime, three years later, we’re still independent. The positive feedback from visitors on our exhibtions really motivate us to keep up the good work. Due to the great enthusiasm and motivation brought on by the artists we work with, we feel useful, and it shows that OPPERCLAES is welcome in Rotterdam.
Next to being an art-gallery, OPPERCLAES is also functional as a management bureau. These are mostly commercial assignments, giving us some extra space in our finances. Sometimes we also team up with companies or brands to help carry out projects.
Image any artist to host an exhibition at OPPERCLAES. Who would you choose?
One artist only? We can think of a few:
[Linda]: Sea Hyun Lee, a female artist from South-Korea who creates insanely nice, red paintings influenced by Korean landscapes. And Bert Danckaert, a photographer from Belgium.
[Bruce]: The painter Paul Wackers, or painter Marco Zamora, They’re both from the USA.
'Due to the great enthusiasm and motivation brought on by the artists we work with, we feel useful, and it shows that OPPERCLAES is welcome in Rotterdam'
In what direction are you guys heading, what are the big plans for the future?
I think we can safely say we’re doing a good job here. Everything is going as planned, and with every new project and exhibition we’re making some steps in the right direction. We’ll keep on developing and keep having an eye out for new talent. Eventually, we want people to come to us because of our feeling for contemporary talent and original methods for solving problems.
We want to expand our funtionality as a management bureau, and become an art-gallery with (inter)national status. And after all of this, in about fifty years, we want to be approached by a documentary-maker, preferably in a tropical place, who wants to do a documentary about our empire and impressive art-collection.
What are your five favourite art galleries, national and international?
That would be the following galleries:
- Saatchi Gallery, Londen
- Alley Gallery, Hasselt
- Fecal Face, San Francisco
- V1, Copenhagen
- Ship of Fools, Den Haag (unfortunately out of work)
What music do you like listening to?
Amongst others: Prince, Grandmaster Flash, Marvin Gaye, David Bowie, Chic, Joy Division, Stevie Wonder, R.Kelly, Jai Paul, Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Bob Marley, Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, Gaslampkiller, Shlohmo, WuTang Clan, J Dilla, James Brown, NWA, Westside Connection, Aaliyah, Temptations, SBTRKT, Ryan Hemsworth, Minnie Ripperton, Lapalux, Gang Starr, New Edition, The Cure, Foals, Hudson Mohawke, Rick James, Schoolboy Q, El-P, Talking Heads, Little DragonAntony and The Johnsons, Madlib, MF Doom, Bobby Womack, Nirvana, Raphael Saadiq, Erykah Badu, The Four Tops, Afrika Bambaataa, EPMD, KRS-One, Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest, Eric B & Rakim, Dr. Dre, Curtis Mayfield, M.I.A., Peanut Butter Wolf, Isley Brothers, Mos Def, Lunice, Talib Kweli, Jeremih, Flume, Moods, Sam a la Bamalot, Ta-Ku, coke rap mixtapes by Datpiff, the shows by BBC radio 1, Redlightradio and mixes approved by Los Bangeles.
Can you name out one exhibition that you guys look up to?
Most definitely Beautiful Losers. This documentary beatifully captures the whole romantic story behind it. A must see!
Can you name out some unknown artists who deserve some more attention from the crowd?
About every artist we worked with in the past, or who we’re going to work with in the future. There are just so much hardworking and upcoming talents around that deserve attention, we can keep hosting exhibitions in OPPERCLAES for years!
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