About Frans van Lent

Posts by Frans van Lent:

#4: The Coherence of Things


1960. A room full of Henry Moore sculptures.
Some of the sculptures were sitting, some were lying and some where stuck in between. I sat on a small bench and tried to internalise some of these postures. Just like me, my camera on the floor in front of me did not have a clear idea what to focus on.
Later (room 1990 I think it was) I met Andrew. I explained him what I did, showed him some photos. We talked about the relation with the work Pose Work for Plinths of Bruce Mclean. And only a few minutes later exactly that work showed up on a wall in room 1970  .
This strange coincidental appearance proved to be a set up for the afternoon.

I decided to focus on the relation between the artwork, the beholder and the beholder of the beholder of the artwork, in other words: art, visitor and attendant.
The museum is a place of looking.

I searched a work with the quality to look back at me. I found it in room 1990: Tracey Emin’s My Bed, provocatively approaching the visitor in blunt exhibitionism. I asked the attendant to make a photo of me looking at the artwork. The visitor is not allowed to interfere with the artwork. The attendant is responsible for that. It seems to me that in the same way the attendant is not allowed to interfere with the visitor. And he is watched by CCTV too. I could see the expression of doubt in the face of the man before he took my camera and made the photo.


Some time later I walked into the rooms 1900. In front of John Singer Sargent’s Portrait of Madame Pierre Gautreau a man was trying to internalise the posture of Mme Gautreau. I asked him what he was doing and he explained that he was preparing a lecture about this particular portrait. He was studying to understand the (in those years provocative) quality of the posture. I offered to help him by making some photo’s.

Later I showed these photos to Lisa and she was surprised and explained to me that when she was younger, she was told that she resembled the lady on this specific painting. So I made some photos of her in front of the painting.


When I finished I turned around and a man spoke to me. To my surprise he asked me to make a photo of him while he was looking at the artwork in front of him. He handed me his camera. Of course I agreed and in return I asked him to make a photo of me, looking at the same artwork. Distracted by the apparent coherence of things I forgot what artwork I was actually looking at.

Photo’s: © FvL

#4: Tate Britain (general report)

On Sunday 17 January 2016, at 10.00 AM we met at the entrance of the museum, Lisa, Malou, Andrew and myself. After a mutual introduction, some of us did not meet before, we went up the stairs to the members club. We had a coffee and discussed the basic conditions: the concept of theparallelshow, the open expectations and the absence of rules. We agreed to meet again at the same place at 12.30 for lunch and individually left to visit the exhibitions.

The installation of Susan Philipsz: War Damaged Musical Instruments in the Duveen galleries, dominated every other exhibition in the museum. The sounds could be heard everywhere.

Andrew in the Duveen Galleries

We all started our explorations in this main hall. After that everyone focussed on the exhibitions that personally seemed to be the most appealing, so we all had very different experiences.

During lunch in the Members Room we discussed possibilities and plans. We talked about a possible groupwork in the installation of Susan Philipsz but nothing practical came out of that. The military aura of the work was just too big, too overwhelming. So we decided to follow our personal preferences. Before we left Malou handed us some of her stickers of the Dutch National Heritage Sign, to give away when possible.

We spread over various exhibitions and followed our impulses.
Dates are inscribed into the building itself, a chronological index.  We navigated and rendezvoused using chronological markers rather than cartographic ones. (Andrew).
We communicated by texting the years of the locations: I am in 1900, are you still in 1960?.

Around 17.00 we gathered in the basement cafe for a last beer and a concluding conversation.
At closingtime we left the building.

photo’s: © FvL

#3: The Parallax View

@ M-Museum Leuven, Belgium

The period rooms were decorated tastefully, but a complete pastiche. The panelling gave the impression of a rich wooden surface but when looking closer, it appeared to be imitated. Done very skilfully but painted, not real wood. In a way it also made me doubt the authenticity of the exhibited artefacts.

     2015-12-04 15.18.24
On the mantelpiece was a large mirror. Looking through this mirror I was more convinced of the realness of the room. I then tried to perceive all objects in the room one by one through this mirror, as if I was peeking through a window from outside the room, from another time, another century.

The modern part of the museum was constructed according to another architectural paradigm. Art objects surrounded by white and grey surfaces of unremarkable matter. Spaces without a material charism, created for no other purpose than to  accentuate something else.

I used the reflections on the floors and the windows to include the surroundings, to force the spaces to reveal themselves.
Sarah Morris used the filmposter of Allan Pakula’s The Parallax View as the basis of an art piece.
This title very well fits my work in this ParallelShow.

© FvL


#3: M-Museum Leuven (general report)

2015-12-04 11.34.00
© FvL
M-Museum Leuven, Belgium, integrates historical buildings and contemporary architecture.
On one hand there are period rooms with historical furniture and design, on the other hand there is the contemporary part with high ceilings, a lot of glass and visual contact with the city. This wide orientation equals the presentations: from 15 century church sculpture to big contemporary art shows.

© FvL
We arrived at 11.00 AM and started our exploration together with a walk through all spaces, all exhibitions.
At 01.30 PM we had lunch at the restaurant and we discussed the possibilities. 
In this specific situation the best approach seemed not to focus too much on group activities. Each of us had a clear idea to start with.
Till 05.30 PM we worked alone, meeting each other occasionally.
We finally met again at the restaurant, we exchanged experiences, had a last drink and left the museum.

Bestand 05-01-16 15 28 29
photo (in the Museum info paper) of Guy de Cointet, looking very much like Marnik.

#2: Naturalis (general report)

The second ParallelShow took place in the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands. The choice of location might be a bit unexpected because it is not an art place. It is a museum for visual encounters with life in all sorts and that in itself seemed a very good reason to choose it for the ParallelShow. 
Another new aspect was the number of participating artists. We were six: Peter Baren, Jeroen Bouweriks, iwbdjdyatmvezdmnekzawvb, Mr and Mrs Gray and Frans van Lent.

© PB

We walked together in a line through the corridor, from the central hall towards the exhibition building. During this walk we  immitated the (electronic) bird-whistling coming out of the loudspeakers above us.
We then started to explore the museum individually. 
After 90 minutes we gathered in the restaurant and discussed the possibilities.
Many ideas came up, some were chosen to work out.

The most distinct aspect was the number of parents with young children. The museum seems to be designed specifically for this targetgroup. 
The exhibited objects are presented not only to look at, but also to touch and to physically manipulate. The museum is mainly focused on interactivity, on making the experience as vividly as possible.
Another aspect was the fact that every exhibited species is dead and stuffed, nothing moved of its own accord, all sounds came out of loudspeakers. This museum, dedicated to life in its broadest sense, only showes man-made immitations and dead animals. The visitors are learning about life by studying death. 

There was a tendency of (some) parents to withdraw into a state of lethargy in the background while their children were enjoying the attractions. By doing that they seemed to more or less approach the condition of the stuffed animals. It created a certain mirroring and we decided we could join them in doing that.

© FvL

Another concept was the devise of a lost child. Malou made up a 5-year old girl called Malina. ‘Malina wears blue jeans and a yellow t-shirt, applicated with a white elephant. She has long brown hair’. Malou reported the missing girl, together with Jeroen, to the staff of the museum, and by doing that she created an official search for this unknown living creature in the museum. This activity related to the adventurous searches organised to entertain the visiting children. 

Two concepts we could not carry out because of closing-time : 
– One was a training in patience by queuing where ever we found possibilities to queue. 
– And the second was a group-action of slowing down (stopping) for a short moment the 4 meter big globe in the geographical department.

© PB

#1: Kunsthal (general report)



We started to (individually) visit the shows at the Kunsthal. That took about 90 minutes.  After that we gathered at the restaurant and discussed the experiences and possibilities. Every one of us came up with a personal concept and all were meant to be carried out by all three of us (as a group or seperately).

Not one of the concepts did actually respond to any aspect of the visited shows. They were related to the architectural qualities of the building, and mainly to a certain aspect of the building: the doors. We were not sure what this actually meant.

One of the possibilities is that doors are related to a performative aspect of a building: the moving around. And moving around in spaces was what we were doing and what we are basically interested in. It could also mean that we distanced ourself from the exhibitions. The show Do-it is mainly about performing of course, but this particular show was probably not the best presentation of Obrist’s concept. And maybe it just came too close and we could not distinguish ourselves enough from the work, needed to do this more radically by simply ignoring it.

The three different concepts focussed on doors as objects in their physical potentiality of letting people pass (Ieke Trinks), on the internal structure of the building in it’s relation to human displacement (Ienke Kastelein), and on the sliding doors as the location for approaching, encountering and passing others. Sliding doors play their own interactive role in this, seem to be the only part of the building that is aware of, and mechanically responds to it’s users. (Frans van Lent)



Sliding Door

A descending staircase ending in a sliding door. Behind the sliding door an exhibition space.

The first person goes down.
The sliding door opens, the person stops,
The door closes, the person turns around and goes up again.

This repeats a number of times till the person decides it is enough.
The person then walks on through the opened door.
(his place at the staircase will now be taken by a second person).

After going through the opened door the person walks a number of steps into the space.
The person then turns around and walks back towards the sliding door.
When it opens the person stops.
The door closes, the person walks backwards away from the door.

When the door opens the person stops again.
The door closes, the person starts walking forward towards the door.

This repeats a number of times till the person decides it is enough.
He leaves the scene. The second person now walks in through the opened door…

The only interactive moving part in the architecture is the sliding door. It opens and it closes when somebody approaches. The performer mirrors this action by walking forward and backward in response to the movements of the door and by that (indirectly) in response to the movements of the second performer and to other people entering or leaving the exhibition.

Photo: Ienke Kastelein