The yearly event Art Rotterdam is always a good occasion to check out the latest trends in modern art and contemporary photography. Galleries from all over Europe gather in the iconic van Nelle factory and compete for the most outrageous or unique offerings. It goes from the ugliest (like this purple and pink styrofoam and polyurethane bas-relief titled « United Nations » by Folkert de Jong) to the strangest like this huge rabbit made of straw  by Erik van Lieshout (I wonder who can buy and display such a piece) to the brightest, the gloomiest, the most expected, the most conventional or, at times, the really special: I enjoyed the small sculptures of Ossip, mixing and assembling books, photography, wires, like the two sculptures inspired by Belle de Jour, the book written by Joseph Kessel. All in the eye of the beholder and the wallet of the potential buyer. Photography is not left behind with again the same range of displays and offerings. My selection is very subjective and I went to what caught my eye, ending up revisiting some familiar photographers, rather than stopping for the bright and shiny. Julie Cockburn, already seen at Unseen (if at all possible) continues to embroider old photographs, giving them a pleasant and colorful twist. Homayoun Sirizi employs the same technique planting coronations on older  Iranian revolution photographs, rooting them in the present, outside of the frame. Lisa Sartorio represented by Galerie Binôme revisits places destroyed by war, and reenacts the destruction with the palm of her hands, using a high quality soft Japanese paper, giving a vivid and present view, almost fairytale-like of the explosions. Her ambition is to continue with other places where war occurs – a never-ending task, I am afraid. Binôme presents also the interesting work by Laurence Aëgerter who revisits the magnificent skies painted by Ruisdael and attracts the astute eyes of the Dutch collectors as something yet familiar but new and different. I also enjoyed the paper cuttings of Thomas Manneke  giving to his photographs a third dimension, the familiar presence of Johan van der Keuken and the clair-obscure portrait by Harold Strak. These pieces, presented in the always impressive van Nelle factory, make for a pleasant afternoon.

Fallen Angel, 2023 ©Julie Cockburn / Gallery Ramakers
©Homayoun Sirizi / Ag Gallery
Wij zijn 17, 1955 ©Johan van der Keuken
Untitled, Web, 2021 – 2023 ©Thomas Manneke
Sofie, 2023 ©Harold Strak