"We believe that art is incredibly important to our society. It stands on a foundation of thoughtful imagination and the ability to relentlessly question presumptions and anything seemingly self-evident. In this light, art makes visible what is beyond our field of vision. Artists allow us to view the world differently."

— Arno van Roosmalen, director Stroom Den Haag

 Welcome

“After years of worshipping visitor numbers and self-generated revenue, art centers are looking for a newer, more qualitative approach to art and especially its audience. Instead of offering more exhibitions or events, they opt for a concentrated practice towards at times uncharted results.”

— Domeniek Ruyters, interview with Arno van Roosmalen in Metropolis M

Rather than being a static framework of lectures in front of an audience, during the Uncertainty Seminars we embraced doubt as a cultural strategy. Objects spoke, silences occurred and space was transformed.

 Embracing uncertainty

In 2019 we started our program Our House, your Home. International organizations were invited as our guests to do the things that they thought of as most urgent, fitting or challenging. After the Visual Culture Research Center from Kiev, we featured left gallery (online) and Languid Hands (London) in ‘our house’.

“I think it’s really important, when you have an established process, to implement a method ‘on the go’ like Stroom has. You have to find a certain type of institutional courage to disrupt the process – to stop what you have been doing for a long time and to find out what can be approached differently.”

— Vasyl Cherepanyn, director VCRC

 OH,yH

“The struggle against human rights violations demands perseverance and fortitude. Aside from addressing injustice and setting in motion the trials of cases that have been forgotten or run aground, achievements are few and far between. (…) [Oleg] Sentsovs incarceration is closely tied to the occupation of the Krim… This is geopolitics in its purest form. At the same time, Cherepanyn calls upon European cities to recognize Sentsov as a European citizen."

— Frits Dijks, article 'Hybrid Peace: The Trial against Oleg Sentsov' in Jegens&Tevens [On 7 September 2019, Russia released Oleg Sentsov as part of a prisoner exchange with Ukraine.]

The Visual Culture Research Center from Kyiv looked at the term peace from the different ‘truths’ that seemingly exist alongside one another. The tragedy of flight MH17, the Maidan revolution and the Ukrain referendum proved the theme’s urgency during the Movies That Matter Festival.

 Hybrid Peace

“A gallery disguised as Apple Store”

— Algemeen Dagblad

Digital art on demand, this was the aim of rite of access, a project by the online platform left gallery. As virtual platform they took up residence in the physical space of an art institution. Using bitcoin and blockchain technology, the public could buy works varying from a flight simulator to an arguing robot.

 Internet art on demand

London-based duo Languid Hands presented their new film Towards a Black Testimony: Prayer/Protest/Peace, which examined Black Testimony as obscured, ignored and often totally undermined. The project also formed a platform for lectures, performances and the DeeDee Talks, engaging individuals from the Afro-Dutch community in The Hague.

“The concept Towards a Black Testimony draws its strength from its public program, which makes room for discussion and contemporary voices. (…) The fact that Languid Hands still has to address the same issues illustrates the idleness of changes in society yet to be realized”

— George Vermij in Den Haag Centraal.

 Black testimonies

“It is often said that where there’s a will, there’s a way. I wouldn’t want to call it a will, but passion, passion for architecture, passion for the environment, and passion for art. And the passion of everyone involved in allowing this to come together is undeniable.”

— Nora van Klingeren

Advice, mediation, support and initiation — that’s why we're here, also in the context of art in public space. In 2019, we made sure that an historic artwork from 1965 by Pierre van Soest was transported from Amsterdam to The Hague where it will soon find a new home as part of the Van Klingeren Pavillion.

 Taking care of art in public space

And we were involved in the re-installation of another spectacular artwork; the Escher mosaic.

 Taking care of art in public space

Zefir7 is embraced by students and professionals, but everyone is welcome to join.

Every month, Stroom is home to Zefir7, a designers cafe that we host with the BNO. Graphic design and typography, product design, fashion and textiles, interactive media and web design — nothing is left out.

 Popular designers café

Artists from The Hague are presenting themselves increasingly on the international stage. Our SPOT grants are intended to make possible and increase that (inter)national presence. Here is a survey of the countries where The Hague artists presented their work in 2019:

 Artists from The Hague in the SPOT-light

“Stroom provides a very comprehensive way to support The Hague’s young (and established) artists that could serve as a model for other cities. The Stroom Invest Week is an illuminating educational experience that highlights all of the interesting contemporary cultural activities in The Hague.”

— participant Invest Week

Once again, we were able to invite internationally renowned curators and arts professionals for the Stroom Invest Week to visit the studios of talented local artists. It has shown to be a pleasant and effective program to support them in their artistic development, aiming to increase their visibility in The Hague and beyond.

 Attention for art and artist

“My work reflects daily reality in Curaçao. Many Curaçaoans do anything to get by. One day they’re a car mechanic, the next day they sell fish. As an artist, I’m not so interested in the references people understand as I am for the meaning they put on the work for themselves.”

— Tirzo Martha, interview in Beelden Magazine with Paulo Martina

Caribbean percussion music and the unveiling of the new sculpture The dematerialization of the five commandments in the five senses was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd. The new work by Tirzo Martha enriches The Sculpture Gallery in the City Center.


 A lively unveiling

“I can't imagine a better way to have been introduced to The Hague and to Stroom than through the minds of many who came through the library in the years before.”

— Reading Resident Renée Mboya

To make a stand against the growing pressure to perform, we offer our guests of the Reading Residency program a space for silent reflection without striving for a definite end result. A place to catch their breath, to recharge. In dialogue with the library collection of Stroom. In 2019 we welcomed the following RR guests: Katarina Petrovic (Belgrade), Renée Mboya (Nairobi) and Jules Rochielle Sievert (New York).

 Shelter for contemplation

Jeroen Eisinga was awarded the Ouborg Award 2019. The city awarded this prize to honor his extraordinary level and quality. Eisinga makes films about life and death, fear, fate and catastrophe. The laureate was granted a sum of money, an exhibition in Kunstmuseum Den Haag, and the publication Jeroen Eisinga - De maatschappelijke ladder produced by Stroom.

"'It is a book packed with ideas and discoveries,’ Jeroen Eisinga says in the café of the Kunstmuseum. 'Together with my wife, I worked on it for six months continuously. I’m really happy with the end result. It contains 25 years of knowledge and background material; everything you didn’t know about me is in it.’"

— Jeroen Eisinga, interview in Het Parool with Jan Pieter Ekker

 Ouborg Award 2019

In 2019 Stroom organized a study trip for artists initiatives from The Hague to Prague— a great opportunity to meet and be inspired by cultural colleagues and to develop an international network.

2019 was represented by:

— Quartair, The Balcony/Susan Bites, Jegens & Tevens/ism space, Annastate, Locatie Z/Pip expo, 1646, Æther Haga, Billytown/alternative art guide and Stroom Den Haag.

 Study trip Prague – local insights