Aura press release

Press release

Aura: a former hiding place through the eyes of contemporary artists

Unique art project at Herengracht 401 in Amsterdam from 14 May to 21 June 2009

Werk van Amie Dicke; foto Simon Bosch

Werk van Amie Dicke; foto Simon Bosch

What does a contemporary artist do with the vibrant past of a former hiding place on one of Amsterdam’s canals? Is it the aura, the uniqueness and authenticity of this place to be captured and can it be transformed into something new and relevant? Those questions live at the heart of the art project Aura: an exhibition and a series of events in the historic premises of Castrum Peregrini Foundation, where in WWII young German Jews survived in hiding. As a modern Noah’s Ark the hiding place at the Herengracht manoeuvred through the horrors of persecution, with a group of friends under deck to enshrine a sphere of freedom through art and human culture.

Since the war the time seems to stand still in this labyrinth of rooms and passages. A small part of the first generation lives there to date, in the middle of countless antique objects, books and pieces of art they produced and collected. This inner world is still covered by a monumental 17th century façade. In the coming years the house will be partly opened to the public. To mark this transition nine artists from different disciplines were asked to choose a historic object, a story or a person as a point of departure and use it for a new artwork. The results of this ‘artistic recycling’ vary from installation art, ink drawings, photography and film to conceptual furniture, poems and a short contemporary radio play. The exhibition of works will start in the new project space of Castrum Peregrini, moving up the old staircase into the deserted apartment of a late inhabitant where the past is still perceptibly present.

Participating artists

Amie Dicke (beeldend kunstenaar, NL)
Chris Kabel (industrieel ontwerper, NL)
John Kleckner (beeldend kunstenaar, USA)
Susanne Kriemann (beeldend kunstenaar, D)
Jan Robert Leegte (beeldend kunstenaar, NL)
Alexandra Leykauf (beeldend kunstenaar, D)
Erik Lindner (dichter, NL)
Renée van Marissing en Allerd van den Bremen (theatermakers, NL)
Henk van der Waal (dichter, NL)

And original Works from the collection by (a.o.)

Foto Simon Bosch

Foto Simon Bosch

Gisèle d’Ailly van Waterschoot van der Gracht
Max Beckmann
Walter Benjamin
Simon van Keulen

Michiel van Iersel

Castrum Peregrini
Herengracht 401
1017 BP Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Opening hours Aura-exhibition
From 14 May until 21 June
Wednesday through Sunday 13:00 – 18:00 hrs
Admission 5 Euro, 18 years and younger free
Please register groups beforehand

Official opening Aura-exhibition
Thursday, 14 May, 18:00 – 21:00 hrs

Aura salons with guided tour, performances, statements and music
Thursday, 28 May, 20:00 – 23:00 hrs
With contributions by (a.o.) Allerd van den Bremen, Machinefabriek, Erik Lindner, Renée van Marissing, Joachim Umlauf, Ton Venhoeven

Thursday, 11 June, 20:00 – 23:00 hrs
With contributions by (a.o.) Jan Baeke, Pierre Bastien, Theu Boermans, Dragan Klaic, Tracy Metz, Henk van der Waal

Finissage Aura-exhibition
Sunday, 21 juni, 14:00 – 20:00 hrs

Informal Aura-drink
Each Friday 17:00 – 19:00 hrs

For more information and images please contact
Castrum Peregrini
Michael Defuster and Lars Ebert
tel: 020 623 52 87


The Aura project is being made possible through the generous support of: