by Leni Hurley
The TIC Book Club met in March 2015 in Cafe Restaurant No Sikiriki, and the atmosphere was great. The book under discussion was The Last Kingdom, first volume in a series written by Bernard Cornwell. We all loved the book. This may seem odd, given that we were all women and that this historical novel describes a pretty brutal man’s world. In the book we followed a young warrior’s epic adventure of courage, devotion, treachery, duty, battle and love. The time is the middle of the ninth century AD; the place – the British Isles. The action – the invasion of the Christian Anglo-Saxon world by Norsemen; men who came with their own, very vibrant gods. All in all, the book lent itself to a spirited discussion: how did the two religions compare; how does this epoch of violent turmoil strike you? Are there similarities in our present day world? And what about the remnants of an earlier, much more advanced civilization? When they left in about 410 AD, the Romans abandoned their amazing structures and roads and not a Briton, so it appears, cared to imitate or inhabit them. Yet many centuries later, the Anglo-Saxons made grateful use of these roads, especially in times of war. Yet they continued to use mud and straw to engineer their civic landscape. What does this say about the original Britons, the Anglo-Saxons that took over, and the Romans that came in between? And could such a thing happen again? Perhaps it did happen, many times over? All in all, it was a great night!
It was yet another twist to our borrel outings this month. We met at De Pont museum in Tilburg for a beverage and to take advantage of the museum’s being open late, which occurs on the third Thursday of the month. It was quite a nice turnout as we gathered in the café to enjoy a drink, some light snacks and began to catch up on the what was going on in our busy lives! After the borrel, we made our way into the museum to enjoy the exhibits. Some the featured exhibitions included the films of Isaac Julien, the video works of Emma van der Putt, the paintings of Toon Verhoef and several other interesting works.
The description of the films of Isaac Julien are described by as “a blend of fact and fiction, aesthetics and critical reflection. In his films he has told stories about ethnic origins and social vulnerability, about sexuality and gender, about beauty and economic capital. Julien’s film installations can be compared to musical compositions in which various voices are brought together”.
Emma van der Put graduated from the AKV St. Joost in 2010 with Scenes uit een avond (Scenes from an Evening) as her final-exam project. For one of her most recent videos, which is what we had the pleasure of viewing at De Pont, she took her camera to the notorious Brussels train station Midi/Zuid. There she filmed the loud advertisements, hurried travelers and sleeping homeless people.
My favorite exhibition of the evening was the work of Toon Verhoef. The paintings of Verhoef are described as “they resist definition; the words to describe what they show usually remain at the tip of one’s tongue. Each painting is based on a drawing that the artist has selected from dozens of small sketches and preparatory drawings. That is the drawing which ‘hits the nail on the head’ due to a certain detail or because of some incongruity that intrigues him”.
If you have never visited De Pont or it has been awhile since your last visit, you definitely owe it to yourself to stop in and take a look. There is always something beautiful, thought provoking or just different to enjoy!