Monday, 24 September 2012

Alumni of the Rijksakademie - Ikebana City

Ikebana City/ New York, 2011 © Lotte Geeven & Semâ Bekirovic

 Kim Knoppers interviewed each of the participating artists in the exhibition, Alumni of the Rijksakademie. Here, Semâ Bekirovich and Lotte Geeven talk about their project, Ikebana City.

Ikebana City started in New York. How did the project come about?

Semâ Bekirovich: Our theme was to create a visual record of the natural outgrowths of the city. Every day, we walked for dozens of miles and encountered things like plants growing against a wall covered with graffiti. They had accidentally been spattered with many colours of paint, but still continued to grow quite happily. That is Ikebana's focus: plants that find their own place in the city, in symbiosis with human beings. We gathered these plants and brought them to our atelier to create still lifes with them. Then we photographed them. After that, we made posters of the prints and hung them up in the original locations where we found the plants. By doing this, the plants once again became visible for the neighbourhood. We were interested in creating work that has more to do with street art than high art. In the end, though, our work still ended up in a museum. But we approach the museum as a workspace where we also demonstrate our working process. We want to present Ikebana City only as a performance or a process. Of course, it is always interesting to see how you do this in the context of a museum. We will see how it works.

You have done Ikebana City in New York and Lisbon and are now presenting it in Amsterdam. Do you still wander the streets without a preconceived plan?

Lotte Geeven: We let ourselves be surprised by what we see. We talk about it and then put what we find in a bag. That's how the collection grows for each neighbourhood. When we are back in the studio, we sort through what we have gathered to determine which things are interesting and which are just ordinary. During the second sorting phase, we bring out the vases and the draping cloths and compose the still lifes. The process involves a constant dialogue, and it is not completely spontaneous. There are two conditions that the project must meet. The plants must be photographed against a grey background, and then given back to the city in the form of posters. By following these simple guidelines, you create beautiful forms that also allow the residents to look at their city in a different way.

Are there differences between your individual working methods?

Semâ Bekirovich: We are polar opposites, but that actually works very  well.  Lotte is very uninhibited. I find her spontaneity to be so liberating. Being physically focused on what you are doing and losing yourself in it, and only discovering later what you have brought into being. I don't think Lotte has any fear at all.

Lotte Geeven: I am constantly moving things, doing things, and this is also a form of thinking for me. Semâ is like a cat. She can look at something for a very long time.  She quietly compiles information, and then suddenly she pounces and knows exactly what needs to be done. It is helpful to see that you can approach things calmly and from a certain distance. We think the contrasts between us are interesting, and we appreciate them in all their aspects. In our experience, these differences complement each other quite naturally. But sometimes they clash too, in a good way, which only serves to refine our work even more.

Semâ Bekirovich: We each put our own mark on the photos. Lotte has a more aesthetic perspective than I do, while I have more of an affinity for odd combinations that usually tell more of a story. In the end, only one of us pushes the button to take the photo, but we create the images together.

Can other people take part in Ikebana City?

Semâ Bekirovich: We really want to start experimenting with that now. To date, we have been the only ones who collected the plants and composed the still lifes. It would certainly be intriguing if the project could serve as a framework and allow other people to participate in the process. That is an experiment: to what extent is it going to happen, and will we actually be able to let go of the reins? Ultimately, it would be interesting to extend the project to other geographic locations and to involve more and more people, so it would involve more of a social element.

You both attended the Rijksakademie, but at different times. What role did the Rijksakademie play for you each individually?

Lotte Geeven: The budding  and most experimental ideas are nurtured at the Rijksakademie. You are given ample encouragement to properly study an idea and flesh out its possibilities. As a result, you can sometimes really exceed your own abilities. Semâ Bekirovich: The Rijksakademie is truly a catalyst. Suddenly, you are an artist, and you have been given the stamp of approval. You have to break free of this pressure, because, in the end, creating art is about daring to fail. That's why Ikebana City is so interesting, because it is so different from how we normally work.

Kim Knoppers

The exhibition, Alumni of the Rijksakademie - RE-Search, is on  from 31 August - 14 October 2012.


  1. Thanks for sharing.I found a lot of interesting information here. A really good post, very thankful and hopeful that you will write many more posts like this one.

  2. Customer Satisfaction Surveys, or CSAT, provide you with a way to gather honest, qualitative feedback from your app users. Combined with a quantitative metric ...

  3. You’re so cool! I don’t suppose I’ve read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. Really! Thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the Best Flyer Maker App, someone with a little originality. Useful job for bringing something new to the internet!

  4. On the disadvantage, weightlifting shoes are not actually blogreasonable for some blogother sort of exercise action so in the event that you plan to run on a treadmill or utilize a paddling machine, you may have to take two sets of shoes to the rec center with you. Weightlifting blog shoes are hard-wearing and should last you for quite a long time which is something worth being thankful for as they can be costly. In any case, on the off chance blogthat you need a strong base from which to lift significant burdens, they can have a great deal of effect.Treadmill time. On the off chance that you check in miles blog on the treadmill each time you go to the rec center, you ought to put resources into running shoes. Pick shoes that give you the help you need dependent on how you run; overpronators, fo blogr instance, need shoes that hold their feet back from moving internal while they run. For additional tips on the most proficient method to pick the correct running shoe, blog read our recommendation here, and discover more about pronation a blognd running styles here. Pick shoes blogthat give you the help you need dependent on how you run; overpronators, for instance, need shoes that hold their feet back from moving internal while they run. For additional tips blogon the most proficient method to pick the correct running shoe, read our recommendation here, and discover blog more about pronation and running styles here.

  5. There are so many online casino games to pick from and details to pay attention to. You’ll discover that it’s not that difficult to get started, but that you’ll run into loads of different casino terms, rules and lingo and you’ll sòngbạc-trựctuyế
    need to know what those entail. In general, the rules of the games are pretty straightforward, but you certainly shouldn’t start gambling in an online casino before you understand exactly what’s involved. Let’s take a closer look at some key online casino information that you’ll want to know by heart.

  6. Hello, Thanks for sharing this blog , thisis very helpfull for me , if you want any help regarding pc repair in plantation then contact with DrPhoneFix Cooper City. more detail-

  7. 一篇优秀的文章离不开引用参考文献,英国作业代写也多次跟同学们强调过参考文献的重要性,那么引用参考文献时都有哪些注意事项呢?