The Garden

Featuring work by Thomias L. Radin, Szaweł Płóciennik, Cesc Abad & Lera Dubitskaya

(Curated by Thom Oosterhof for The Curators Room)

03 February 2023 – 24 March 2023


The Curators Room – Amsterdams Chapel

Prinses Irenestraat, 19


The Curators Room is proud to present the group show, The Garden, curated by the New Zealand-born, Amsterdam based curator, Thom Oosterhof. The show weaves together a series of audacious visions with works by 4 international artists: Thomias L. Radin (Abymes, Guadeloupe, 1993), Szaweł Płóciennik (Warsaw, 1987), Cesc Abad (Barcelona, 1973) & Lera Dubitskaya (Polonia, 1996). The central theme that guided the curatorial selection for the show is the daring and fearless nature innate to the authors’ respective processes and techniques that concern the distorted human figure in bizarre natural spaces.

This show marks Oosterhof’s 6th curatorial effort; a passion explored in the past few years following some 10 years of collecting art. The perspective cultivated by his experience as a collector places emphasis not merely in selection but in a kind of matchmaking: the curator seeks to find meaningful ways of inserting exciting and challenging work into the art market with less importance placed in heady discourses or concepts that typically dominate European art spaces. This speaks to his methodology which is fuelled by the desire to nurture a new generation of collectors through accessible and non-intimidating approaches to presenting art.

In the words of the curator, “when I think curatorially, I try to grapple with the idea of what makes my contributions valuable. What does my personal vision and selection bring to the table? I want to move away from the idea of a curator who simply selects. What conversations do I spark in bringing a series of artists together, both between them and with the public? I am particularly interested in coming up with an idea in dialogue with the artists to then create a unique connection with the viewer which they wouldn’t have had without our interventions.

Regarding the concept behind the present exhibition, Oosterhof reimagines possible configurations of a plurality of existences and realities in a chapel constructed in the 1960s. The curator looks to challenge aging notions of access to holy and sacred spaces, instead suggesting a garden of multiplicities in which non-binary voices converge with lyrical perspectives in a kind of lush cornucopia of diverse works of art.

The 4 artists share a common interest in the human (or non-human) figure yet rely greatly on their capacity to abstract and break the recognisable figure down. From absurd and sardonic imagery to fantastical, beastly environmental fusions, the varied approaches are centralised by the artists’ brave way of dissolving the canons that have historically defined classical figurative portraiture.

“With this show, I am trying to envision an ultimate version of garden of eden. Given my partially religious upbringing, and despite the fact that I don’t identify with any spirituality currently, I recognise that there is room for a variety voices and bodies in christian spaces. Inviting diverse visions into a more conventional space can produce exciting contrasts and maybe can give organize religion a bit of a nudge to more generously embrace and respect the fluidity present in humanity,” reflects Oosterhof.

“All of the artists portray scenes of figures that are in communion with nature, which I think we should all strive for in our own lives. Szaweł works with many androgynous, non-binary creatures that suggest mythical figures that inhabit a hyperrealistic natural space treated with a surreal use of color. Lera also shares a fascination for the mythical and uses imagery that diverges away from even further from the human. There’s an edge and darkness to it, a menacing presence despite their small size which invites the viewer to have a more intimate relationship with the piece,” narrates the curator.

He continues: “Thomias is from Guadeloupe and was raised in France, and paints waterscapes with many aquatic elements that reflect his roots in dance. He takes influences from the modern world and combines them with various visual motifs from his island home. Cesc Abad, a Catalan painter, portrays the grand truths of humanity in a comedic way. There’s something naïve yet at the same time his compositions are highly reflective of our times; how humans can be incoherent, how debauchery and wrongdoing can be comical. He brings a lightness to the show’s overall tone.”

Thomias Radin
Angel Always strive and Prosper (AASAP)
Artist frame, oil on linen
184 x 221 x 4,3 cm

Thomias Radin
Angel Always strive and Prosper (AASAP)
artist frame, oil on linen
184 x 221 x 4,3 cm

Lera Dubitskaya
mhm, 2022
oil and colored pencils on paper
11,7 x 14,8 cm

Cesc Abad
Oil On Canvas
200 x 200 cm