Nadine Amelang (DE), Kasper Andreasen (DK), André Avelãs (POR), Laurenz Brunner (CH), Yumi Choi (DE), Marta Jurkiewicz (PL), Elke Roelant (BE), Marieke Schoonderbeek (NL), Marianne Vierø (DK)

The exhibition START showcases work by 9 recently graduated art students. These 9 artists or 'authors' were selected from the degree shows at the art academies in the Netherlands. Work from various (most) mediums are on view: photography, installation, film, sculpture, sound, drawing and painting.

It would be close to impossible to summarize the state of affairs at Dutch art academies today in 500 words or less, but seeing as everyone enjoys a good sum now and again, though fated to fall short, I'll try. If I were so cheeky as to make a list, a top 4, for this year, and this year only, then the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam comes out far above the rest, the Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam second, the Academie voor Kunst en Vormgeving St. Joost in Breda and the Christelijke Hogeschool van de Kunsten C. Huygens (now in Zwolle) tie in at third and the AKI Akademie van Beeldende Kunst in Enschede at a close forth. Hence the glaring imbalance in the selection of START: 6 of the 9 graduated from the Rietveld, the other 3 from the Jan van Eyck in Maastricht, the Willem de Kooning Academie and the AKI.

Much of this ranking has to do with simple awareness and a willing ambition, not only on the part of the students, but also the tutors and the academy directors. Rotterdam was smart to put together a very professional presentation, the St. Joost as well as the Cabk (Zwolle) were varied and promising and fresh, the AKI was a bit of a disappointment but I had high expectations, while the Rietveld was a perfect example of an unruly, ambitious, aware-of-the-world-around-them kind of attitude.

And that's what we need, and the more the better: makers, authors, artists -choose a term- who are, bottom-line, j u s t p l a i n a w a r e o f t h e w o r l d a r o u n d t h e m, who react to it, stubbornly, intelligently, shockingly or subtly. Who get us to think about something, anything really, in a new way, even if only for a brief moment.

These 9 do. Without trying to over-thematise their practice, I think I can safely say that their works involve the needed 'twist'. Each sets up a personal logic or set of rules they wish to work within and then do so, though do so critically. In other words, they choose their framework and investigate it consistently. That might sound awfully dry but it isn't; it isn't because as they're investigating, they're also taking the piss, in a good way, in a smart way, 'twisting' their own acquired logic and playing with it and then handing it over to us.

[Maxine Kopsa]

The invitation for START was designed by Kasper Andreasen.

André Avelãs will be holding an on-going sound happening during the opening and on Saturday 17 September and Saturday 1 October, from 4 p.m.

Thanks to the Rietveld library.