Topp & Dubio: Artist duo has no idea (but newspaper editor does)

Artist duo has no idea
Striking press release in the inbox: “The Hague artists Topp & Dubio travel to Belarus without material for an exhibition project of which they have no idea why it is taking place.”

Frits Dijcks and Sander de Haas claim that for the first time in twenty years they have no inspiration and are in ‘a serious artistic crisis’. But yes, the tickets have now been booked, so they left for Minsk on Thursday.
Without knowing what they are actually going to do there, says Frits Dijcks by telephone, on the way to the airport.

How serious are you?

“Very seriously. Although it is not surprising that some see this as a joke. The role of the artist is often discussed with us. But this is sincere. We thought, let’s say out loud that we have no idea, and see what it yields. This may well be the most honest exhibition we have ever made. Because normally we have a plan in advance. We order materials. And then leave a few things to the moment. That is professional. But somehow also unfair again. You are then the director of your own situation, now we are… well.”

The Hague artist duo has been active for twenty years and works a lot in Russia. They were then invited by curators from Gallery Y in Minsk to organize an exhibition. “We met in Minsk in February. We clicked. Minsk is a very interesting city. We had a good feeling about it. Normally we come up with new ideas. But now? Nothing came. Every now and then we received e- emails from Minsk. About what they had to budget. Well.”

“We tried to cancel the project. They: no, no, you really have to come. If necessary, you can get out of your crisis here.”

Dijcks calls their work ‘rather complicated. They work with installations and performance art, but also make less tangible projects. “We also have something going on in The Hague that actually needs to be finished. But we no longer know where to get the energy from.”

For someone in a serious artistic crisis, you sound quite cheerful.

“We are not depressed either! It is not something to be sad about. Besides, it is a myth to think that art only comes from inspiration.

“It’s okay to fail as an artist, but you have to do it gloriously. Suppose you fail in a very lame way, then there is no room for that.”

This is not a statement about the ‘concept of art’?

“Well, that possibility is starting to grow now. Thanks to your kind of reactions, we can’t avoid thinking about it. But it is possible that the lethargy will continue. The opening is scheduled for Tuesday evening, but I saw that they still did not announce this on their site.”Published in newspaper Trouw –  06-04-2016Topp & Dubio