Practice

Esper Postma (Amsterdam 1988), is a Dutch visual artist. He received his education at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. Esper Postma had solo exhibitions in "P///AKT" in Amsterdam and "Moira" in Utrecht.

European Bodies

Kunsthalle am Hamburgerplatz, Berlin, 2016
Publication (80 pages)
Materials: paper

The publication “European Bodies“ was made in collaboration with Maurits Koster. It is based on our long-standing research into questions around European identity, as well as the identity politics of the European Union. The publication bundles a series of ideas, proposals and essays revolving around these themes.

The book is subdivided in five sections, each of which is elaborating on a different subject. For example, the first section consists of a series of images taken of workers in the process of renovating the emblematic Euro sculpture, located in Frankfurt. The section “Retaking Europe” is presumably written by a consulting firm. It proposes to turn the whole Greek territory into an international music festival in order for the country to reciprocate on its financial debt. The section “European Bodies - notes on institutions” is an attempt to write a genealogy of the phenomenon “institution”. The text is juxtaposed with images of European nudists.

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Wertfreiheit

Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, 2016
Video-installation (Duration: 21:30)
Materials: 4K to HD video projection, ergonomic chairs

The installation “Wertfreiheit” gives insight to the often-concealed world of management consulting. The film documents a workshop that I initiated. A team of professional consultants was set the task to come up with new initiatives for preventative care in the corporate office environment. A core investigation of this work is into the neo-liberal motives behind the promotion of efficiency in the workplace.











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Blue coloured easter egg topped with 12 golden stars, enclosing a miniature mechanical song bird


Städelschule Rundgang, Frankfurt, 2015
Sculpture (25 x 25 x 140 cm)
Materials: Egg timer, plinth

"Blue coloured easter egg topped with 12 golden stars, enclosing a miniature mechanical song bird" consists of an egg-timer with the logo of the European Union, adjusted to continue revolving and ticking, without ever ringing. ‘Easter egg’ refers to the Imperial Fabergé eggs that the Russian Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II had made each year as Easter gifts for their wives and mothers.










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Untitled (1964 to 2001)

McKinsey&Company, Frankfurt, 2014
Sculpture (450 x 450 x 85 cm)
Materials: Wood

In collaboration with Maurits Koster

“Untitled (1964 to 2001)” arose from the invitation to an exhibition in the office spaces of the consulting firm McKinsey&Company in Frankfurt am Main. The project consists of a custom made, oversized circular conference table. While the table can be used by the employees for their meetings, its great size and peculiar height unsettle the distinction between form and function.

The table references the “War Room” in the film “Dr. Strangelove” (released in 1964) by Stanley Kubrick, in which American officers and politicians gather to avert the destruction of the planet. The work thus approaches the practice of consulting as a political affair, as opposed to the claim of many consulting firms that their practice is neutral.



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Betere Betrekkingen (repetitie III)

Moira, Utrecht, 2013
Video-installation (Duration: 40 min)
Materials: four displays, travelogue, video projection, projection screen

“Betere Betrekkingen (repetitie III)” looks into three different generations of my family history and their relationship to the Dutch East Indies. My grandfather, Ab Willem Ruys, grew up on Java, where his childhood was abruptly interrupted by the invasion of the Japanese in 1942. After spending three years in prison camps, he returned to the Netherlands in 1946.

The installation displays a travel journal that Ruys wrote during a trip back to Java in 1987. He made this journey with his family, to show them the places of his childhood. Combining memories of his youth with learned historical facts, the journal attests to Ruys’ efforts to reconcile his personal memories with the official historical narrative that slowly took shape after the war.

A second component of the installation consists of a 40 minute film whereby my father and I reenacted Ruys’ travels through Java. This sequence is juxtaposed with images of a sculptural reconstruction I made of my grandfathers library, which was filled with historical books about the Dutch East Indies. The film explores the consistencies and gaps of intergenerational memory by interweaving contemporary images with stories from my father and the text from my grandfather’s journal.

Por Algo Será

P/////AKT, Amsterdam, 2012
Video-installation (Duration: 13:28 min)
Materials: video projection, two projection screens

“Por Algo Será” is a two channel video installation that studies the process of mediating personal trauma. The actress Paula Lima grew up in an upper class family in Buenos Aires during the dictatorship of Jorge Ravel Videla. Shortly after the regime took power, her mother disappeared for 24 hours. She had been detained and questioned regarding her relationship to the left intellectual elite.

I invited Lima to write a script based on her memory of this event and to take the role of the director in the reenactment. The resulting installation shows Lima being confronted by the inexpressibility of her trauma. The right screen shows the actors trying to act out the script according to Lima’s directions. The left screen depicts Lima in a fraught attempt to reconstruct the events in accordance to the truth of her own experience and memory.


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Expressions of Guilt in Animal Behaviour

Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, 2011
Sculpture (260 x 245 x 246 cm)
Materials: wood, bricks, metal, glass, street tiles, plants, sand, earth, cardboard boxes, tl lights, taxidermic animals

The installation “Expressions of Guilt in Animal Behaviour” is an ambiguous reframing of institutional display and knowledge production. It depicts a cross-section removed from a fictional museum of natural history and the flora surrounding the building. Original materials and building techniques were employed to resemble the 17th-century architecture that is typical of Dutch museums. The cross-section itself is a life size construction that positions the viewer in between the exhibition on the ground floor and the storage in the basement.








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Information/ Информация/ Informatie

Former hospital, Beelitz-Heilstatten, Germany, 2010
Installation
Materials: earth, plants, balustrade

The work “Information/ Информация/ Informatie” was made during my participation in the European Exchange Academy, which takes place in a former hospital outside of Berlin. Beelitz-Heilstätten is a complex of sixty buildings that once operated as a military hospital. Having been closed for over 25 years the complex now resembles something akin to a romantic ruin.

“Information/ Информация/ Informatie” is a rectangular section of garden from outside the exhibition space that was faithfully and meticulously transposed inside. An adjacent window within the space offers a view to the spot from which the section was lifted, leaving a negative patch of earth behind.





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Flag Bearer

Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, 2010
Installation
Materials: Staircase, tree, two timber poles, two plastic bags

The exhibition space lies 1.8 meter below ground level, with a window running the length of the room. Inside is a tree suspended at the height it would be planted were it outside. The windowsill is made accessible by a staircase, activating an unused space. At the top of the stairs the public has a view of the grass field behind the academy. The viewer, pressed against the window, now experiences the outside as being on display. The nearest tree to the window is similar in size and form to the tree inside. The viewer is standing exactly at the middle point between the two trees; one of which every detail is controlled and that is carefully displayed. And one that is ‘out there’, alive, with a plastic bag hanging from a branch that is frenetically dancing in the wind.




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