Vincent Vulsma

Galerie Cinzia Friedlaender

There are some exhibitions that at first glance seem exciting and completely convincing—but then somehow leave you feeling perplexed. The young Dutch artist Vincent Vulsma’s recent show in Berlin was one such puzzle. Vulsma does everything right: He compellingly executes intelligent ideas. Yet ultimately it’s hard to know what to do with them.

Hanging in the gallery were eight almost identical, glistening, jet-black—well, what are they? Canvases, paintings, objects? Hybridity characterizes this art from the word go. On the one hand, all eight works start with a standardized, prefabricated, and pre-primed canvas of the kind sold in every art-supply store. Their product code, ARS NOVA E5305-B, was also the title of the exhibition as well as (with the addition of a sequential number) each individual work, all dated 2009. On the other hand, Vulsma doesn’t paint these canvases in any conventional

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