This series is about the most interesting and inspiring people living in Amsterdam.
In this episode we meet Willem Baars, who runs Baars Projects; a small but beautiful gallery in the centre of Amsterdam.
Willem is a man on a mission to disrupt the Amsterdam Art World and he doesn’t mince his words;
What is art, and what makes good art?
This question is at the heart of Willem’s work.
In Willem Baar’s own words
My name is Willem Baars, aged 42.
People know me as somebody who moves around in the art world. They probably think of me as being a bit controversial. I write newspaper columns and I have an opinion about what’s happening in the Amsterdam art world and I’m not afraid to say so.
I feel this puts me in a position which i think is rather rare. Because I feel truly independent and can act with autonomy with what is a rigid environment.
Most people in the art world in Holland are not independent because they survive through government subsidies. This makes it difficult for a lot of people to speak up.
We’re now standing in the middle of my gallery. It’s in the Hoogte Kadijk just out of the centre of Amsterdam. I opened this space in 2012 and I feel really good about this place. I’m really happy to have it because this is where I can create an impact on the Amsterdam Art world.
I do this first and foremost by showing good art.
At the moment we are exhibiting the work of Morgan Betz. He is an American / Dutch artist who is both sculpture and the painter and he is one of the Rising Stars here here in Holland.
I also get a lot of inspiration from literature. In particular I am a big fan of the Dutch book, De bruid van Marcel Duchamp by K. Schippers. This translates into English as something link in Search of the bride of Marcel Duchamp.
He is a writer I admire as he has the ability to make fiction from nonfiction. Often you have no idea whether what you are reading is fictitious, but he clearly loves his subjects, and it’s how they inspire his imagination that I find a beautiful thing to read.
The Definition of Good Art
It amazes me that I still discover art where I feel I’ve never seen anything like it before. In those precious moments you are reminded of the complexity of the heart and what it means to have your eyes opened.
Without these moments it would be very hard to have your own original thoughts, to think ‘out of the box’. Creativity is a give-and-take process and that process is ongoing. Every week I see a new piece of art or I read a new book or I listen to a new piece of music. There always exists this possibility that I this art can change my perspective or the beliefs I may have had the week before.
For me this is almost the definition of hope. There is creativity everywhere and more possibilities exist than you could ever imagine.
Find out more about Willem Baars