14 May – 26 Jul 2004

A Short Walk

Praneet Soi

Praneet Soi’s (Calcutta/Amsterdam) intervention in De Inkijk is the kick-off of a short-term collaboration between W139 and SKOR. W139 will be presenting work in De Inkijk on three separate occasions, after which it will pass the baton to the next artists’ initiative invited by SKOR.

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The installation that the artist has developed for De Inkijk forms an integral part of his investigation of the ‘rhetoric of the image’. The inspiration for this particular installation was the maritime Panorama Mesdag, which was first presented to the public in 1881 by painter Hendrik Willem Mesdag.

This cylindrical painting can still be viewed in the special building that was erected for it on the Zeestraat in Scheveningen. Over the last two years, Soi has studied the construction of the Panorama Mesdag and the methods used by Mesdag to manipulate the viewer’s perception.

When W139 invited Soi to make a work for De Inkijk, this research led the artist to conceive a miniature semi-panorama that depicts the direct surroundings of the exhibition space. The work combines Soi’s interest in the mechanisms of the trompe l’oeil with the narrative potential of miniature painting, a style that has been used across cultures to tell stories in a pictorial mode. The beach that is shown in the Panorama Mesdag is a painted rendition of a seaside view near the Panorama building.

Following this basic premise, Soi presents a city view in De Inkijk that refers to the immediate surroundings of the location. In order to realise this miniature a visual report of a day spent in the vicinity of De Inkijk – Soi built a special drawing apparatus that borrows from both the cylindrical glass perspective frame used by Mesdag to paint his beach scene and the instrument that Dürer developed to study perspectival shortening. Soi’s painting is presented in such a way that it can be viewed from several angles. An isolated section of the canvas can be studied through a telescopic lens, allowing the viewer to fall straight into the events portrayed, but giving no indication as to the precise scale of the semi-panorama.

A different window allows the public to observe the installation in its entirety: the size of the painting, the suspension, and the drawing apparatus built by Soi upon which the miniature image is presented.

On May 28, 2004, 8 p.m., curator Marijke de Jong of the Panorama Mesdag will discuss the cylindrical painting in Scheveningen and the historical development of the panoramic genre. This talk will take place in the passage running under the Rijksmuseum.