RIA Salon 76:Petra Halkes, Utrecht


RIA Salon 76

Petra Halkes:

BAK Summer School: Art in a Time of Interregnum

RIA Salon 76, Petra Halkes, Utrecht - Microsoft Word 25092017 113618 AM.bmp

 This Salon took place on October 4 or Friday October 6- 2017, 

There will be a third presentation on Monday November 13, 7:30 PM

At RIA, email researchinart.ria@gmail.com for your personal invitation and the address

Seats are limited, so please rsvp, asap


Petra writes:

Enthused but somewhat overwhelmed I returned home from a week-long Summer School at BAK basis voor actuele kunst (Utrecht) this summer. I think a RIA Salon will be a good place to start sharing some of the ideas and art projects that were discussed at BAK. I would like to integrate some of what I have learnt there in the RIA programming next year. As 2018 is creeping up on us, I squeezed myself into an-already-busy Salon schedule this fall.

As you know, the RIA Artists Project Room is on hiatus.  After more than two years, RIA’s last project, Growing up Human, ended last March with Svetlana Swinimer’s far-out exhibition Space-Scape. I needed some time to develop and articulate a new long-term theme.

Affected as we all are by news of wars and famines, mass displacements, tyranny  and populism, I felt that now, perhaps more than ever, artists need to be critical of their own practice and be aware of its relationship to the world they live in.  Should we not, then, at RIA, concentrate on critically engaged art, interventionism and activism?  What shapes can art take in such a process? These were the questions I was (and still am) trying to find answers to.

In early June, a call for applications for BAK’s Summer School, “Art in a Time of Interregnum,” appeared in my inbox, articulating some of these same questions. Beginning with: “the understanding that ours is a time of interregnum- a time of ongoing transition,” BAK asked: “How to think art under such circumstance, and how to think about the contemporary with and through art in order to build space for envisioning ways of being together otherwise?”

I spent an intense five days in July listening to Maria Hladajova, BAK’s inspiring director, and other invited speakers. I learned a great deal about art groups and projects active all over the world that I knew very little about. Equally inspiring were the group discussions with some thirty like-minded peers from many different countries: students, artists, curators and academics.

So much of what I learned was new to me, and may be new to you too. I will show a few fun-slides from the engaging city of Utrecht, but, fair warning, I expect this Salon will be a little less casual than usual, and require some real concentration and serious discussion. For this reason, I plan to do this Salon twice, with smaller groups. Pick your date!

Hope you’re up for it!


Petra Halkes is a painter, independent art-writer and curator. She has exhibited in solo and group shows at public venues and at Cube Gallery. Halkes has curated a number of exhibitions in artist-run centres and the Ottawa Art Gallery, and one in The Hague, where she was born. Her PhD thesis was published by UTPress in 2006. She has written reviews and articles for national magazines and exhibition catalogues, many about local artists.

Petra happily thanks the Canada Council for the Arts for the Professional Development Grant for Artists grant she received for attending the BAK Summer School and Documenta 14 (Kassel)

  • We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
  • Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.
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