Hollandse nieuwe ontdekt hoe goed Hollandse nieuwe smaakt
The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
This lithograph shows a school of fish, busy eating members of own species, as can be seen by the tails sticking out of the fish’s mouths. Although it could refer to the saying ‘big fish eat small fish’, in this picture there appears to be no difference in size between the fish that are eating and the ones being eaten. Through his work, René Daniëls regularly uses various levels of symbolism to point out competition in the art world. Here he might be referring to the idea of young artists (the Hollandse nieuwe, which could be taken to mean Dutch novices as well as soused herring) trying to make a name for themselves by eliminating the competition. However Daniel once said that he came up with this idea while he himself was eating soused herring. It tasted so good that he thought to himself, "Imagine if they were to discover how good they taste. Perhaps they would eat each other up and we’d be left with nothing!"
The print is part of a portfolio of ten lithographs by young artists from Brabant and Zeeland, and published by curator Geert Schriever. Figuration is important in their work, so by using it, they followed the international trend that, after a period in which minimalist and conceptual art had prevailed, the narrative would be considered important again.
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