Everything in its right place with Sjors Bindels
We've always been committed to putting everything in its right place. Now more than ever, as opening West and splitting up our collection has been clear as day for us, It needs some explaining for the outside world. Starting with East, the store that propelled us in the public eye, our focus on outdoor luxury, Italian sportswear and the casual creative. A mix of the brandspeople- drive-for, with understated cool mixed in. Our West store focuses on the other side of the coin: harking back to our legacy. The type of product we started with back in 2012: that sneaker energy and our streetwear heritage. The month of October we will be further highlighting that message.
Sjors Bindels (Venlo, 1991) is a curator and works for the brand new museum Van Bommel Van Dam at the Keulsepoort 1, a stone's throw from our East store in Venlo.
As a curator I make exhibitions, write concepts and exhibition designs and yes... I place 'everything in the right place'. This with the aim of providing the visitor, the passer-by or participant a narrative. Making an exhibition, ultimately, is nothing more than telling good stories through and in collaboration with other artist and artworks.
I made my first exhibition when I was still at the art academy and it came about by accident. I had a thousand ideas for creating artworks about table tennis, sports and competition. I researched and wrote about this and then thought it would be more convenient to find colleagues who were already working on this topic. That's how I brought everyone together and under the title 'WHO'S THE RULER? CURATED BY SJORS BINDELS' (2015), based on the title of a work by André Wiehager, a diverse collection of narratives emerged, better told than any of the thousand works I had previously thought of.
Bringing together a mix of people, participants, artists and their stories and work played an important role in my studio practice from that moment on. In 2017, I was asked to make the last exhibitions in the old museum Van Bommel Van Dam, then still located at the Deken van Oppensingel. The first exhibition in that series 'PLAYHOUSE '71 '17' was, as the title says, a playhouse, full of young talented artists from the region in combination with colourful works from the collection and an active program of invited guests and everyone who wanted to do something. Walls were knocked down and so was the idea of what a museum should be for its environment and community. Giving space to young artists and cultural producers was my priority and when the final closing of the museum building was postponed for another three months, I saw a new opportunity to give a new group of young artists a stage. The process of making an exhibition usually starts for me with seizing or getting an opportunity, that opportunity whether it is at a museum in Venlo or a project space in Barcelona then requires a context and that is where the work begins: a concept. WAVING HANDS WHILE EVERYTHING ELSE IS SHAKING (2020) could have been an exhibition, this, last year or maybe it will come when the pandemic even lasts longer.
Having spent more time at home, in my room, where I worked, I realized how attached I was to the things around me. Artworks by artist friends, a craft work by my niece Nola, postcards, books, objects, clothing with stories, t-shirts designed by friends, my father's wedding suit that now fits me. To feel good I have to dress well, no sweatpants allowed during Zoom meetings. The cliché of the curator, preferably a turtleneck or high-neck and New Balance as in the photos... a dad look is allowed. And also with a jacket: simplicity and as long as you feel comfortable in it. I almost always buy shoes new, clothes for special occasions and a few basics, the rest I buy second-hand. We all tell a story about ourselves in our own way, composed and collected on the outside and inside. A shop, in the case of Calico Jack where you are reading this article now, does that too. Who are you? And who are your visitors? Where are you and what does that mean?
Everything in its right place. Since the summer of 2020, after living in Barcelona for a number of years, I am back in Venlo where I was able to help build a new, open and exciting museum in the past year. A museum that wants to be there for young makers (Tip 1: always make yourself known), for local artists and designers. This includes Atelier NL, the duo Nadine Sterk (1977, Gorinchem) and Lonny van Ryswyck (1978, Venlo) to talk about 'being in the right place’ again. In the exhibition 'Earth Alchemy-15 years of digging' they make the visitor think about everything that is already in the right place around us. For example, by thoroughly analyzing clay, sand and wood and processing them into ceramics or glass utensils and all of this at a local level, including clear blue Venlo glass made of sand from 't Jaomerdal. It is important to look around carefully and collect things, talent for example. That is where my focus will be for the foreseeable future. (Tip 2: show yourself)