Num Num / 2014

Stamps on paper / 75-frame animation loop

This set of 75 hand-stamped prints and the animation that was created from them were part of an annual project organised by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. The name num num derives from a scene in a 1968 comedy film called The Party, featuring Peter Sellers*.
Hoogerbrugge had twenty or so stamps made from his drawings of different sized birds in various stages of flight that he used to create 75 unique prints of a now happy, now sad face surrounded by a whirling flock. The animation that was displayed with the prints at the exhibition was made by photographing each of the prints and sequencing them to create a jittery, constantly changing cloud of black birds swirling around the face. ‘Alfred Hitchcock Meets Hoogerbrugge’, states an apt comment below the video of the animation on the Prostress Youtube site.
For twelve years the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has organised the special Kunst4Kids sales exhibition for its youngest visitors: children and youngsters between the ages on 5 and 18 are given the opportunity to purchase their first art work (or works, if they’re already delinquent drug dealers with cash to launder). This cunning plan is aimed at igniting the collector spark in at least a few of them so that museums and art dealers have guaranteed clientele for the future.
For Kunst4Kids 2014 (27 April – 4 May), the museum invited 26 Dutch artists to make a special work for this project – the artists had a free hand and could create anything: drawings, statues, collages, photographic and video works, etc. But no one knew who the participating artists were beforehand. Parents and grandparents were forbidden from entering the exhibition, providing the youngsters with an exclusive opportunity to pay a measly €35 for their very first work of art (probably, for most of them) without also having to pay homage to their parents’ prejudices.

Hoogerbrugge’s limited edition of 75 prints sold out entirely, making all the youthful buyers part of an exclusive cabal (even within the Hoogerbrugge cult), each bound to the others by owning one of the ‘frames’ from this animation. Who knows – perhaps at some point in the future they will even flock together themselves to flap their prints… But it remains to be said: whether the success of this edition this should be taken as an indication of any kind of taste at all remains debatable.

Commissioned by: Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Edition: prints: 75 + 2 AP; animation: 5 + 1 AP
Exhibited: Kunst4Kids 2014, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 2014
Links: Num Num Animation on Youtube

* I remember watching this film as a kid and we laughed so much that all of us leaked a little bit of wee, even Mum and Dad. My sister showed it to her own kids a few years back, who were so bored by it they ended up using their nose dirt to recreate a miniature replica of Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty instead.

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