de Volkskrant, The Netherlands, Friday 25 October 2013

Narcisistic Help to a Graffiti Artist
Jeanne Prisser

English translation: Heleen Schröder

Sometimes a work of art is good, even if the component parts are quite bad. The video I saw in Nest in the Hague by the duo Gil & Moti is 20 minutes long. All of that time I was thinking: hard to hear what's going on, poor image quality, shaky montage, and the artworks shown (because the protagonist is an artist) are an insult to the eye. I kept wanting to leave, but kept watching nonetheless.
This is what I saw: after meeting on the street in Stavanger, Gil & Moti (an Israeli-Rotterdam artists duo who look like Victor&Rolf in Willy Wonka land) take a destitute graffiti artist under their wing: Tommy, who also happens to be an alcoholic.
Thus begins an intensive course of mail therapy, filled with tips, targets, do's and don'ts, compliments and admonitory talks. Tommy replies with reports and photo's.
After a year he has stopped drinking, sports fuller cheeks, has found love and is about to exhibit with Gil & Moti. And truly: he marries his Catherine, whose mighty shoulders tower above a strapless wedding gown. Gil & Moti are witnesses to the ceremony. His parents are overcome with emotion.
Was I watching a tear jerker?
No, it turns out. Because all the while, as Gil & Moti are doing their Good Deed, they also make it clear that they are in it for themselves, too. They have taken mercy upon a sad case, and in exchange they get an art project: an installation and video in which they emerge as superheroes. They are vain and proud. When Tommy starts to doubt whether he wants to reveal his private troubles, they react sharply: look here, this was the deal.
Does this make their Good Deed less good? No, not really. And their messy video does give a crisp insight into human motives.
That is really the case for the entire exhibition Narcissistic Tendencies in Nest in the Hague. Regarding the ego -- a topic worthy of a museum -- curated by Eelco van der Lingen and Puck Verkade. Double egos, searching egos, egos that want to take you for a ride. Afterwards I determined to avoid mirrors for a while.

Publications
Selected Essays
Selected Reviews
Turun Sanomat- Pia Parkkinen
Puntkomma- Hugo Bongers
derStandard- Wiltrud Hackl
Stavanger Aftenblad- Trond Bogen
Politiken- Sara Maria Glanowski
Metropolis M- Jaring Dürst Britt
NRC- Manon Braat
Kunstbeeld - Wim van der Beek
de Volkskrant- Marina de Vries
New York Arts Magazine- Rodrigo Tisi