Team The New Current: Inger van Beek, Sophie de Vos, Yvonne de Jong. Photography: Nicoline Rodenburg

In conversation with…Sophie de Vos

Three years ago she started The New Current together with Yvonne de Jong; a platform for talented young artists. But The New Current goes beyond solely presenting artworks and focuses – in its own words – on opening up the art world for a new generation.

During the upcoming Rotterdam Art Week, TNC will be relocated again in the former indoor parking garage of the Spaanse Kubus on Vlaardingweg.
But what was the ambition when they started in 2016? How are they now, early November 2020, during the partial lockdown? How do they work and what can we expect next edition?

With what ambition did you start The New Current?
In 2015 I graduated from ArtEZ, in Fine Art. I knew Yvonne de Jong, graduated from the Willem de Kooning academy in 2014 and founder of Root Gallery in Rotterdam; a gallery and exhibition space for young artists. We shared the opinion that there are so many beautiful places in Rotterdam where you can show art. And that there are so many recently graduated artists with beautiful installations but without exhibition space. Because without a gallery it becomes difficult as an artist to show your work. With that in mind we started The New Current in 2016.

Photography: Nicoline Rodenburg

So you offer young artists a stage, or do you offer them even more?
The New Current is indeed a Rotterdam based platform for artists at the start of their career. We produce a yearly thematic exhibition solely with works of artists that graduated no longer than five years ago. With an additional program around network expansion, entry to the market and professional development, The New Current responds to the current situation within the art market. The domination of large galleries and art fairs creates a difficult position for starting artists who want to enter it. With the additional demise of smaller art spaces that focus on experimental presentations, it’s becoming even more challenging for young talents to develop, present and prove themselves. With The New Current we want to offer young and promising artists a new, much needed platform.

Your first presentation during the Rotterdam Art Week was in 2019, in the Cruise Terminal, on the Wilhelminakade. Now the exhibition takes place for the second time in the Spanish Polder. Better?
Our very first presentation in 2016 took place in Kralingen, during Kunstroute Kralingen-Crooswijk, with 200m2. In 2019 we participated for the first time in the Art Week, which was indeed in the Cruise Terminal, with a joint presentation of 800m2. A nice place, but now – in the former parking garage in the Spanish cube – we have a lot more space at our disposal; about 2000 meters. And that literally provides space for the installations. We can therefore say to artists: “think big”. The space in the former parking garage therefore suits us perfectly.

Photography: Nicoline Rodenburg

How do you prepare the exhibition in the current corona period?Normally we go to a variety of graduation exhibitions. We now have a large network of varying committees that nominate young artists, whether recently graduated or not. That network is very nice, very important too. Yvonne and I are both curators of the exhibition; Inger is a project coordinator and provides the structure, which is also very essential.

In recent months, during the corona period, there have been fewer graduation exhibitions, fortunately including those of the Rietveld and HKU. It remains so important to see and experience art. That is why we are so happy that we can present The New Current during the Rotterdam Art Week!

What do you expect from the upcoming Rotterdam Art Week edition?
We are hopeful that we will all be back on the road again in early February, after the current partial lockdown. We are now (November 2020, ed.) still in the middle of the selection procedure of the participating artists. We are again very happy with the level and the artist presentations for the upcoming edition of The New Current.

We can organize TNC completely corona-proof and I actually expect a very good edition, with really art interested visitors. If we can conclude anything at this corona period, it is; that people love to experience art and culture so much. On the other hand, we also see an enormous need among the artists to present their work. There are so many artist projects currently “on hold”, really awful. I expect that festival atmosphere even more than before; artist who together, in positive energy, will create a beautiful presentation! I really hope so because we give it so much to the artists.

Photography: Philine van den Hul