23 November 2017 - 1 March 2018
Three Crossings: El-Salahi, Hammons, Brouwn
Herengracht 603, 1017 CE Amsterdam


The Prince Claus Fund, together with the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK) present three visionary artists whose works have enriched global discourses of contemporary art. On view at three Amsterdam locations, the works by Prince Claus Laureate Ibrahim El-Salahi (Sudan, UK), Stanley Brouwn (Suriname, Netherlands) and David Hammons (USA), curated by art historian Salah M Hassan, are innovative, minimalist, sharply critical yet infused with wit. El-Salahi has defined modernism in Africa and the Arab world. Works by the conceptual artists Hammons and Brouwn have each unique influenced the contemporary art scene.


Ibrahim El-Salahi’s contribution to Three Crossings opens on 23 November as part of Amsterdam Art Weekend at the Prince Claus Fund Gallery. Join us for the opening of By His Will, We Teach Birds How to Fly: Ibrahim El-Salahi in Black and White. Details to follow.


Ibrahim El-Salahi (Sudan, 1930) combines African and Arabic traditions in new conceptual forms. El Salahi was a founding member of the influential Khartoum School movement in the 1960’s. He continued his studies in the UK and the USA and later served as Director of Culture for the Sudanese government. Following a coup attempt, he was abruptly imprisoned without charge. Subsequently, El Salahi went into exile in the UK, where he has continued his exploration of conceptual expression. El Salahi received the Prince Claus Award in 2001 and his works were featured in Tate Modern’s first retrospective on African Modernism in 2013.


“What makes him such an interesting artist […] is the sense of tension in his work between an intellect that seeks purity of expression and an imagination which wants to free itself from constraint.” – Adrian Hamilton in the Independent 15 July 2013


Stanley Brouwn (Surinam 1935 – Netherlands 2017) made Amsterdam his home in 1957 where he joined  the pioneers of Dutch conceptual art in the Zero movement as well as the minimalists of the international Fluxus movement of the 1960’s and 70’s. Brouwn experimented with participative art in which the act of creation was in the hands of the public, rather than the artist. His belief that the artist should be immaterial meant he refused to have his artwork reproduced, to be photographed or interviewed himself, or to attend openings. Although Brouwn remained an elusive artist, his works were exhibited in major museums, at the 1982 Venice Biennale and at four editions of documenta.


David Hammons (USA 1943) is one of the most important conceptual artists working today. In a career spanning over 50 years he has utilised a variety of media, often creating visual puns and including found objects to explore and comment on the realities of African-American life. Although he is considered one of the most influential American artists of the past half century, he avoids publicity, gives few interviews and sells his work from his studio rather than through gallery representation.



About the curator of Three Crossings: Salah M Hassan is an author, curator and art historian based at Cornell University in the US, where he is Goldwin Smith Professor and Director of the Institute of Comparative Modernities, Professor at the Africana Studies and Research Center, and Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture in the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies. He was a member of the Prince Claus Awards Committee (2012 – 2015).


About the Prince Claus Fund and the AFK:  The Prince Claus Fund and the AFK have initiated a new collaboration in 2017 to present international art and extraordinary creators in Amsterdam. Through this partnership, the Prince Claus Fund and the AFK have the following goal: to create and stimulate mutual inspiration and co-creation in the city, and inspire new social-cultural ideas.