was an exercise in making an art show, which offered its visual content to the visitor with an open approach. Visual art is a form of knowledge based on giving and receiving information, directly by looking and relating to an artwork. No “other” knowledge is required because visual knowledge connects directly to our own inner knowing.
For too long now, we have been forced to judge and comprehend the visual works artists make in a rational way. Ranking and excluding beautiful works are not what artists desire when making works of art. Artists want to give artworks. We as artists, should regain our domain in society and the artworld by making artshows that give its full potential to a public who isn’t exclusive but whole. Art can be displayed in many ways but should always be shown in an inclusive way, by which it communicates directly with the viewer. It should invite the viewer in, and not create a distance estranging them.
All IS GIVING was made as a public art space where people could enter the exhibition as many times as they wanted for free. Artists and staff would prepare meals twice a day, and for a few euros you had a simple meal. For the two months this exhibition ran, we and our production team, Lieselot Van Damme and Nadia Benchagra, were present and hosted the space. We were also available to speak with individuals or groups who visited, providing information about specific artworks or on its entirety. We deliberately chose not to display any text or other curatorial information about the exhibition, except for numbers on the floor which corresponded to the names of the artists and titles of the works. These lists of names and titles hung in various places, should a visitor be curious. The visitor was asked to take her or his own stance. We did not design a route or path to walk through the space. One may cast a glance upon an object; tracing it with the eyes, approach, meet another object, and then keep walking until he or she stops to stare at a colour or something else that draws them near. The world around us is changing, demanding new connections and consciousness from all of us about our future. Artists should be among the first to enter new spaces, materializing forms and colours that inspire or provoke people to re-claim their freedom and take responsibility for the time we are living in.

This book is a printed version of the ALL IS GIVING space, photographed and designed to live on after the show has been taken down. What does it mean to inspire people? How can we inspire people to be more conscious? How can we wake each other up to our inner spirit and give time and space to recognize new possibilities in our lives? Why do we have the urge to do this? We believe it is because the thing we must do is give. To give and receive art is the ability to see and experience something special about an artwork, triggering the senses of a physical world within and around the visitor. Artworks that come from a world where aesthetics, form and colour are essential. There were nearly a hundred artworks filling the space. The space was transformed into a newly formed environment from wood. Inside, a table served as a library for books and catalogues of all the artists. Little stools were constructed of wood, left-over from the slanted corners encapsulating the wooden space. Small tables were cut from material used to protect the piles of wood sheets used in making the whole construction. The complete space was made by the hands of both volunteers and artists.By a constant presence of Esther and Ad, each corner, angle or wall would become unique and tangible.


The exhibition space, an old post office in the centre of Groningen, was the right spot as it has functioned as public space for a very long time. We endeavored to make an exhibition space that was sensitive, paying attention to every detail and corner, to make it function as a positive space. Participating artists were chosen on their ability to learn and renew their art practice constantly. Our ideas are based on an inclusive art practice, working with art, space and public. The space is an intermediary between the artwork and public, where both converge to form a welcome exhibition. This is why we invested energy in making the space’s physical presence autonomous and sensitive to our visitors, so that they would feel welcome to take part, strolling alongside these artworks, relaxing or sitting down and adopting art and space. Everybody has the ability to adapt to an artwork by looking and inhaling its beauty or form. No knowledge is necessary to look at a tree nor at an artwork. ALL IS GIVING is one way to make a complete visual environment.

Ad de Jong & Esther de Graaf


All is Giving

Grafisch ontwerp en artdirection boek All is Giving. Het boek telt vijf verschillende papiersoorten, is gelijmd in een kartonnen omslag die met de hand in 8 kleuren is gezeefdrukt. Elk exemplaar heeft een unieke omslag. De oplage is 1.000 ex. Waarvan 600 voor de verkoop. All Is Giving  is gemaakt om kunst en publiek een nieuwe ruimte te geven die inclusief is. Het is niet alleen een tentoonstellingsruimte maar ook een ontmoetingsplek.

Opdrachtgever: Stichting Public Artspace
Fotografie: VentoBoreale