Pop-Up Thrift Shop

by Alina Lupu, as part of the residency Producing one another
Date: 13 November – 18 December 2021
Open during HMK opening hours (Thu-Sat, 13.00-17.00)
Price per item: 2 Euros, via QR (Tikkie)

As part of her residency Producing One Another, artist Alina Lupu will be installing a pop-up thrift shop in collaboration with charity foundation Dromehof – and alongside the Mother/hood/ing reading groups she is organising together with Isobel Dryburgh.

Artist Alina Lupu rounds off her long-term residency period with the implementation of several embodied pieces of reflection that intervene, renegotiate and feed back into HMK and its activities, thus carefully producing one another. For this installation – a fully up and running Pop-Up Thrift Shop with second hand clothing for every age and gender – Alina reflects on motherhood and mothering, for newborns and for those who have mothered but have since reached old age and need mothering for.

In order to realise the Pop-Up Thrift Shop, Alina partnered up with Dromehof, a charitable foundation with a second hand store in Zwaag, where all proceeds go to organising support material, get-togethers and outings for lonely elderly people. This year, they gathered funds for providing robot cats and dogs for people suffering from dementia, and they opened an activity center next to the shop. With the pop-up at HMK, Alina hopes to distribute some extra money to their cause, and to remind us to look out for the people that cared for us.

For more information: www.dromehof.nl

Alina Lupu says: Stichting Dromehof, located not too far from HMK, is a charity that operates a second hand clothing store and is working on helping the elderly with company and engagement. The main motivation behind bringing a piece of Dromehof into HMK as a pop-up thrift shop is social. One of my worries about my mom, while we were in residency together during July, was her loneliness and lack of support in old age. It’s hard to patch a worry of this size for myself, so with this small attempt I’ll try to patch the worry in others. Every item bought in this pop-up shop feeds back into the Dromehof system, to support their cause.

This might be a bit of a detour in trying to understand why a pop-up thrift store in Hotel Maria Kapel, but bear with me here. There’s an amazing scene at the very end of Rachel Cusk’s “A life’s work” which I will quote in full as a reference and which reminded me of what I did while in Hoorn, while in residency with my mother, and also how I hung out with my mother many times, in clothes stores, as some sort of bridge towards changing ourselves and keeping each other company. And here goes:

“I go to London, alone, for the weekend and walk stupidly around Oxford Street in the glare of an urban summer. Everything seems weirdly futuristic, as if I had been deposited there by a time machine. I want to buy clothes, to make up for two years in which I have been as far from fashion as an anthropologist on a long field trip: but the racks of things look incomprehensible and unrelated to me, like costumes for a drama in which I no longer have a part. I lack the desire for myself that would teach me what to choose; I lack the sense of stardom in my own life that would urge me to adorn myself. I am backstage, attendant. I have the curious feeling that I no longer exist in synchronicity with time, but at a certain delay, like someone on the end of a transatlantic phone call. This, I think, is what it is to be a mother. The most terrible feeling of stress and anxiety begins to mount in me there in the shop. My heart flails in my chest with panic. I long for my child, long for her as for a sort of double, a tiny pilot boat winging young and certain up the channel ahead of me, guiding the blind, clumsy weight of me through. I go to the children’s section of a department store and stand there amidst the cribs and the baby clothes, the teddy bears and the tiny shoes, and I feel alleviated, rescued, plugged into a source of life.

All day I have heard babies crying, faint threads of distress from elsewhere borne past me on the air, and each time I have felt a fine quiver of response, razor-sharp, immediate, and have had to steel myself not to look around. A baby begins to cry there in the children’s department, not six feet from me. It is the raw, tiny cry of someone only a few days old. I look up and see the pram, the mother frantically jiggling it with one hand while raking through racks of baby clothes with the other, her face a fist of concentration. She is debating something in urgent tones with the older woman – her mother – standing next to her. The baby’s cries are fast with barely a beat between them. I know that this means the woman has less than a minute to choose and purchase an outfit, but her mother disagrees with her choice and is remonstrating with her. I can see by the way she moves that her body is still stunned with childbirth. Go home, I think. Go home. Wrap the baby in a tea-towel, she won’t care. Just give in and go home. She doesn’t give in. She has an image of this shopping expedition and she is clinging to it with sharp teeth. She can’t bear something to go unresolved, unfinished, for she fears that nothing will ever be resolved again. She’s trying to keep up, to stay in time, but she’s swimming against a powerful current. I see her steal looks at her mother, brimming with longing and confusion, and hurt. After all these years she has discovered her mother’s secret and it is somehow disappointing, a let-down, for she is in those first days of her parturition both mother and child, and the passionate emotion she feels for her vulnerable self finds no reflection in her own mother’s disapproval, her compassionless urge to dispute. Years of human politics have adhered to her mother’s heart: they hang from it like stalactites, like moss. Her own heart is new, raw, frantically pulsing. Will time turn it, too, unfeeling?

The baby cries and cries; and it is all I can do to not lift it from its pram and hold its small, frightened body close against my chest, hold it and hold it until it stops, so certain am I that it would, that it would know that I knew, and be consoled.” 

Alina Lupu is a Romanian-born and bred, Dutch-based post-conceptual artist and writer. The focus of her practice is on precarious living and working conditions for art workers and laborers in general. In September 2020, she joined the program committee of Kunsthuis Syb in Beesterzwaag and she is a recent board member of Platform BK, where she strives to improve the position of (international) art workers and to stimulate the public debate on the role of visual art in society.

Visual identity: Ana-Maria Gușu.

Made possible with the help of: Mondriaan Fonds, Gemeente Hoorn.