September 3, 2011 – January 8, 2012
Three exhibitions are opening in the Van Abbemuseum on Saturday 3 September 2011, which focus on the vital relationship of the museum with artists and art lovers from the local area and see the city of Eindhoven as a source of artistic inspiration. The museum has been bringing international contemporary art to Eindhoven for three quarters of a century. It has built up an international position, partly due to the productive links with the immediate artistic environment. Artists, collectors, governments and various public groups have created close connections with the museum. They are an important foundation for its existence and quality. The Van Abbemuseum is keen to enter a debate with people who support, challenge or question the museum's ambitions. Each of the three exhibitions which comprise VANUIT HIER – OUT OF HERE focuses on the significance of artists, collectors and the city of Eindhoven for the Van Abbemuseum in its own way.
1. 'For Eindhoven’ – The City as Muse
Annette Krauss & Petra Bauer
Gerrit van Bakel
Joost van Roojen & Aldo van Eijk
'For Eindhoven’ – The City as Muse shows artworks made by international artists in Eindhoven and the province of Noord-Brabant during the last 30 years. The exhibition gives an overview of the works that have been initiated or commissioned by the Van Abbemuseum and sheds light on the city of Eindhoven as artistic muse which inspires artists to create unique works of art.
Using the rich 75 years history, the museum creates a dialogue between international and local.
The title of the exhibition is based on the work, Supplemented Standard Edition with Prussian Blue Shelf (for Eindhoven) (1990-1991). The artist Rodney Graham made this work specially for the museum and the title emphasises the inextricable links between the museum and the city of Eindhoven. Moreover, the work is a response to a work by Donald Judd (Untitled (Progression), 1969). The museum’s own collection forms the starting point in ‘For Eindhoven’ – The City as Muse. The works which are exhibited provide an entrance to important moments or quotations in the history of art, the story of the city and the museum itself. Some of these works are built up in a new form or context.
Over the years the artists in the exhibition have approached the city from a large number of perspectives. Some of them literally looked at an existing reality, like Stephen Willats, who responded to the social housing policy in Eindhoven with his Inside the Space We have Been Given (1979) and Contained Reality and Hidden Pressure (1979). Others found a source of inspiration in the location of the museum and its architecture, such as Gerard Byrne in his video A Thing is a Hole in a Thing that is Not (2010). In this video he films the museum’s collection of American Minimal Art and explores how it is installed, cared for and viewed in the museum context. A number of large scale installations will be rebuilt for the first time since their original presentation. For example, the architectural spiral designed by Aldo van Eyck to present the modular textile work by Joost van Roojen (1968-1969) will be exhibited again. Gerrit van Bakels’ work Eindhoven-aanwezigheidsmachine (1980) will also be reconstructed. This is a large machine to “process” his birthplace. Other works have been included because they focus on the debate about the role of the museum, such as Read the Masks. Tradition is not Given (2008 - 2009). This film by Petra Bauer and Annette Krauss about Zwarte Piet as a cultural phenomenon caused quite a bit of controversy a few years ago.
‘For Eindhoven’ – The City as Muse provides the public with their first, or a renewed introduction to key works from the museum’s own collection which have a direct link with Eindhoven as an artistic basis for contemporary art. The exhibition shows how art challenges the cultural climate and is important for a deeper understanding of our own culture. In addition, the works which are exhibited form a unique collection of specific memories of the role which the Van Abbemuseum has played in society for the last 75 years. Elements and details of historical projects and archival material from the last 75 years will be added and threaded through the whole exhibition.
Curator: Annie Fletcher
2. The Collectors Show
In the context of its anniversary the museum has invited ten collectors who are closely involved with the Van Abbemuseum to share their personal passion for the arts with the public. The collectors, who are all members of the Van Abbemuseum Promoters Foundation, selected one important work from their collection and explained their choice in a video interview which formed part of the exhibition. The museum itself also made a selection from these collections and in this way focused on a number of story lines within every individual collection. The works are exhibited on the five floors of the tower of the Van Abbemuseum, a very special setting for this exhibition. The internationally well-known designer Piet Hein Eek is responsible for the spatial design of the exhibition.
With The Collectors Show, visitors have a unique opportunity to see various works from private collections which are only rarely on display in the public domain. This reveals an important and generally invisible link in the history of the Van Abbemuseum.
The Van Abbemuseum has been able to maintain and extend its position as an internationally well-known museum of contemporary art partly as a result of the involvement of the Van Abbemuseum Promoters Foundation. Established in 1989, this group of businesses and entrepreneurs from the Eindhoven area has developed to become an essential support for the arts in general and for the Van Abbemuseum in particular. Their enthusiasm for the arts is an inspirational example. This patronage is by no means new and has played a crucially important role in the history of the arts, art collections and places where these are presented. It was the cigar manufacturer Henri van Abbe, himself an enthusiastic collector of contemporary art, who donated a museum building, as well as an exploitation and purchasing budget, to the city of Eindhoven in 1936. As a result, the Van Abbemuseum became one of the institutions in the Netherlands which was established with the help of a private initiative. Twenty-six works in Van Abbe’s private collection were given a place in the museum’s collection, a number of which are included in The Collectors Show as a prologue.
In The Collectors Show the museum evaluates and explores the special relationship between the city and its regional patrons. It is particularly those who demonstrate their commitment to the arts by collecting themselves who are in the spotlight in this exhibition. In The Collectors Show ten collectors share some of their favourite works from their private collections with the outside world, often for the first time. Their collections include works by important “classical” artists such as Francis Picabia, Lee Lozano, Lynda Benglis and Paul McCarthy, but also works by younger talents such as Yael Bartana, Ryan Gander, Moyna Flannigan and Marc Bijl.
Museum director Charles Esche and curator Christiane Berndes responded to the highly personal choices of these collectors with their own selection of artworks in the tower of the museum. With these works they established cross connections between objects of art, owners and art movements. Some of the collectors prove to be inspired by a specific movement, while others discover in the art a unique insight or unexpected expression of themes which they come across in their everyday professional practice.
The collector Gerard Meulensteen is a very active supporter of the arts in Eindhoven, amongst other things through establishing the Meulensteen Art Centre. In addition, he opened his own museum, the Danubiana, Meulensteen Art Museum in Bratislava, and built up a collection of Slovakian art there, amongst other things. Andrea Davina is one of the youngest collectors and one of the few female collectors in the Van Abbemuseum Promoters Foundation. Her collection is small but very special. She is interested in art which makes her think and provides her with new insights. She is keen to support younger artists. Harm and Floor Haak both work as medical specialists. Their commitment to the welfare of people from all sorts of cultures is expressed in their work on a daily basis. This commitment is also reflected in the choices for their collection.
Exhibition design by Piet Hein Eek
Piet Hein Eek, the internationally well-known designer who works in Eindhoven, is responsible for the spatial design of the exhibition. He accepted the challenge to design a suitable setting for the works of art in the tower of the museum. The Van Abbemuseum invited him because of his involvement in and innovative contribution to the cultural climate of the city and his unique view of art. Eek endeavors to ensure that the works are able to come into their own as fully as possible in the setting he has designed, so that the presentation serves this end without losing its individuality. Eek’s designs are honest both in terms of the materials used and in terms of the technology; he shows you how things work.
Collection Andrea Davina, Collection Harm en Floor Haak, Collection Hunting, Collection Inge en Philip van den Hurk, Collection Geert en Tanya Hurks, Collection Harrie Kolen, Collection Meulensteen, Collection Vescom, Collection Vinken and one other private collection.
Karel Appel, Yael Bartana, Lynda Benglis, John Bock, Christian Boltanski, Daniel Buren, Marc Bijl, Bill Copley, Corneille, Matthew Day Jackson, René Daniëls, Jan De Cock, Jimmie Durham, Hadassah Emmerich, Rudolf Fila, Moyna Flannigan, Michel Francois, Ryan Gander, Barbara Hepworth, Charline von Heyl, Emre Hüner, Viera Kraicova, Jozef Jankovic, Lee Lozano, Cristina Lucas, Loretta Lux, Paul McCarthy, Avi Mograbi, Olivier Mosset, Otobong Nkanga, Simon Periton, Francis Picabia, Bojan Sarcevic, Julian Schnabel, Kazuo Shiraga, Praneet Soi, Thomas Struth, Peter Struycken, Pilvi Takala, Liam Tickner, Kiro Urdin, Rebecca Warren.
3. And on Sundays we celebrate Friday - solo Dick Verdult
The first solo presentation of one of Eindhoven’s most singular artists, Dick Verdult. As a visual artist and musician in the experimental Cumbia music, he has acquired a cult status, especially in South America, Russia and Japan. He is less well known to the public in his home town. The Van Abbemuseum is (re-)introducing the audience to his rich and multidisciplinary oeuvre.
And on Sundays we celebrate Friday is one of the three exhibitions which form part of VANUIT HIER - OUT OF HERE. In the context of the 75th anniversary of the Van Abbemuseum these three exhibitions focus on the direct and valuable relationship between the museum and artists, collectors, and the regional context. In addition they show how the city of Eindhoven has served as a source of inspiration for (inter)national artists for decades.
Dick Verdult is a member of an important and well-known generation of artists which emerged in Eindhoven in the 1980s and also includes René Daniëls and Henk Visch. Verdult’s artistic practice can be distinguished from that of his contemporaries because it covers a larger number of disciplines. It comprises films, performances, graphics, drawings, radio productions, texts and music. Verdult works as an individual, but is also the driving force behind the creation of various group ventures, such as the IBW - Instituut voor Betaalbare Waanzin (Institute for Affordable Lunacy), Centro Periferico Internacional, Festicumex and Fadispo.
With his broad orientation it proved complex to position him within the disciplinary boundaries which applied in previous decades. However, his artistic diversity meant that he was a precursor of the contemporary hybrid artistic practice which is particularly suitable for expressing and understanding local and global realities. Verdult’s work has become a source of inspiration for young artists from Eindhoven.