Rabo Art Collection at the Boijmans Van Beuningen Depot
On November 6, the Rabo Art Collection will open a new exhibition space on the fourth floor of the Boijmans Van Beuningen Depot: Rabo@Depot! Here we will share the Rabo Art Collection with a wide audience. The first exhibition features works by artists including Marlene Dumas, Navid Nuur, Sanne Vaassen, Folkert de Jong, Guido van der Werve, Tom Claassen, Constant A. Nieuwenhuys, Arne Hendriks, Marc Mulders and Uwe Laysiepen (Ulay).
In addition to providing access to the bank’s collection, the space will serve as a stage for performances, lectures and discussions. Together with colleagues, members and interested parties, Rabobank wants to give shape to a new place where visual arts, science and innovation come together. A place that provides real input for the big issues and changes of our time through substantive contributions. The art collection and artists are the point of departure, as are writers, researchers, actors, philosophers, dancers and the various Artists-in-Residence that we invite each year.
Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, photo: Ossip van Duivenbode
The first exhibition is centered on the concept of “Common Ground”: shared ground, a shared point of departure, and, by extension, a shared future. This concept was inspired by the literally shared physical space – in this case a spectacular depot building that is shared by a museum and a corporate collection. But also by the complexity of the issues we face as humanity: how will we shape our future? What choices do we make, and how do we work together? And the important role that art and artists have in this respect.
In many works we see this opposition between two worlds – or two interests, two extremes. Opposites that also need each other and can ever more often be two sides of the same coin.
Seht der Mensch; The Shooting Lesson by Folkert de Jong is the absolute eye-catcher. The strange group of figures is reminiscent of circus performers. We even see an echo of Picasso’s Saltimbanco period in the rightmost figure. But what are they doing there on those tree trunks? A father gives his son shooting lessons and aims his bow and arrow at the audience; a round-bellied king sits back-to-back with another dubious type. In the foreground, a young girl stands somewhat lonely, staring ahead. This tableau vivant is central to the exhibition for a reason. Is it a motley crew of refugees who have clung to these tree trunks for want of something better? Or is it a theater group holding a mirror up to us?
Constant A. Nieuwenhuys, for example, was already thinking about our future in a totally innovative way in the 1950s. A future in which we would work very little and shape our lives quite differently. He made beautiful scale models, such as this Spatiovore, in which the “Homo Ludens,” the playing man, would move free from labor and burden. Or Ulay who, throughout his oeuvre, explored the concept of identity in a deeply personal way. He was ahead of his time with his 1974 work S’He, in which he explores his masculine and feminine sides.
It’s almost a bit of a cliché image: the earth as a fragile planet on which all 7.5 billion of us are slowly spinning around in an infinite universe. Guido van der Werve had the perhaps somewhat naive thought of spending one day NOT turning with the earth and all its inhabitants, and executed this thought to perfection. In the work Nummer negen, the day I didn’t turn with the world, he did exactly that: not turn with the Earth. In the middle of the North Pole, he stood thickly wrapped, on a sheet of ice, and turned precisely against the Earth. These 25 photos are a record of that day.
Arne Hendriks has been researching growth and shrinkage for more than a decade, specifically our fascination with growth and our fear of shrinkage. Where does this automatic longing for growth come from, and could we also long for shrinkage? A lot comes together in the project Outgrowing Eames, which features two versions of the famous design chair: the original from 1956 and the updated edition that has been enlarged by about 10%. Motivation was our physical growth. Humans are getting taller and taller and need bigger and bigger chairs, and by extension, more and more of everything. Could this “New Dimensions Eames” still be returned to its original size? And how? With furniture makers, surgeons and the public, Arne will explore whether this is possible. The first “cutting lines” have already been carefully marked off on the chair.
In her work, Otobong Nkanga explores our relationship with nature and how the extraction of raw materials changes and affects landscapes. Chaim van Luit’s photo shows the bottom of a wishing well, but don’t we see a complex network of cells built from money at the same time? In the beautiful work of Merijn Bolink as well, two worlds come together: that of nature and that of culture, almost like two hemispheres on the same trunk.
This exhibition also includes works by: Tom Claassen, Navid Nuur, Meschac Gaba, Marlene Dumas, Jan van Munster, Carel Visser, Marc Mulders, Pieter Laurens Mol, Maria Roosen, Cristina Lucas, Monali Meher, Aernout Mik, Alicia Framis, Sanne Vaassen, and Robert Zandvliet.
Images: Overviews ‘Common Ground’ in the Rabobank compartment, photo: Peter Cox