What course of action does a museum director take in order to have a municipal council change its mind? How does an artist question the direction taken by a director or museum?
What happens when a director regards the museum as a podium for social discourse and invites a protest group? Living Archive asks the questions by displaying the museums own history. It providesn answers and insight in the heated moments, while at the same time displaying the strategic powers of directors and the commitment of artists. It shows some fundamental opinions at a point in time where the function of a museum of contemporary art is under severe discussion.
The title of this Living Archive was derived from a painting by the young German artist Jörg Immendorff, in which we see a young activist (the painter himself) bursting into a studio where a modernistic painter is sitting in front of a blank canvas. Protesters are marching in the background. This painting raises many questions about an artist’s role. Is he an activist who operates within society or does he withdraw into the protective environment of the museum? The title serves as a metaphor for critical perception – for artists and museums alike.
On view since 2005, 'Living Archive' is the title of a series of documentary exhibitions based on the museum archive in constantly changing formats and periods, in various parts of the Nieuwbouw. This series takes on different forms: critical, supportive or documentary.