On Saturday 28 November 2009 at 16:00 the opening of The Game and the Players takes place at the Van Abbemuseum. In this first part of the 18-month programme Play Van Abbe, the museum focuses on the stories of artists and exhibition makers.
Who are these ‘players’ within a museum and which stories do they tell? How was the collection presented in 1983 and how is this perceived in 2009? How does the current director present the collection? In what way does an art museum position itself – both in the present and in the past?
These questions will be put up for argument in The Game and the Players in three exhibitions: Repetition: Summer Display 1983, Strange and Close and Rien ne va plus. Part 1 of Play Van Abbe will be closed in March 2010 with the project If I Can’t Dance... Edition III - Masquerade.
Repetition: Summer Display 1983
Repetition: Summer Display 1983 is a reconstruction of Zomeropstelling van de eigen collectie (Summer Display of the Museum’s Collection), a collection presentation in 1983 which was curated by Rudi Fuchs, the director of the Van Abbemuseum at that time, and his curators. Fuchs made the exhibition after his return from Kassel, where he organised documenta 7. He presented a number of new purchases in this summer display, including works by Georg Baselitz, Alighiero e Boetti, Daniel Buren, Luciano Fabro, Gilbert & George, Rebecca Horn, Hermann Nitsch, Sigmar Polke, Lawrence Weiner, and Ian Wilson. An audio tour by Willem de Ridder was part of the exhibition. This audio tour will be made available in its original form for visitors of the reconstruction.
Repetition: Summer Display 1983 raises questions such as: Which story did the original curators want to tell and how do we perceive this part of history in our time? Does the presentation in this new context become a new exhibition or a copy of an exhibition? Archival materials about the display in 1983 provide extra information on the reconstruction process and the history of some of the works in the exhibition during the past 26 years.
Strange and Close
Parallel to the reconstructed exhibition, current director Charles Esche curated Strange and Close, a presentation of recent purchases by the museum and other works from the collection. Esche presents in this exhibition a view on the history of the period after 1989, the year of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the protests on the Tiananmen Square in China and the beginnig of the end of Apartheid in South-Africa. The exhibition, in which many new purchases are on view in the museum for the first time, invites the visitor to discover new relations between art and its various contexts.
Strange and Close is a complement to Repetition: Summer Display 1983, showing the much broader geographical area that contemporary art now covers. Moreover, Strange and Close signals a shift in collecting: from the autonomous art work towards an entangled variety of objects, archives,
(documentary) sources and stories. The exhibition features works by Hüseyin Alptekin, Yael Bartana, Harun Farocki, Dan Flavin, Gülsün Karamustafa, Dan Peterman and Nedko Solakov.
Strange and Close is is realised in the framework of FORMER WEST.
Rien ne va plus
The presentation Rien ne va plus, curated by Christiane Berndes, Diana Franssen and Steven ten Thije in collaboration with guest curators, exhibits a number of installations and projects from the collection of the museum during the period from 1966 to the present by artists who tackle social issues in an explicit dialogue with the museum context. Here the emphasis is put on the story of artists that involve the visitor in their ‘play’. The title is taken from the signal for players of a roulette game indicating that the taken positions can no longer be changed and that chance will determine who wins and who loses.
The artists in Rien ne va plus do not play for ‘profit’, but to put up for discussion the rules within the museum, the art world or society. They draw our attention to codes that in many cases are so self-evident for us that we are even no longer aware of them. Is it possible to reveal these codes? The exhibition contains works by Marcel Broodthaers, Chto Delat, Tino Sehgal, Maria Eichhorn, and Franz Erhard Walther. The Museum of American Art Berlin is a guest of the Van Abbemuseum with the work Kabinett der Abstrakten. The series Lily van
der Stokker and guest … will be concluded with a presentation of works from the collection, selected by Van der Stokker. She shows them in the room with the selfdesigned wallpaper and gives them a compliant ‘frame’
If I Can't Dance... Edition III - Masquerade: From Dusk Till Dawn
From 8 until 21 March 2010, the curatorial platform If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part of Your Revolution will perform the closing act of Play Van Abbe - Part 1 at the Van Abbemuseum with the project Edition III - Masquerade. Edition III - Masquerade interrupts the exhibitions regime with a series of new performances and projects by Keren Cytter, Jon Mikel Euba, Olivier Foulon, Suchan Kinoshita, Joachim Koester and Sarah Pierce.
Edition III - Masquerade will culminate in a performance event, From Dusk Till Dawn, between Friday evening 19 March (5pm) until Saturday morning 20 March 2010 (11am).The international If I Can’t Dance... platform will be taking over the ‘Oudbouw’ of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven for the entire evening, night and morning of Friday 19 March to Saturday 20 March. For eighteen hours the Van Abbemuseum’s director Charles Esche is transferring the museum’s management to the international If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution platform.
From Dusk Till Dawn is taking Masquerade as its theme and includes an exhibition, a performance programme and a series of lectures by twenty internationally renowned artists and thinkers.
Programme opening 28 November 2009
On Saturday 28 November 2009 at 16:00, Minister for European Affairs Frans Timmermans will open Play Van Abbe in the Auditorium of the Van Abbemuseum. After the opening speeches there will be performances and guided tours by special guides.
Location: Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
opening speeches: Frans Timmermans (Minister for European Affairs) Charles Esche (director Van Abbemuseum)
guided tours by special guides
Nicoline van Harskamp, The Democratic Possiblities of Conflict, a scripted panel discussion
Location: Stadhuisplein, Eindhoven
Public Movement, Also Thus! a ceremony at the Stadhuisplein
The next parts of Play Van Abbe
The second part of Play Van Abbe, called Time Machines, begins in March 2010 and will be on view until the end of August 2010. In this chapter museum models from the past are viewed. How does the museum use presentation techniques to tell a story and what are the hidden assumptions?
From September 2010 until January 2011, the act of collecting will be the central theme of part 3: The Politics of Collecting/ The Collecting of Politics. What does it mean to collect and keep works of art? What kind of world is perceived when viewing a collection? Who decides and why? For answering these questions, both the Van Abbemuseum’s own public collection and other collections from other contexts will be used. Archival materials and documentation also play an important role in gaining insight into the motives for collecting in the past and in the present.
Until June 2011, The Tourist, the Pilgrim, the Flaneur (and the worker), the fourth and final part of Play Van Abbe, investigates the role of the public and the expectations it has, the pleasure of a visit to the museum and how that experience can be intensified further. Are there new roles that the museum can develop for and with the public, in such a way that the museum becomes a genuine platform for exchange en inspiration?
Play Van Abbe has been realised in part by contributions by the BankGiro Loterij, Mondriaan Foundation, Provincie Noord-Brabant and VSBfonds.