Play Van Abbe is a programme that consists of exhibitions, projects, performances, lectures and discussions where the focus is on the identity of an art museum in the 21st century. For 18 months the museum is committed to conducting a thorough investigation.
Part 1, The Game and the Players, was the overture with the repetition of the 1983 exhibition by former director, Rudi Fuchs alongside the new exhibition curated by current director, Charles Esche. In addition there were artists’ installations addressing economical, historical, political and aesthetic issues. In this way Part 1 focused on the codes and systems used within the museum, but also consciously and unconsiously outside it.
In part 2 of Play Van Abbe, Time Machines, utopian museum models of the past and radical historical prototypes will be assessed to find out if and how they can be applied today. How does a museum tell a story through presentation techniques and what are the underlying assumptions? We will be delving into the structure of the museum to examine its foundations, historical and otherwise. The museum reveals itself as a machine that continually produces a past via a mechanism of selection and exhibition: it is a time machine in the literal sense.
Time Machines consists of three exhibitions:
Museum Modules – Fascinating international examples of how museums have played with their collection. We focus on: Raum der Gegenwart, Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) New York, Abstraktes Kabinett, Musée Imaginaire, Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), i.c.w. Kai-Uwe Hemken and Jakob Gebert, Florian Schneider, Wendelien van Oldenborgh and the Museum of American Art (Berlin).
In-between Minimalisms – The Danish artists’ collective SUPERFLEX selected works of Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Joseph Kosuth, Robert Morris, Daniel Buren and Niele Toroni, amongst others. SUPERFLEX has also produced a new installation for the Van Abbemuseum which explores the limits of copyright.
To the Margin and Back - Andrzej Wróblewski – The first European retrospective of the influential Polish artist Wróblewski (1927-1957). The show includes paintings and drawings that touch on war, history, life and the body.