Contexts - Once Upon a Time... The Collection Now

Contexten, kelderverdieping Er was eens... De collectie nu. Photo Peter Cox
DIY archive, first floor. Installation view Once Upon a Time..., 2013, photo Peter Cox
Contexten LOGO EWE-4
research project

Contexts Once Upon a Time... The Collection Now

02/11/2013 - continuous

With selections from the archives, Contexts provides a framework for the works that are exhibited, as well as an additional background for the basic story behind the presentation of the collection. It questions the truth of the artistic narrative, and reflects on the importance of the past for the present and future.  In addition, Contexts enhances the transparency of the processes in the museum and shows the invisible side behind the story that is presented. An archive can reveal the discussions between the parties involved: museum directors, critics, artists, the gallery world and the public. Contexts shows that the museum is a living institute made for and by people.

Contexts can be found in a number of rooms between the works of art. It has a different form on every floor of the building, but at the same time it can be easily recognised by its logo. During the course of the exhibition it will continue to expand.

Contexts per floor:

Basement: ‘Civilian virtue, artistic sense and community spirit’: Eindhoven around 1936

On this floor Contexts provides a context for the place (the small urban environment of Eindhoven), the time (the 1930s) and the individuals who played a role in founding the museum.
The starting point for this consists of the collection presentation of the 26 paintings which were purchased from the private collection of Henri van Abbe, the founder of the museum. A picture of the time is outlined with primary sources including letters, memorandums, photographs and inventories from the initial period of the museum’s existence.

Ground floor: 1909-1975 – Modernity in Western Europe and the United States

On this floor Contexts is used as a source to take a critical look at the socio-political, cultural and art-historical context of a number of works. The museum shows how background information can be used to tell a story about history. At the same time this information can show that this is merely an interpretation, only one of the stories that can be told. The connections between the stories and their relevance and significance for our own time are also examined.
For example, Contexts reflects on changes in the views of individual artists – which are sometimes diametrically opposed during one and the same period, such as, for example, those of Van Doesburg and Willink – and on events in their personal lives, such as for example, Kurt Schwitters’ forced departure from his own country because of the rise of Nazism.
For this purpose Contexts uses modest interventions in the works in the collection, using documentary material from the archives.

First floor: 1965 - 1985 – Countercultures and DIY archive

On this floor the visitor is invited into the DIY archive to become an active participant and use the material available in the archive to gain an impression of the zeitgeist of this period.
On this floor Contexts turns the presentation of the collection into a single indivisible experience. The collection and the archive are seen here as one, and the visitor can undertake research into the many different materials available in the two departments.

Composition of Contexts

Diana Franssen.