Nilbar Güres, Headstanding Totem, 2014. foto Peter Cox
Thomas Schütte, United Enemies - A Play in ten Scenes, 1994. Foto Peter Cox
Iris Kensmil, Angela Davis #2, 2015. Foto Peter Cox
Anselm Kiefer, Varus, 1976. Foto Peter Cox
Füsun Onur, Let’s Meet at the Orient, 1995. Foto Peter Cox
Dan Peterman, Civilian Defense, 2007. Foto Peter Cox
John Körmeling, Zaans Huis, 2004. Foto Peter Cox
Floor plan The Way Beyond Art. Design Can & Asli Altay (Future Anecdotes Istanbul).
Dan Flavin, Monument on Mrs. Reppin's survival. 1966. foto Peter Cox

The Way Beyond Art

01/07/2017 - 03/01/2021
collection Van Abbemuseum 
Curators: Christiane Berndes, Charles Esche, Steven ten Thije

Between 2017 and 2020 the Van Abbemuseum organises a series of exhibitions and projects using its own collection. In this context the exhibition The Way Beyond Art can be seen in the large hall circuit of the Collection Building from 1 July 2017. It includes post World War II works by, amongst others,  Chto Delat,Corneille, Dan Flavin, Nilbar Güres, Iris Kensmil, Anselm Kiefer, John Körmeling, Taus Makhacheva, Füsun Onür, Dan Peterman, Thomas Schütte and Franz Erhard Walther.  
On the basis of three fundamental topics – Land, Home and Work – works are grouped and activated in a new sequence of ‘atmosphere rooms’ for the present. The traditional model of the white cube is rejected in this special setting by Can and Asli Altay, where extended possibilities for experiencing art in space and in relation to body and mind are tested.  

Art as an engine for change

The works of art in the exhibition raise questions which are recognisable and important for everyone. What sort of country or society do we want to live in? What role do freedom, identity and sustainability play in our ideas about the future?  In the exhibition we examine how we can use the museum and the artworks to discuss these questions with each other. The experimental design of the exhibition breaks through the traditional model of the white cube and opens up new possibilities for experiencing art in a playful way.  

The title The Way Beyond Art is taken from a book published in 1947 by Alexander Dorner, the director of the museum in Hannover in the 1930s. In that book he describes how the overwhelming changes in the world are not only expressed in art and science, but actually form the basis for them. For Dorner, art is not a mirror that reflects, but an engine that encourages change.

By extension, this collection exhibition is a way of understanding and changing the world. We chose the themes Land, Home and Work because they are at the heart of our everyday lives and are important for all of us, all over the world. 

Dynamics of the exhibition 

We will regularly introduce changes in the exhibition, together with visitors and groups who add an edge to the theme that is exhibited from their own perspective.

Design of the exhibition

Can & Asli Altay (Future Anecdotes Istanbul).

Other exhibitions and projects in the Collection Building

The Making of Modern Art

The Way Beyond Art consists of:

Made possible in part by