The Way Beyond Art

The Way Beyond Art, zaaloverzicht 2017, foto Peter Cox
The Way Beyond Art, zaaloverzicht 2017, foto Peter Cox
The Way Beyond Art, zaaloverzicht 2017, foto Peter Cox
The Way Beyond Art, zaaloverzicht 2017, foto Peter Cox
The Way Beyond Art, zaaloverzicht 2017, foto Peter Cox
The Way Beyond Art, zaaloverzicht 2017, foto Peter Cox
The Way Beyond Art, zaaloverzicht 2017, foto Peter Cox
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
John Körmeling, Zaans Huis, 2004. Foto Peter Cox

The Way Beyond Art

01/07/2017 - 13/06/2021
Curators: Christiane Berndes, Charles Esche, Steven ten Thije
collection Van Abbemuseum 

Between 2017 and 2021 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 Onur, 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.

Design of the exhibition 

Can & Asli Altay (Future Anecdotes Istanbul).

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Other exhibitions and projects in the Collection Building

The Making of Modern Art

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.

Since April: new artwork by Dan Perjovschi

The visual editorials of Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi (1965, Sibiu) are a permanent presence in the Van Abbemuseum. Perjovschi recently worked on new visual editorials on the wall in the stairwell of the collection building.

Dan Perjovschi’s work manages to comment on the widest possible terrain of political, economic and artistic subjects. His work is humorous, sharp and often cutting in its exposure of human behaviour and fragility, vain ambition and the contractions of the globalised (art) world. The architectural space that he is given for exhibitions always determines certain outcomes of his installations.

Since March: Zwischenlandshaften III

Artist duo Nabuurs & Van Doorn have made a new film work inspired by Mike Kelley’s Morgue (1999). The film presents a concentrated monologue on the work and its history. Morgue is a series of 39 collages, which are part of the large installation Categorical Imperative & Morgue (1999) from the collection of the Van Abbemuseum.

Zwischenlandshaften III (28 minutes) is presented as part of the collection presentation The Way Beyond Art on the second floor of the collection building. Here it will be combined with works from Kelley’s Morgue series.

NOW ON SHOW: Politisch (nr. 36, 1. Werksatz) by Franz Erhard Walther

In the 1960s, artist Franz Erhard Walther made 58 objects out of fabric that together form a ‘toolbox’. The objects are to be used by visitors of the museum. Interested in experiencing the objects yourself? You are invited to take part in the execution of the work Politisch (nr. 36, 1. Werksatz), an object for four participants shaped as a cross. One axis is long, the other short. The difference in distance influences the interaction between the participants. Politisch (nr. 36, 1. Werksatz) will be carried out regularly, but not at set times. It is possible to make an appointment by emailing, please state ‘Walther’ in the subject line.

The Way Beyond Art consists of :


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