Tricksters Tricked - (un)covering identity

Jonas Staal - Freethinkers Space. Installation view Tricksters Tricked, Van Abbemuseum 2010. Photo Ron Eijkman
Jonas Staal, Art, Property of Politics II: Freethinker's Space, 2010 (Ellen Vroegh and MarkRutte in front of 'Danseuses Exotiques')
Installation view Tricksters Tricked during DDW. Van Abbemuseum, 2010. Photo Ron Eijkman
Maxime Morel en Lise Lefebvre, Laboratory of Visual Analysis, Tricksters Tricked during DDW. Van Abbemuseum 2010. Photo Ron Eijkman
MM (Paris), Ann Lee - Theorie du Trickster, photo: Peter Cox
Xijing Men, I Love XIjing - The Daily Lives of Xijing Presidents, 2009
Pierre Huyghe & Phillippe Parreno, No Ghost Just A Shell, 1999-2002, photo Peter Cox
Tricksters Tricked during DDW. Van Abbemuseum 2010, photo Antoine Derksen
TT logocolors final-05 cut
Walked Lines
Typographic Matchmaking workshop Khatt Foundation
Lissitzky Distribution Kim de Groot
Bureau d Etudes Economy of the Self web
Opbouw Tricksters Tricked
Your idea of a flag

Tricksters Tricked (un)covering identity

16/10/2010 - 06/02/2011
Opening: 23/10/2010 17:00
Curators: Freek Lomme, Hadas Zemer

Tricksters Tricked is an investigation of design and its dual role in shaping our contemporary reality. It concentrates on the craft of identity construction, a task that has become compulsory for most organisations and individuals today. What do we gain and what do we lose in the constant game of identity negotiation? What is being highlighted and what is being concealed? Which is more favoured at the end of the process – the authentic or the communicated entity? Is it even possible to talk about authenticity in the face of a multitude of added layers?

The exhibition was transformed into a live exposition during the Dutch Design Week 2010, from 23 until 31 October. Different initiatives of artists and designers stimulated the audience to actively participate in the production of (the own) identity.

In October 2010 the Van Abbemuseum will launch the exhibition Tricksters Tricked – (un)covering identity. Tricksters Tricked will examine four levels of identity representation: the self, the city, the nation and the museum, with the aim of illustrating the dualities in each of them.

Located in the tower, Tricksters Tricked – (un)covering identity examines the tension between communication and manipulation. The results that lie between the genuine and the synthetic. Contributions by various disciplines create an elaborate, layered picture of a multi-faceted subject.

Each floor in the tower focuses on one of four levels of contemporary living, forming a panoramic view of the optional facets of (un)founded identity:

‘Think Different!’ urges Apple. ‘Shop Unböring’ says Ikea. The self is constantly being tempted, or even pushed, to uphold a unique ‘one-off’ personality, but the means to do so are in complete opposition to individualism – a set of globally-conforming standards and profiles. Bureau d'etudes lays out the options of how to manage the complicated idea of selfhood, offering the Complex of the Self, a map studying freedom of choice on the most intimate level.

Is our image of the city the product of public campaigns or arbitrary developments? In the global economy, city branding is synonymous with economic survival. Where do we stand when branding actually becomes an urban planning tool? The collective Xijing Men, with their video I Love Xijing - The Daily Lives of Xijing Presidents, reveal the process of designing a utopian city. Replacing extravagant authoritative gestures with daily routines, they superimpose top-down and bottom-up, the institutional with the self-organised.  

With the blurring of ethnicity, religion, language and borders, there’s little left to define us as nation. Is the concept still valid? When economies run politics, where do creative forces, art and design fit in? In his project Art, Property of Politics II, artist Jonas Staal imports the Freethinker’s Space, a joint initiative of the Dutch VVD and PVV parties for exhibiting censored art. This emphasizes the issues of state-endorsed liberty and its parallel role as commodity or even branding accessory.

The museum is a producer of cultural identity, mirroring socio-political changes with its collection policy. But how does this mechanism manifest its own identity in the age of entertainment? Designer and researcher Kim de Groot investigates the manner in which museums consciously use their stock of art as brand icons. Opening up new possibilities of representation, De Groot offers alternative merchandise for sale to the self-conscious visitor.

Artists and designers: BAVO, Bureau d'etudes, Maartje Dros, Kim de Groot, Pierre Huyghe, Philippe Parreno, Marjetica Potr?, Maxime Morel & Lise Lefebvre, Jacqueline Schoemaker, Jonas Staal, Xijing Men, and Jozua Zaagman.

'Art, Property of Politics II: Freethinkers' Space' by Jonas Staal includes works by: Theo van Gogh, Gregorius Nekschot, Ellen Vroegh, Aram Tanis, Jaffe Vink, International Socialists, T. and Gerrit van Kralingen.