Turn Panic into Magic - Erwin Thomasse

Turn Panic into Magic, Erwin Thomasse, photo: Peter Cox.

Turn Panic into Magic Erwin Thomasse

01/06/2022 - 30/04/2023
Artist: Erwin Thomassen

On the facade of the Van Abbemuseum, on the side of the Dommel river, you can see Erwin Thomasse’s artwork Turn Panic into Magic (2022). The work consists of the same words as the title, written in illuminated letters that slowly flicker on and off at night. The rhythm is derived from a breathing technique used to ward off panic attacks: breathe in for two and a half seconds, breathe out for five seconds, take a break of two seconds, then repeat. An article will be published on this project in mid-2023.


The work was created during the pandemic. It is part of a larger project in which five smaller light boxes with the same sentence, were exhibited in the museum. Later, they were individually borrowed by visitors, to be placed at home or at work. As they spread out to different locations, they created a new network linking a diverse group of people during a difficult period with a series of lockdowns.


The work is part of the exhibition Relinking: Marcel van den Berg and Erwin Thomasse. In the exhibition Van den Berg and Thomasse provide a critical reflection on the prevailing culture of endless repetition. They see that the internet, television, but also in museums, the same information is perpetually recycled. This repetition perverts the meaning - the truth – of what is being said and made.

Turn Panic into Magic is part of :