The museum is aware that its own narrative is by definition incomplete. For this reason we invited people from outside the museum with different sorts of knowledge and backgrounds, to supplement the exhibition of the collection, The Collection Now, with their own stories and interpretations during the period from 2 November 2013 to 2 April 2017. This resulted in a broader range of stories and memories related to the collection, told by many different voices.

Five tools were provided in the museum. These could be found in the Toolshop on the ground floor at the start of the exhibition.


Visitors were invited to take a look at the collection through children’s eyes. Children look at things differently and see different things from adults. Often they make striking connections and inspired comparisons. The museum captured this way of looking at things in an audio tour. Children between the ages of 5 and 17 (from the De Hasselbraam primary school and the Van Maerlantlyceum) told their stories about the works of art. The audio tour started on the top floor with the most recent works of art and took the visitor downstairs. As the works of art became older, the children also got older.


The artist and choreographer Sara Wookey and the architect Rennie Tang developed the Punt.Point self-guided DIY tour for visitors to experience the exhibition in a special way. The participants were given a yellow bag with accessories, which invited them to move about the museum in a very different way. The starting point was the relationship between architecture, the works of art, and the visitor’s own body. The visitor was invited to adopt different poses or positions in a number of marked places, and could then make new suggestions him/herself.


The architecture of the Van Abbemuseum and the exhibition help to determine how the visitor experiences the artwork. In this respect the visitor chooses his own way. This is not a space was an audible, fictitious layer over the physical environment. Slowly but surely it became a self-evident part of the architecture. As a result of the illusion of new space in the audioscape, the visitor was taken through the exhibition along unexpected paths and therefore experienced surprising moments of confrontation, recognition and contemplation. The concept was developed by Ricky van Broekhoven from SoundShapeLab.

Photo: Peter Cox


In Inhaling Art you are confronted with the sense of smell – the sense which is focused on least. In general, a museum is by definition the place where we almost exclusively use the sense of sight in order to experience works of art. In this exhibition you were able to form an intimate relationship with the collection through specially developed fragrances accompanying several works of art. Warm, spicy aromas and synthetic compositions of odors alternated and it literally became possible to inhale the art. The self-guided DIY tour took participants past five fragrant chests placed in different spots in the exhibition. 


The Qwearing tool shows how a queer perspective can change the experience of a museum and of art exhibition. As a visitor it was as though you were wearing queer spectacles to look at the works and at culture. In this case articles of clothing were the instruments with which you acquired a new perspective on the collection. The Qwearing collection consisted of two main elements: information about the art collection was shown on five articles of clothing. In addition, the terms used in the information on the articles of clothing were explained on shawls. The visitors read information about their “own” article of clothing and those of other visitors who were also using this tool. In this way you were invited to look at the art from a different starting point.


We also provide different ways of discovering our collection online. Listen to the comments made by different residents of Eindhoven in our Collection of Many Different Voices. Create your own Combinary and tell your own story with reference to the works in our collection.

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