December 21, 2007 - Van Abbemuseum - Plug In
December 21, 2007

Plug In

Plug In #33: Igloo Nero
Mario Merz, Igloo Nero, (1967-1979), 1994
Collection Van Abbemuseum.
Photo Peter Cox.

Plug In
Re-imagining the collection

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In December 2007 the Van Abbemuseum opened eight new episodes of Plug In, Plug In #28.2 – #36. Plug In is the revolutionary way in which the Van Abbemuseum displays its collection of contemporary and modern art. Each space contains a single, specific ‘episode’, and has its own number and time span within the programme. By changing the spaces one by one and at varying speeds, Plug In produces surprising links, revealing contrasts and unexpected resonances that continually alter the relationship between past and present, old and new, known and unknown. Professionals, art experts as well as first-time visitors to the museum experience this new concept as positive and refreshing, which is one of the Van Abbemuseum’s objectives. Plug In started in April 2006, and will further develop with frequent changes and 10 to 15 new episodes a year.

• Artist duo Bik Van der Pol previously shared their vision of how museums and their audiences deal with information in Plug In #28. Parallel to that they are showing a mural by Sol LeWitt in the new Plug In #28 Pay Attention. Act 2, together with the video Baldessari Sings LeWitt (1972) by John Baldessari.

• In Plug In #31 René Daniëls. The return of the performance, guest curator Frédérique Bergholtz highlights the work of one of Eindhoven’s key artists, René Daniëls. Daniëls recently won the Oeuvre Award of the Netherlands Foundation of Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB). Bergholtz has based her selection of works from this enormous reservoir on the notion of the artist as performer, while also creating a link to works by other artists in the collection.

• Christiane Berndes, curator of collections, uses these Plug In episodes to search for links between known and lesser known works in the collection as well as to do research on the use of space, both in the museum and in art. Plug In #32 One on one is the first of a series of presentations centring around a single work from the museum collection. The focal point of this Plug In is Frank Stella’s painting Tuxedo
, 1960.

Plug In #33 Igloo Nero displays Mario Merz’s well-known work. The Igloo Nero’s black shape has the effect of shutting you out. In 1997, Merz added a second, ‘open’ igloo to the first. In this configuration, the work is a statement questioning the accessibility of museums and art alike.

Plug In #34 Starting with Kandinsky highlights the first major international acquisitions made in 1951 by then director Edy de Wilde and includes works by Braque, Chagall, Kandinsky, Picasso and Zadkine.

• In Plug In #35 Andre, Mondriaan, Ryman shows works in which geometric shapes and repetition play a key role.

Plug In #36 From a to b brings together works that figure movement. The new acquired work I WENT by On Kawara, is on show for the first time.

The Van Abbemuseum has launched its own series of research publications under the name VAMPR (Van Abbemuseum Public Research). Recently the first edition of this series was published, the book Notes from the Future of Art; Selected Writings by Jerzy Ludwinski. Parallel to the publication of this book, Magdalena Ziólkowska, guest curator and editor, has arranged Plug In #30 around the differences and similarities found in the visions of the museum of contemporary art in Eindhoven and in Wroclaw, Poland, in the mid-1960s.

Plug In has been realised in part by a contribution by the Mondriaan Foundation.

Van Abbemuseum

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