of course i’m always interested in art, from which ever period. what also interests me is the places where they are exhibited. i’ve recently become quite aware of my museum visits and the difficulty in negotiating exhibits. it probably has more to do with the amount of visitors than the practicality of the spaces. many european museums are converted spaces (like the musée d’orsay or tate modern) where as others like the rijksmuseum was purpose built and inevitably expanded to house a national collection. i’ve since found smaller museums more civilized, like those that were built for collections of private individuals, especially the older ones which have said goodbye to their patrons and are now in the hands of institutions or foundations (my favourite examples being the kröller-müller and the boijmans van beuningen). the pressure these type of museums are under is unfathomable, between maintenance and restorations there is still costs of new acquisition or curated exhibits that have to be accounted for. i supppose i end up having as much respect for the passion of the creators as i do for the collectors and in the case of the boijmans, i also have a great respect for their curators.
besides the fact that the building houses an impressive collection that stretches from the middle ages to today, the way in which it is exhibited makes it both fanciful and intricate. like the building, the collections have a disjointed feeling of intimacy and adventure. the unexpected is what elevates your perception of well known and lesser known works alike. the juxtaposition of sixteenth century works like ‘the temptation of st. anthony’ with more contemporary video installations from the likes of bruce nauman might appear perplexing at first but to me it provides an art historical context which is entirely human.
this is probably what attracts me to these kind of museums. the latest exhibition ‘la la la human steps’ loosely bases itself on andré malraux’s work ‘la condition humaine’ and focus on the discord between passion and reason, connection and isolation.
together the curatorly team under sjarel ex and els hoek provided a riveting interpretation incorporating the works of the museum which truly personified malraux’s expression ‘with art man rebels against his fate’