exhibition

harry mulisch - mirror of the soul
7 Dec - 15 Feb 1998

The large exhibition Zielespiegel (Mirror of the Soul), was put together by Dutch author Harry Mulisch with artworks and objects from various collections, Mulisch gives us a look into the subjects which fascinate him.

The book Zielespiegel by Harry Mulisch appears in conjunction with this exhibit.

At the invitation of Rudi Fuchs, Director of the Stedelijk Museum, Mulisch put together an exhibition reflecting his own insights, with works from various public and private collections. He selected works from the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam, from the Boerhave Museum, Rijksmuseum for Antiquities and the University Print Cabinet, Leiden, the Stedelijk van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, the Stedelijk Print Cabinet, Antwerp, and the collection of J.R. Ritman.

In his own words, with the exhibition Mulisch intends to present us with "a psychological self-portrait that could only be me," a "mirror of my soul." Mirror of the Soul fills twelve galleries and the hall of the museum, which Mulisch has termed the Cabinets and Vestibule, respectively. A different theme is handled in each space. In total, about 80 artworks or items from collections are on display.

In the exhibition Mulisch takes up the same themes that he does in his books. Thus, for instance, in the Cabinets he deals with the works of Dürer, Kiefer and Lüpertz, his reflections on Germany and its dramatic history. Plaster casts of classic sculpture and works by De Chirico, Alma Tadema and Mariani reveal the classical foundation of our civilization. Sculptures from Egypt, combined with scientific models from the Boerhave Museum in Leiden, among other things, expose a still older tradition, that of mankind as homo faber, the inventor of writing and the alchemist in search of the philosopher's stone. Mulisch further shows us Piranesi's visionary prints, which have been a constant source of inspiration not only for him, but also for his famous predecessors. In another Cabinet Mulisch exhibits etchings from Picasso's Minotaur series, by which he attests to his sense of kinship as an artist with Picasso.

The book Zielespiegel, written by Harry Mulisch, appears in conjunction with this exhibition. The book is published by De Bezige Bij and the Stedelijk Museum, 1997, and contains, in addition to Mulisch's exhaustive Dutch text, illustrations of all the works in the exhibition. it will be available after December 7, 1997, in the Stedelijk Museum and all better bookstores at DFl. 75.

An advance publication of a section of the text of Zielespiegel appears in the Stedelijk Museum Bulletin 5/1997. The Bulletin has been available at the Museum since November 13.

Also at the request of Rudi Fuchs, in 1996 Gerrit Komrij too put together an exhibition from the collections of the Stedelijk Museum, entitled Kijken is bekeken worden (Looking is being looked at). A book of the same title by Komrij, published by the Arbeiderspers and the Stedelijk Museum, appeared to accompany that exhibition.

This exhibition has been realised with support of Syntegra.