leporello, a journey through the collection, 1874-2004
11 Mar - 17 Jul 2005

Dutch arthistorian Carel Blotkamp (Professor at the Free University of Amsterdam) made a broad selection from the museum’s collection and shows 130 works from 1874 -2004.

Reviewing the collection exhibitions at the Museum over the past years, one stumbles across thematic arrangements, aesthetic ‘confrontations’ and personal ‘dialogues’.

In the selection for his exhibition in the Stedelijk, Blotkamp reaches back to a little used but proven point of departure: he employs strict chronology. He begins in the year 1874, when the Association to Form a Public Collection of Contemporary Art was founded, laying the basis for the Stedelijk Museum, and ends in 2004.

In principle he chooses one work per year. All the sub-collections of the Stedelijk are taken into consideration, so that in addition to painting and sculpture there will also be drawings, graphics, photography, video art, design, graphic design and artist’s books.

The 130 works will unfold as a sort of leporello - a ‘concertina book’ - through the second storey of Stedelijk Museum CS, in which each item will have a differing connection with what precedes and what follows it. Blotkamp himself associates these ever-shifting relations with Arthur Schnitzler’s famous theatre piece Reigen, from 1903, where the whore does it with the soldier, the soldier with the chambermaid, the chambermaid with the young gentleman, the young gentleman with the woman next door, etc., etc.

In this way the exhibition will give a sketch of more than a century of art production, running across all disciplines and styles. Blotkamp has chosen not just famous works by famous artists: young and old, traditional and revolutionary, Dutch and international, famous and unknown - everyone and everything will be given a place in this exhibition, providing a multifaceted picture of modern art. In addition, the presentation will also give an idea of the variety and wealth of the Stedelijk’s collection, and indicate its interrelation with the world of private collectors.

Carel Blotkamp (b. 1945) studied art history at Utrecht and subsequently taught the history of modern art there. Since 1982 he has been professor of contemporary art at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. His best known publications have been on De Stijl and Magic Realism, and monographs on Mondriaan (Destructie als Kunst, 1994), Pyke Koch, Carel Visser and Daan van Golden, among others.

He was co-founder and editor of the art journals Simiolus and Jong Holland, and does reviews for Vrij Nederland, the NRC-Handelsblad, De Volkskrant, and other Dutch papers, and diverse Dutch and foreign scholarly journals. In addition, Blotkamp is a working artist.