News — 26 Jun 2018

Freedom of Movement, Municipal Art Acquisitions 2018

Raquel van Haver, solo exhibition

24 November 2018 - Spring 2019

This autumn, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam presents a survey of contemporary artists working in the Netherlands with the large-scale presentation Freedom of Movement, and in the solo of the young Amsterdam-based artist Raquel van Haver. Both shows open on November 24th, and kick off this year’s Amsterdam Art Weekend.

Freedom of Movement

The 2018 Municipal Art Acquisitions exhibition

Freedom of Movement brings together artists exploring notions of political agency within the field of time-based media. Artists working in the Netherlands were invited to submit work via an open call and, of the 399 submissions, a jury selected 20 artists to be shown in the exhibition: Isabelle Andriessen, Yael Bartana, Verena Blok, Melanie Bonajo, Kate Cooper, Danielle Dean, Deniz Eroglu, Juan Arturo García González, Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide), JODI, Jort van der Laan, Basir Mahmood, Polina Medvedeva, Rory Pilgrim, Falke Pisano, Michele Rizzo, Rafael Rozendaal, Joy Mariama Smith, Jonas Staal, and Remco Torenbosch. During the exhibition, the Stedelijk will announce which pieces it has chosen to acquire for its internationally renowned collection.

Basir Mahmood, Monument of Arrival and Return, 2016. Video installation, 9:36 minutes, courtesy the artist

Each year, the Municipal Art Acquisitions focuses on a different discipline. This year’s edition focuses on time based media: artworks that last for a specific length of time, such as film and video work, internet art, performance, dance, sound art, and even workshops.

The title Freedom of Movement refers to the ability of citizens to travel, visa-free, outside their native land. As neo-nationalist and populist political movements gain traction in the West, usage of the phrase “freedom of movement” has become loaded with connotative associations. How much freedom do we have, and how much do we allow others? Interpreted poetically, the notion of “Freedom of Movement” also refers to the body itself: its ability to move, take action and have agency.

From a variety of perspectives, the works in the exhibition engage with movement as a political fact and explore the idea of movement, and migration, (a theme explored by Stedelijk over the past year). The show presents artworks addressing the restriction of movement, the varying power of nations’ passports, surveillance performed by the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Agency, the conflicts of dual identity and the integrity of the body.

Raquel van Haver - Spirits of the Soil

This autumn, the Stedelijk Museum dedicates six galleries to the exhibition Spirits of the Soil by Raquel van Haver (1989, Bogotá, Colombia, lives and works Amsterdam Zuidoost). Especially for this exhibition Van Haver will produce a new series of monumental paintings. While the artist usually works in a small studio in the base of a classic flat building in the Bijlmer, for her Stedelijk Museum exhibition, van Haver was able to use a large space in the studio of National Opera and Ballet in Amsterdam Zuidoost. Through this opportunity she was able to create paintings on a much larger scale.

Van Haver refers to her work as ‘loud’ paintings that sympathetically portray people on the fringes of society. Her new series centres around her experiences in the Bijlmer, and also draws upon time spent in “barrios” and “favelas” in megacities such as those found in the Caribbean and Latin America. Van Haver is interested in the social dynamic of these communities, where diverse cultures and generations coexist and scramble to make a living. She recently completed a residency in Lagos, Nigeria, where she met the “spirits of the soil”: slum residents, communities and gangs. Van Haver got to know them, gained their trust, and sketched and photographed them relaxing, chatting, connecting—how they pass time, interact, and connect over food and drink. Back in Amsterdam, she used this visual material as the basis for a new sequence of figurative compositions.

Raquel van Haver, Straat, 2015. Courtesy Jack Bell Gallery, London

In 2017, the Dordrechts Museum awarded Raquel van Haver “De Scheffer,” a Dutch prize in recognition of young art talent. In 2012, 2013 and 2016 she was nominated for the Royal Award for Modern Painting. Van Haver was recently shortlisted for the Wolvecampprijs, a national biannual award for painting. The winner will be announced on 29 September 2018.

The Proposals for Municipal Art Acquisitions is a series of biannual exhibitions organised with the financial support of the Municipality of Amsterdam.

The studio of the National Opera and Ballet was provided to Raquel van Haver at the request of CBK Zuidoost. Since 2001, the Stedelijk Museum and CBK Zuidoost have been partners in the residency programme BijlmAIR, which provides young international artists an opportunity to work in Amsterdam

Note to editors

For more information and images, please contact the Press Office of the Stedelijk Museum, +31 (0)20 573 26 660 / 656 or