News — 11 Mar 2019
Freedom of Movement on view until 17 March
Freedom of Movement is the latest edition of the Proposals for Municipal Art Acquisitions, the biannual exhibition organized by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam presenting new or recent work by artists living in the Netherlands. Each version centers around a different discipline, and this year’s exhibition focuses on time-based media: works of art that last for a specific length of time, such as film and video work, internet art, sound art, performance, dance and workshops. Twenty artists take part in the current edition.
The Stedelijk Museum always selects a number of works featured in the exhibition to add to its collection, and today announces that it has acquired artworks by Yael Bartana, Verena Blok, Kate Cooper, Danielle Dean, Deniz Eroglu, Jort van der Laan, Basir Mahmood, and Michele Rizzo.
Jan Willem Sieburgh, interim Director of the Stedelijk Museum: “These eight important acquisitions feature contemporary artists with new stories to tell. We are proud to announce that these works have now entered our collection. Presenting topical, relevant artistic positions, the Proposals for Municipal Art Acquisitions is an excellent framework for the Stedelijk to add new voices to its collection.”
Karen Archey, Curator of Contemporary Art, Time-Based Media at the Stedelijk Museum: “I am honored to have had the privilege of working with these twenty artists for the exhibition Freedom of Movement. Their works are important touchstones for understanding the societal and political issues that are central to the cultural debate in the Netherlands today. Although I would have liked to acquire everything in the exhibition, I am incredibly pleased that these eight works are now part of the collection, and I am very much looking forward to continuing to follow these artists.”
More information about the acquired works:
Yael Bartana, Tashlikh (Cast Off) (2017)
The film derives its title from the Jewish custom of throwing bread into a river in a symbolic act of atonement for one’s sins. Bartana invited victims and perpetrators of the Holocaust, Armenian genocide and ethnic cleansing in Sudan and Eritrea to discard belongings connecting them with past trauma, showing that identity is constantly redefined by changing circumstances and interaction with others.
Verena Blok, Robota (2018)
Blok followed two Polish brothers she knew from childhood who now work as migrant construction workers throughout the UK and Europe, discussing with them migration, belonging and national identity. Their beliefs negate the cliché of the labor migrant as a victim of nationalist governments; they support the same xenophobic policy that limits their freedom. For Blok, they illustrate the paradoxical nature of the right-wing government of Poland, which is hostile to the European Union yet simultaneously benefits from it, and which vilifies immigrants, even though its own citizens take advantage of the EU’s open borders.
Kate Cooper, Infection Drivers (2018)
Cooper’s video depicts a body in conflict with itself. In this work, a computer-generated woman wears a translucent suit that continually inflates and deflates, evoking stereotypes about gendered bodies. By using CGI, the artist also questions commonly held views about the limitations of the body. Accompanied by a penetrating music score, her avatar becomes tired and sick, bleeds and becomes bruised.
Danielle Dean, True Red Ruin (Elmina Castle) (2016-2017)
Dean investigates the way media technology and advertising imagery attempt to influence racial groups, and continue the project of colonization. The starting point of True Red Ruin (Elmina Castle), the castle built by the Portuguese in Ghana, which went on to be used by the Dutch during the slave trade. The ruin is now a pilgrimage site for people of African descent in search of their ancestral roots. In her film, Dean situates the castle in a social housing project in a historically black neighborhood in Houston.
Deniz Eroglu, Baba Diptych (2016)
In Baba Diptych, Eroglu re-enacts, shot-for-shot, a home video recorded in 1996, which shows his Turkish father busy preparing kebabs for customers. Installed side by side, the diptych creates an uncanny effect, as the identities of the first- and second-generation migrants seem to merge. Eroglu’s exploration of his family offers a window into the cultural position of migrants and their children, who are often made to feel that they inhabit a space at once in- and outside of the dominant culture of the country in which they live.
Jort van der Laan, Neither Of Us Is Powerless (2018)
Van der Laan filmed this work during flights between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and explores the airport as an extraterritorial space where movement is monitored and controlled. In the film, van der Laan created a lexicon of words and sentences found in airport advertisements, exclusive lounges and boutique advertising brochures. The work invites the viewer to consider how language defines and shapes the physical and spatial experience.
Basir Mahmood, Monument of Arrival and Return (2016)
Mahmood hired a production company to film a group of porters from his home country of Pakistan at Lahore railway station. While in Amsterdam, he sent the team instructions, and eventually received the footage. This means of production, made possible by increased mobility and rapid communication over great distances, stands in sharp contrast with the reality of his subjects who work in poor conditions that have barely changed in the last hundred years. The artist himself is mobile and yet, while the porters are in transit, they don’t in fact travel anywhere.
Michele Rizzo, HIGHER xtn. (2018)
In HIGHER xtn., choreographer Rizzo explores the nightclub as a site of community building and self-expression, where the repetitive rhythm of techno-music can foster a trance-like experience or flow in the body and temporarily give the dancer a sense of transcendence. As a safe place for marginalized groups, club culture offers space for new kinds of public intimacy between people of widely divergent backgrounds, whilst also allowing them to explore their identity. Last month, HIGHER xtn. was performed in a number of well-attended performances at the Stedelijk
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Freedom of Movement refers to the right of a person to travel without a visa in- and outside their country of birth. As nationalist and populist movements gain traction, the phrase “freedom of movement” has become politically loaded, raising questions of how much freedom we really have and how much we allow others. In a poetic sense, the notion also refers to the body’s ability to move, take action and express agency.
Artists in the Netherlands were invited to submit work via an open call. 399 submissions were received, out of which the jury—which consisted of Ligia Lewis (choreographer), Juha van 't Zelfde (Curator and Director of the Shadow Channel course, Sandberg Institute), Harm van den Dorpel (artist) and Susan Gibb (curator), led by jury chairman Karen Archey (Curator of Contemporary Art, Time-Based Media, Stedelijk Museum)—selected the twenty artists participating in the exhibition.
This biennial exhibition is organized with the financial support of the Municipality of Amsterdam.
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