News — 11 Nov 2022

Exhibition - 26 November 2022 until 10 April 2023

The group exhibition When Things Are Beings reveals the power of objects and sculptures in a range of visual languages. With 24 projects, designers and artists show in their own way how the material and immaterial realms are connected.

The group exhibition When Things Are Beings, on view from 26 November, explores the inner forces of objects in many, very different ways. Each of the designers and artists who made these 24 projects takes their own path to linking the material and the immaterial worlds. Spanning 13 rooms, the works forge connections between ideas and objects, spirituality and materiality, and link social issues to tangible phenomenon. All of them play with the question of whether “things” can have a soul, using a wide range of media: video, soundscape, textile, assemblage, object design, jewelry, sculptures, photography, printing, painting, and performance.

Some of the projects exhibited here invoke spiritual worlds, while others interweave layered narratives about different generations in various places. For instance, artist Seán Hannan presents an egg containing an Irish curse made especially for the Stedelijk, and media artist and designer Sondi’s work plays with memories of her childhood home in Cameroon.

When Things Are Beings moves between the elusive appeal of abstract concepts, and forms of spirituality that can lie hidden in objects and sculptures. Design and art can enchant or captivate us in ways that cannot always be clearly explained or defined.

Sebastian Koudijzer The Awakening
Sebastian Koudijzer, The Awakening, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

For example, in FOLD, a mirror made of layered sandblasted glass, designer Sabine Marcelis explores material properties that initially escape direct observation, by playing with depth and perception. Artist Ana Navas’ sculptures titled Excuses consist of shapeshifting household objects, such as a drying rack, that ‘put on a costume’, and grew out of her fascination with the relationship between popular culture and what is known as ‘high’ art.

The exhibition presents 24 projects created by the following designers and artists:
Ayo / James Beckett / Yinka Buutfeld / Jae Pil Eun / Eric Giraudet de Boudemange / Laurids Gallée / Antonio Jose Guzman & Iva Jankovic / Seán Hannan / Saskia Noor van Imhoff / Iris Kensmil / Sebastian Koudijzer / Marcos Kueh / Aram Lee / Shani Leseman / Sabine Marcelis / Chequita Nahar / Ana Navas / Hatutamelen / Wendy Owusu / Ginevra Petrozzi / Magali Reus / Sondi / Amy Suo Wu & Elaine W. Ho / Wei Yang  

Ginevra Petrozzi Digital Esoterism
Ginevra Petrozzi, 'Digital Esoterism', 2021. Courtesy of the artist and Design Academy Eindhoven. Photo: Pierre Castignola
Laurids Gallée Thieves
Laurids Gallée, 'Thieves', 2021. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Mathijs Labadie.

The exhibition When Things Are Beings is part of the project series Proposals for Municipal Art Acquisitions, which is organized biannually with financial support from the City of Amsterdam. Makers living and working in the Netherlands are invited to respond to an open call, followed by a jury selection and a group exhibition. Some of the work shown will be acquired for the museum collection.  

This year’s jury consists of: Aric Chen (director Het Nieuwe Instituut), Roos Gortzak (director Vleeshal), Prince Malik Jewiti-R (co-founder Artskop3437), Aude Christel Mgba (independent curator) and the Stedelijk Museum curators Amanda Pinatih and Britte Sloothaak.

The exhibition is accompanied by an online publication with in-depth texts on the 24 selected projects and an essay by Mira Asriningtyas. You can also read a reflection on the exhibition by curators Amanda Pinatih and Britte sloothaak.

The press preview on 24 November will feature live performances of three projects. Visitors will be able to experience the performances on 27 November, and at various times in the new year. Please check the website for the public program.

For more information and visual material, please contact the press preview of the Stedelijk Museum: