13 April 2019 till 08 September 2019

Top Floor

Artists choose from our collection

From 13 April the top floor of the museum will be given over not to our curators but to seven artists -– Philip Akkerman, Tjebbe Beekman, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Marcel van Eeden, Erik Kessels, Jan Taminiau and Jennifer Tee – in an exhibition that will showcase the breadth of our collection, in the runup to the museum’s change of name to Kunstmuseum Den Haag this autumn. The artists will choose their favourite works for Top Floor. Some will show their own work, some work by others, and some a combination of the two. From paintings to fashion and from sculpture to exciting interventions: this promises to be a show full of variety and surprises.

Plurality of art

Entering the galleries curated by Philip Akkerman (b. 1957) will be like stepping into a time machine. His contribution to the exhibition will evoke a slightly disorganised interior from 1913, in which a host of items are displayed, from paintings to decorative arts, from fashion to drawings and photography, all made in or around the randomly chosen year 1913. Akkerman hopes to show that the history of art is not clear-cut, and to highlight the plurality and chaos of art down the ages.

Inspiring form language

The paintings of Tjebbe Beekman (b. 1972) have become increasingly complex over the past few years. He is aware of his predecessors and the results of his own personal explorations are reflected in his art, from the form language of Henry Moore to the radical architectural idiom of Constant and the modernist forms of Fernand Léger. Driven by his own personal fascinations, Beekman has selected for the exhibition a number of paintings and sculptures by artists he admires or who have influenced his own development.

Tactility and intimacy

In 2015 Gemeentemuseum Den Haag hosted a solo exhibition of the work of Berlinde De Bruyckere (b. 1964), which led it to purchase her sculpture Inside Me IV (2011-2012). This work is the centrepiece of De Bruyckere’s presentation, and it is being shown in relation to work by artists like Lee Bontecou and Richard Long, in whose work tactility plays a key role, as it does in the work of De Bruyckere. De Bruyckere first saw Bontecou’s work in the United States and immediately became fascinated by her use of textile. De Bruyckere’s presentation will feature tactility and intimacy, juxtaposing the theatrical with the subtle and introverted.

The language of drawing

The presentation by Marcel van Eeden (b. 1965) will focus on the language of drawing, a timeless and universal language, as drawings can be clearly interpreted centuries later. Van Eeden will combine a series of his own drawings – Lorentz from 2015 – with nineteenth- and twentieth-century drawings. The artists whose work he has selected include Alexander Bakker Korff, whom he believes to have been a distant forerunner of conceptual art, and Erich Wichman, because the honesty of his drawings still appeals decades after they were made.

Keep looking

In Top Floor Erik Kessels (b. 1966) will emphasise how important it is to always keep looking, to question what we see and what we once saw in something. As we are continually flooded with images, we seem to have almost forgotten this. He wonders whether it is possible to approach a painting from Gemeentemuseum Den Haag’s collection in a different way. By adding an unexpected word to a work – screenprinted on doormats here – he will encourage visitors to make their own connections, and so to consume less and look more.

Revealing the design process

Jan Taminiau (b. 1975) will show some of his own designs in interaction with decorative art objects and costumes from the museum’s collection, among other things. He based his selection on the global connections between movements and techniques. Handcraft, traditional skills, material and attention to detail were key factors in his choice. He will show completed items with studies for artworks and embroidery samplers for his own designs. By highlighting these things that are not normally seen, Taminiau will reveal the process that precedes production of the actual artwork or design.

Getting a grip on the context

Artist Jennifer Tee (b. 1973) has selected a very diverse range of objects from the museum’s collection and added her own work and work by artist friends. The grave monuments, vases, scarves and sculptures she has selected reflect her interest in the physical and the human. Transience features strongly, albeit more as part of a cycle than as an endpoint. The objects on display seem to have come from attempts by the makers to get a grip on the context, sometimes with a certain degree of lightheartedness.

Keep looking

In Top Floor Erik Kessels (b. 1966) will emphasise how important it is to always keep looking, to question what we see and what we once saw in something. As we are continually flooded with images, we seem to have almost forgotten this. He wonders whether it is possible to approach a painting from Gemeentemuseum Den Haag’s collection in a different way. By adding an unexpected word to a work – screenprinted on doormats here – he will encourage visitors to make their own connections, and so to consume less and look more.

Revealing the design process

Jan Taminiau (b. 1975) will show some of his own designs in interaction with decorative art objects and costumes from the museum’s collection, among other things. He based his selection on the global connections between movements and techniques. Handcraft, traditional skills, material and attention to detail were key factors in his choice. He will show completed items with studies for artworks and embroidery samplers for his own designs. By highlighting these things that are not normally seen, Taminiau will reveal the process that precedes production of the actual artwork or design.

Getting a grip on the context

Artist Jennifer Tee (b. 1973) has selected a very diverse range of objects from the museum’s collection and added her own work and work by artist friends. The grave monuments, vases, scarves and sculptures she has selected reflect her interest in the physical and the human. Transience features strongly, albeit more as part of a cycle than as an endpoint. The objects on display seem to have come from attempts by the makers to get a grip on the context, sometimes with a certain degree of lightheartedness.