Be[com]ing Dutch
Van Abbemuseum
Eindhoven, NL
24/05/08 - 14/09/08

With the artists:
Petra Bauer, Abdellatif Benfaidoul, Michael Blum, Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson, Phil Collins, Carla Cruz, Gerrit Dekker, Erwin van Doorn, Ronen Eidelman, Ed van der Elsken, Hadassah Emmerich, Alexandra Ferreira, Daan van Golden, Rana Hamadeh, Nicoline van Harskamp, Alicia Herrero, Hans van Houwelingen, Johan van der Keuken Annette Krauss, Agung Kurniawan, Surasi Kusolwong, Toos Nijssen, Ahmet Öğüt, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Bik Van der Pol, Ilya Rabinovich, Mario Rizzi, Mounira Al Solh, Fiona Tan, Oğuz Tatari, Alite Thijsen, Lidwien van de Ven, Tintin Wulia, Bettina Wind, Stephen Willats

The exhibition Be(com)ing Dutch is part of a large scale project that has been in progress for two years. During that time, the museum has focused on what have become sensitive issues for the Netherlands, such as identity, nationality, citizenship and social cohesion. In those two years artists, intellectuals, politicians and the people of Eindhoven were invited to find possible answers to awkward questions. What does ‘Being Dutch' or ‘Becoming Dutch’ mean in the 21st Century? Who are ‘the Dutch’ anyway and how do we want to be seen by ourselves and others? The outcome of this whole process is being shown in an exhibition of artists’ works in the museum and throughout the city of Eindhoven.

Be(com)ing Dutch is unusual in the Netherlands because it takes on an outright political and social subject and translates it into artistic terms. Since 2006, when the Van Abbemuseum was awarded a prize that made it possible to turn our existing ideas into reality, the discussion in the Netherlands about who we are, where we come from, where we are heading and about our norms and values in a globalising world has become even more topical and urgent. The long term planning allowed the museum to talk with people at length and to organise major public discussions such as the Eindhoven Caucus. Now it is the turn of artists, many of whom have participated in all the stages of Be(com)ing Dutch, to show you what they have found. Twenty one of the thirty seven artists have conceived new works for the exhibition, guided by three broad directional themes: ‘Imaginary Past’, ‘ Imaginary Present’ and ‘Imaginary Future’. Enjoy!

Charles Esche & Annie Fletcher

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