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Plug In - Re-Imagining the Collection - New Episodes at Van Abbemuseum
Cornelis Johannes Maks, Thee-uurtje, 1910 . Photo Peter Cox.

EINDHOVEN.- The Van Abbemuseum presents today Plug In - Re-Imagining the Collection – New episodes. This exhibition project was launched by the Van Abbemuseum in 2006 as a new, experimental presentation of the permanent collection. In Plug In #49 EXposition INterior two regular visitors of the museum – grandfather and grandchild – had the opportunity to show what goes on in their heads by means of a choice of the collection. This resulted in two totally different rooms which nevertheless have many similarities. Plug In #50 Collection Henri van Abbe shows all 26 acquisitions done in the very first years of the museum’s existence from the collection of Henri van Abbe, the founder of the museum. The presentation revives the museum’s history. In Plug In #51 Activist Club Chto Delat, a collective of artists, critics, philosophers and writers from St Petersburg and Moscow, explore the tension between art, politics and activism. They designed a small cinema, in which they show three recent works, with a reading- and discussion room. Specially for this presentation Chto Delat is publishing a issue of the newspaper which is issued on a regular basis since 2003.

EXposition Interior - Plug In #49 In this episode of Plug In two regular visitors of the Van Abbemuseum tell their story of the collection. Wim van Nuenen is a long-time volunteer of the Van Abbemuseum who asked for the opportunity to curate a Plug In. When directed to partner with someone different from him in point of view and age he chose Caya, his 11 year old granddaughter. Wim and Caya decided to concentrate on the idea of Interior, and chose works from the collection which reflect their physical and mental private world. In order to enhance the tension between what usually belongs to the intimate domain and now exhibited in the public sphere, two interviews were made – one of Wim in his living-room and one with Caya in her bedroom. Looking at the works selected by the two while listening to Wim and Caya’s voices rises questions about the universal vs. the personal and how straight forward yet poetic a reading of art can be.

Collection Henri van Abbe - Plug In #50 In ‘Plug In #50’ the first acquisitions of the Van Abbemuseum are on display. On 18 April 1936, the Van Abbemuseum opened its doors to the public. The building was a gift from industrialist and art collector Henri van Abbe to the city of Eindhoven. Apart from A.J. Kropholler’s building, the current Oudbouw (old building), Van Abbe donated an acquisitions budget and a contribution towards the museum’s maintenance costs during the first three years of its existence. Using the acquisitions budget, 26 paintings were acquired from Henri van Abbe’s private collection. This collection consisted mainly of paintings by contemporary Dutch and Flemish artists. It was Van Abbe’s wish for the museum to focus on contemporary art. In industry- and technology-driven Eindhoven, he hoped to accomplish that ‘in this city, many will learn to appreciate and value the joy and nobility of fine art.’ The ensemble of 26 paintings on which the Van Abbemuseum collection was based is displayed in its entirety in the gallery on the second floor of the Nieuwbouw (new building).

Activist Club - Plug In #51 The political and social changes after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 provoked plenty of food for thought and reconsideration. More and more artists are looking for ways of using art to confront topics such as these. Among them is Chto Delat (What is to be done), a collective of artists, critics, philosophers and writers from St Petersburg and Moscow formed in 2003. The group is concerned with topics in the field of tension between art, political theory and activism. Their first joint project was to launch an English-Russian newspaper with the name Chto Delat which is distributed free of charge. The collective engages in a variety of art projects, including videoworks, installations, public actions, radio programs and artistic examinations of urban space and everyday. One of their projects is entitled the Activist Club. The Activist Club has a small cinema, the Kino Club. The Kino Club’s programme features three recent video works: Builders (2004-2005), Angry Sandwich people or In a Praise of Dialectic (2006) and Perestroika Songspiel (2008). Later this year, the programme will be extended to include guest videos, presentations and discussions. The Activist Club is publishing a issue of its newspaper, What is the use of art?, specially for the presentation in the Van Abbemuseum. This is the first colour edition of this newspaper.

Plug In concept - ‘Plug In. Re-Imagining the Collection’ is an exhibition project that the Van Abbemuseum launched in 2006 as a new, experimental presentation of the permanent collection. It takes the form of a continually changing series of exhibitions. In collaboration with guest curators from the Netherlands and abroad, the museum has until now produced 51 different presentations in over 15 rooms, including the recently opened episodes. Each room contains an independent show, with its own theme and exhibition duration, and gives specific insights in the unique collection the museum has accumulated since its foundation in 1936. This results in an ongoing succession of distinct narratives which disclose surprising connections and contrasts.

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