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Stedelijk invites former director Rudi Fuchs to curate an exhibition
Installation view Excitement: An exhibition by Rudi Fuchs. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij.

AMSTERDAM.- The Stedelijk has invited former director Rudi Fuchs to curate an exhibition in his unique, distinctive style, to look back on his long career as museum director and exhibition maker. Fuchs was successively director of the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and made a significant contribution to the development of the Dutch state art collection and perceptions of art in the Netherlands. Excitement encompasses iconic works of art acquired by Fuchs, by artists such as Georg Baselitz, Jan Dibbets, Tracey Emin, Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Piet Mondriaan, Bruce Nauman and A.R. Penck.

From the outset of his career, Rudi Fuchs took a singular approach to exhibition-making, presenting unexpected combinations of work by different artists and styles. Similarities between contemporaries proved a fertile field of exploration, inspiring him to present Daniel Buren alongside Georg Baselitz and Gilbert & George opposite Bruce Nauman. Fuchs installed galleries not on the basis of art historical information; his choices were based on looking.

In the words of Rudi Fuchs: “Hanging art works in close proximity throws their singularity into sharp relief. Look at the 1970s – there were so many radically different kinds of art that were, or seemed to be, at odds with each other. But if you looked at the works with an open mind, each excelled in its own way. At least, that’s how it struck me. You could be biased, as many people were, or accept the plurality as abundance – and take that view of art. As early as 1980, Markus Lüpertz and Richard Long told me: it’s about the quality of our generation. There’s no such thing as ‘right’. There is taste, and preference – but that’s something else altogether. In today’s world, no one is automatically the first. In art, no one is the best. That’s what this exhibition is about – from my perspective, and with the works that are available.”

At the heart of the exhibition is the excitement of discovering and getting to know works of art. Fuchs shares with visitors his way of seeing, a vision that’s all about taking time, about patience and precision. He considers the art work an intense expression of how an artist sees what he or she is making – every aspect of the work is, after all, a consequence of the decisions taken by the artist during the making process. Fuchs himself looks at the end result with the same intensity, studying the materials, technique, colors and format, the composition and the tradition within which an artist works. Excitement invites viewers to discover the similarities, differences, richness of color, composition, material and ideas at their own pace.

The exhibition design and graphics are created by Walter Nikkels, who installed numerous exhibitions with Rudi Fuchs in the three museums of which he was director, as well as Documenta 7 in 1982. To date, Rudi Fuchs is the only Dutch art professional to have been invited to curate this prestigious art event.

On the occasion of the exhibition, Konig Buchhandlung will publish a collection of essays written by Rudi Fuchs over recent years for De Groene Amsterdammer.

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