Art in context
Art is influenced by the spirit of the time in which it is created. Raging standstill – Art in Breda, from 1970 until today therefore places the exhibited works in their context regarding global and regional events, ranging from radical historical events to everyday situations. The art of each time period provides a wordless yet vocal commentary on what is going on in the world.
Prosperity and the questions of life
The exhibition guides visitors through different time periods. The year 1970 and the years that followed form the starting point for what we now call modern art. Breda artists also united themselves in a collective in that time. The prosperity and pace of life are accelerating explosively in this era. Diseases and information were swiftly spreading all around the world. Rising prosperity brought increasing comfort, but also raises questions about the goal of our existence. Artists born around the time of World War II visualised these ultimate questions of life. The works are marked by the pessimism resulting from the horrors of war. Their art shows the absurdity of the human state. For instance in the melancholic and alienating photographs by Teun Hocks in which animals play the role of friends of the photographer. Or artist Pieter Laurens Mol who let an eight-year-old girl dictate where he would place a circle, rectangle and triangle on his painting.
Art offers room for reflection
The works show that as humanity rushes forward, art stands still and offers space for reflection. While in 2008 the world was held hostage by the financial crisis, complete with collapsing banks, stock markets and companies, photographer Paul den Hollander exposed completely different aspects of life in the run-up to the crisis. For his Metamorphosis project he took photographs in the microcosm of his garden in Breda. His is not a search for material wealth, but rather for the mind-blowing evanescence of life itself. From 2013 onwards, there have been more and more highly troubling reports about the rise in sea levels as a result of our inadequate climate policy. The theme of nature versus culture is reflected in the work Ikarus (2017), by artist Josua Wechsler. The branch-like structure of this work is covered with an unnatural pinkish red epoxy varnish. To Wechsler this represents the pride of humankind.
Mingling of forms
The themes and subject matter are not the only elements increasingly intertwined with worldwide events through the development of all new means of communication. Different art forms from different continents are also influencing each other more and more. Yeung Yuk-Kan, for example, born in Hong Kong and living in the Netherlands, mixes Eastern ways of seeing things with Western forms in her ceramic objects. This is expressed in a vase without a bottom, for example, and in her use of colour which harks back to Piet Mondrian.
Contemporary art in Stedelijk Museum Breda
In the Raging standstill – Art in Breda, from 1970 until today exhibition, more than seventy works by artists born between 1935 and 1995 are on display. Guest curator Ad van Rosmalen made a selection of artworks from the museum’s own collection, supplemented with new acquisitions and several loans. In addition to the works in the museum rooms, a changing selection will be on show at the Pasbaan Gallery. The museum’s permanent collection exhibition now runs until the mid-twentieth century. Raging standstill – Art in Breda, from 1970 until today continues where it stops with an overview of the contemporary art collection. The exhibition thus also forms a starting point for future art collection.
Raging standstill - Art in Breda from 1970 until today, shows work by: Theo Besemer, Marius Boender, Iris Bouwmeester, Eelco Brand, Tom Claassen, Tjitske Dijkstra, Ruud van Empel, Teun Hocks, Paul den Hollander, Arjan Janssen, Peter Kantelberg, Inge van ‘t Klooster, Marc Koreman, Harrie de Kroon, Danielle Lemaire, Hubert Leyendeckers, Johan van Loon, Pieter Laurens Mol, Romee van Oers, Sef Peeters, Colin Peters, Mado Schoolmeesters, Johanna Schweitzer, Carolein Smit, William Speakman, Niel Steenbergen, Ruth Terwiel, Pieter van Unen, Frans van Veen, Cécile Verwaaijen, Kees Vet, Jaap de Vries, Melanie de Vroom, Joshua Wechsler, Yeung Yuk Kan, Michiel van der Zanden and Margot Zweers.
Aya, hand embroidered, 205 x 220 cm, 2014, Cécile Verwaaijen
Painted construction barrier Breda 1994, Johan van Gurp, Stadsarchief Breda