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Alicja Kwade – Die Notwendigkeit der Dinge

9 March to 9 June 2024

Alicja Kwade doesn’t take anything for granted. She approaches her work with a relentless curiosity to challenge conventional understandings of the world around us. Through her diverse artistic practice, she delves into the essence of reality and examines social constructs. Her sculptures and installations, some of which is shown for the first time at Voorlinden, create immersive experiences that will challenge your perception and make you reflect on the nature of reality as you know it. 

Asking questions is at the forefront of Alicja Kwade’s work. Indeed, her work begins where she no longer understands. Her work investigates scientific and philosophical concepts, challenging the very foundations of our comprehension of reality. Often veering towards the absurd and transforming commonly accepted assumptions into open-ended questions, she challenges the established norms and models that shape our daily lives, prompting a reevaluation of our understanding of existence.

Alicja Kwade: ‘As human beings, we need objects, ideas, political systems and social structures to grasp our world, to live in society, to make our lives possible. We create things, define them, agree on them to make our lives possible. But they are not a given; it’s not a fact that a day has 24 hours, it’s something we agreed upon. In my work, I look into why things are the way they are, to really understand as much as I can.’


Order the catalogue now!
Would you like a lasting memory of Alicja Kwade’s spectacular exhibition at Voorlinden? Then purchase the catalogue! Inside, you’ll find stunning images of all the artworks and exhibition galleries. Additionally, writer and philosopher Joke J. Hermsen offers a philosophical insight into Alicja’s work. She demonstrates how time plays a role in Alicja’s work, how she undermines our belief in absolute certainties, and prompts us to reconsider reality. Barbara Bos, Head of Exhibitions, also guides you through the underlying ideas behind the creation of this extraordinary exhibition.

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Doubting your perception
In her solo exhibition Die Notwendigkeit der Dinge (The Necessity of Things), Alicja explores the essence of things by questioning them in her sculptures and installations and placing them in novel contexts. Her skeptical approach towards objects and social constructs serves as a poignant reminder that everything manifests through random processes and specific moments in time. As such, Kwade questions the existence of a fundamental, evident truth, as well as the pathways to attaining objective insights and the extent to which consensus can be achieved on these matters — all of which remain open for exploration.

Director Suzanne Swarts: ‘With her immersive installations and poetic sculptures, Alicja Kwade shows how you important it is to occasionally change perspective, to look at our constructed reality in a different way.’

Inside and outside
The exhibition occupies both the museum and the estate. Two monumental outdoor installations that were specifically created for this exhibition, comprising of interlocking bent steel frames supporting substantial boulders that appear to defy gravity, stand as a highlight. An arrangement of cast bronze chairs and stones, engaged in what seems like a confrontation, leads visitors into the museum, where the exhibition commences with a cascade of clock weights. To accentuate Alicja’s awe-inspiring creations, the museum floors have been rendered in white, lending a dimension of alienation to the overall experience.

Head of exhibitions Barbara Bos: ‘The exhibition will be visually very exciting. Really a physical and intellectual experience. The white floors will make it seem as if you are floating through the space. Meanwhile, Alicja Kwade makes your head spin by making you aware of all the assumptions and presumptions you make.’

Close bond with Voorlinden
Alicja Kwade was born in 1979 in Katowice, Poland and lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Over the past 20 years, she has generated a broad oeuvre of sculptures, photographs, videos, and installations. Alicja’s work has been shown extensively, with notable exhibitions at prestigious venues such as the Venice Biennale and the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Her works are part of many important museum collections around the world and Voorlinden has several works in its collection, some of them specially commissioned.

Header image: Alicja Kwade, WeltenLinie, 2019 – Collection museum Voorlinden