The Highlights that are on display in museum Voorlinden cannot be described – one must undergo them.
Highlights of the museum
Leandro Erlich designed his Swimming Pool especially for Voorlinden. He gave his work all the characteristics of a real swimming pool, including the recognizable pool blue on the walls, the typical lamps and even a real stairway through which you seem to be able to descend. And yet as a visitor you can walk on the bottom without getting wet. Leandro frequently plays with the eye. He transforms everyday spaces into absurd situations, to creating an experience that makes the viewer think about the reality around him. The work only really functions in its use by the public. Without people, according to the artist, the work is not complete.
The sculpture Open Ended by the American artist Richard Serra weighs almost 216 tonnes. The corten steel work is 4 metres high, 18 metres long and 7 metres wide. This is a piece full of contrasts: both heavy and elegant, industrial and organic, stately and playful, convex and concave. Six vaulted steel plates moulded together form a maze. Open Ended is a work best experienced by walking through it.
On the right we see a portrait of the French realistic painter Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), and on the left a self-portrait of Yan Pei-Ming, both depicted at the age of 58. Before Pei-Ming immigrated to France in 1980, he was already a devotee of Courbet. “Courbet matters to me because he is a painter’s painter. He covers such a wide range of subjects. He can do it all.” In a short period of time, Pei-Ming knows how to paint effectively in a wet-on-wet (alla prima) technique. In order to do so, he applies his oil paint using long sticks with brushes on his monumental canvas.
A mobile consisting of seven birdcages – inhabited by Waterslager song canaries – hangs suspended in the air. There is a mathematical formula concealed in this work: each arm of the canary mobile, whether horizontal or vertical, is exactly one-half the length of the previous arm. Carsten Höller has a lifelong fascination with birds. “How you can be deeply satisfied by hearing the first skylark, it produces a profound happiness in me: a good artwork can be the same.”
Garments can function as sculpture even in the absence of a human wearer, according to Erwin Wurm. For the artist, clothes are like a second skin in that they have a protective function: they allow you to conceal yourself and they give you a feeling of comfort and security. The same applies to this oversized beanie, the artwork creates a place to shelter. Erwin invites you to stand under the beanie, your presence completes the artwork.
These 23 chairs are part of Fairytale – 1001 Chairs comprised of 1001 chairs from the Qing dynasty in China (1644-1911). It is a social piece that Ai Weiwei created for the 2007 edition of Documenta, an art event held in Germany once every five years. Through his blog Ai Weiwei invited 1001 Chinese citizens to Kassel for twenty days. Together, these people formed a representative sample of the country’s population. Most of them had never before been outside the confines of their own community, let alone that they dared to dream of a trip abroad. The artist feels that personal experiences are the foundation necessary for social change.
Due to maintenance work, the lifts are not on display at the moment.
The museum has a built-in elevator that comes up just a little bit higher than a grown-up’s ankle, on a scale of 1:7.5. The lift cabin disappears to an unknown destination in a building that does not have any storeys. Maurizio plays a game of copying and scaling, which allows the spectator to look at reality from a different point of view. The moment of recognition is immediately followed by the feeling of alienation, which is exactly what the artist is aiming for.
James Turrell’s Skyspace is currently not open to visitors due to crowd control measures.
James Turrell designed a Skyspace especially for museum Voorlinden. It consists of a space with a square hole in the roof, through which the viewer looks directly upwards and sees the air as never before. In creating this Skyspace, Turrell composed a light program which is adapted to the dusk in Wassenaar. The soft natural light is in contrast with the bright, almost palpable colours of the lamps of the Skyspace. The effect is breathtaking. In the case of rain or snow the Skyspace will be temporarily closed to prevent slipping.