Bertien van Manen
The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is mounting a series of exhibitions in 2017 and 2018 that explore different aspects of the theme migration. I Am a Native Foreigner examines migration by focusing on the museum’s collection: what are artists views on migration, and how do they visualise it in their work? This collection presentation considers the effects of migration on artists both past and present, and reveals how they dealt with, and depicted, the impact of displacement. The title I Am a Native Foreigner is taken from a statement made by the Mexican artist Ulises Carrión (1941-1989), who settled in Amsterdam in the 1970s.
Aslan Gaisumov / Volga, video still
The works in I Am a Native Foreigner ranges from photographs of Dutch immigrants disembarking at New York’s Ellis Island around 1900, and Surinamese-born Dutch who made their home in the Bijlmer in Amsterdam southeast in the late ‘70s, to more recent images of refugees off the coast of southern Spain.
Some artists, like Remy Jungerman and Ed Hart, were once migrants themselves, and articulate that experience in their work. In the 1960s and ‘70s, they left their homeland, Suriname, for Amsterdam. In Jungerman’s work, the squashed toad motif serves “as a metaphor for something or someone who voluntarily steps out of their natural habitat. That step is a risk: you might end up being squashed flat, but you might escape.” Some artists explore the relationship between migration and the colonial past of the Netherlands. In La Javanaise, Wendelien van Oldenborgh concentrates on ‘Dutch wax’, highlighting the way in which the Dutch appropriated the traditional batik technique to produce fabrics which were – and still are – immensely popular on the African market. Born in South Africa and resident in Amsterdam since 1976, Marlene Dumas scrutinizes the relationship between image and stereotype in Young Men, a series of portraits featuring males of North African appearance.
I Am a Native Foreigner is curated by Stedelijk curator Leontine Coelewij and includes work by:
Peter Alma (ID, 1886 – NL, 1969) | Halil Altindere (TR, 1971) | Francis Alys (BE, 1959) | Kors van Bennekom (NL, 1933 – 2016) | Rossella Biscotti (IT, 1979)| Miguel-Ángel Cárdenas (CO, 1934 – NL, 2015) | Ulises Carrión (MX, 1941 – NL, 1989) | Ad van Denderen (NL, 1943) | Rineke Dijkstra (NL, 1959) | Agoes Djaya (ID, 1913 – 1994) | Otto Djaya (ID, 1916 – 2002) | Marlene Dumas (ZA, 1953) | Aslan Gaisumov (Chechnya, 1991) | Gillion Grantsaan (SR, 1968) | Ed Hart (SR, 1936) | Nola Hatterman (NL, 1899 – SR, 1984) | Lewis Hine (US, 1874 – 1940) | Remy Jungerman ( SR, 1959) | Aart Klein (NL, 1909 – 2001) | Bertien van Manen (NL, 1942) | Meredith Monk (PE, 1942) | Otobong Nkanga (NG, 1974) | Wendelien van Oldenborgh (NL, 1962) | Michiel Schuurman (NL, 1974) | Barbara Visser (NL, 1966)
Ad van Denderen
This exhibition is one of a series of exhibitions on the theme of migration staged by the Stedelijk in 2017 and 2018. As director Beatrix Ruf noted earlier this year: “It is important to always tell new stories, both with our collection and with separate exhibitions. I believe it’s important that, at the Stedelijk Museum, you can see how art addresses this issue, and how art can confront us with how we think and allow us to reframe our thinking.” The exhibition is part of a new, long-term research programme, Stedelijk Turns, in which the museum approaches, interprets and presents its collection in an experimental way.