Submarine Wharf Closes Its Doors

Elmgreen & Dragset in the Submarine Wharf (2011). Photo: Femke Hoogland

Submarine Wharf Closes Its Doors

After a busy summer the exhibition ‘The One & The Many’ by the Scandinavian duo Elmgreen & Dragset closed on Sunday 25 September after great success. No fewer than 18,000 people from the Netherlands and abroad visited the former Submarine Wharf on the RDM site in the Rotterdam docks. Public and press alike were enthusiastic about the immersive surrealistic experience. In the summer of 2012 the wharf will be transformed by the celebrated artist Sarkis.

Since the end of May the Submarine Wharf housed an exhibition that transformed the building into a large film set with a raw, grim atmosphere. Visitors were involved in a series of non-stop events six hours a day, performed and created by specially-trained actors from the Ro Theatre.
The exhibition in the almost 5,000 square metre shed was organized by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Port of Rotterdam Authority in association with the Ro Theatre. From the moment the exhibition opened on 28 May 2011 it was busy every day, hosting a total of 18,000 enthusiastic and sometimes almost intimidated visitors from all over the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Dutch Press over ‘The One & The Many’
Trouw: ‘As a visitor you are sucked into this surrealistic world to such an extent that at any given moment you no longer know what is real and what is staged.’
Elsevier: ‘It’s a kind of extended film set, in which visitors themselves have walk-on parts.’
NRC: ‘Once again the work of art absorbs me; again I’m that one against the rest. “The One and The Many”, indeed.’

Elmgreen & Dragset
The artists behind the large-scale project were the internationally-renowned Michael Elmgreen (Denmark, 1961) and Ingar Dragset (Norway, 1969). Elmgreen said, ‘What we found absolutely extraordinary was the huge effort made by the young actors.’ Elmgreen & Dragset have been selected to fill the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square in 2012. ‘The One & The Many’ in Rotterdam was their first major project in the Netherlands.

Artist 2012
After the start made by Atelier van Lieshout in 2010, followed by Elmgreen & Dragset in 2011, in 2012 it is the turn of the seventy-three-year-old artist Sarkis Zabunyan, who lives in Paris and Istanbul. Sarkis’s work is described as mysterious as well as spiritual. The artist effortlessly blends African, Asian and European influences. His installation in Rotterdam can be seen in the Submarine Wharf from 2 June until 30 September. Sjarel Ex, director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, and Nicolette Gast, curator of ‘The One & The Many’, will curate.

Joint Venture
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Port of Rotterdam Authority will be working together on a series of large-scale art projects until 2014. The Submarine Wharf on the RDM site is one of the initiatives designed to bring a wide audience into contact with the port. The exhibition was realized by the Port of Rotterdam Authority and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, thanks in part to a special contribution from the BankGiro Loterij and the City of Rotterdam.