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1 December 2007 - 25 May 2008
Under the title ‘¿Adónde vas?’ Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents a selection from the rich and varied oeuvre of the Spanish artist Dora Dolz (1941). She has lived and worked in the Netherlands for more than forty years and is known to a broad public, mainly thanks to her colourful ceramic objects in parks and squares, such as the bench in the Zocherspark near the Euromast and the seat on the corner of the Heemraadssingel.
Her work – which alongside ceramic objects also includes paintings, carpets, textiles and glass objects – operates on the border between art and design. In relation to one another these works function as a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’. Dolz’s oeuvre has an unavoidable presence within the Dutch art world as a powerful, playful and very Spanish aesthetic with an unmistakable author.
Six years ago Dora Dolz’s colourful paintings and objects transformed the stately interiors of Kasteel Het Nijenhuis near Heino, the former residence of Dirk Hannema, the illustrious director of Museum Boijmans. Now she is a guest in ‘his’ museum – a building Dolz knows only too well: she has now lived in Rotterdam for more than forty years.
Her work now enters into a dialogue with the restrained historical architecture of the museum designed in the 1930s by the municipal architect Ad van der Steur in close consultation with Hannema. Here two worlds collide: Dolz’ robust ceramics, paintings and carpets, her ethereal lamps, and fragile crowns and sparkling mirrors suffused with vanitas symbolism are displayed in the context of Van der Steur’s refined building and the rich collections of art and decorative arts housed there.
The daylit gallery and adjacent garden evoke the intimate and warm atmosphere that characterises Dora Dolz’s house and studio in Rotterdam. Furniture from the collections of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and Rotterdam’s Historisch Museum are placed upon carpets designed by Dolz and surrounded by her objects, paintings and sketch designs. The exhibition includes many glass pieces: monumental pieces, ethereal lamps, fanciful dishes and vases. Fragile crowns, sparkling mirrors and extremely fine pipes refer to the seventeenth-century vanitas still lifes.
The Portrait of Dora Dolz was directed in 2006 by the artist’s daughter Sonia Herman Dolz. The film provides an intimate and penetrating insight into how it feels to arrive in the Netherlands as a migrant and to live the rest of your life between two cultures. Dolz once commented soberly: ‘In Spain I am very Dutch and in Holland I am very Spanish. But I don’t think it really makes any difference.’ Nonetheless, feelings of rootlessness and of not truly feeling at home anywhere play an important part in her life and work. These sentiments are referred to in the title of this presentation: ¿Adónde vas? (Where are you going?), which is borrowed from the Mexican folk song La Golondrina (The Swallow) a favourite song of Dolz’s and one that, as the film shows, she loves to sing. The song is about the swallow that wanders endlessly and is never at home. It is a song about rootlessness, about how it feels to be without a fixed place to stay.
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