The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen print room hosts exhibitions, which change regularly. In the winter of 2014 the museum exhibited a range of bibliophile publications and artist editions published by the Rotterdam publisher and gallery Bébert (1980-1990). Rotterdam art initiatives will be the subjects of a series of presentations based on items from the Rotterdam City Collection. The series had been compiled by Noor Mertens, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Rotterdam City Collection.
Pablo van Dijk, born in 1956, founded the publisher Bébert in Rotterdam in 1980. Initially it published bibliophile works and produced publications in collaboration with Dutch authors such as Jeroen Brouwers and K. Schippers. Bébert had the opportunity to work with major national and international artists because it was not in competition with galleries that represented them in the Netherlands and abroad. From 1983 Pablo ran the business with his then partner Pandora Tabatabai Asbaghi, born in 1957. Over the years they increasingly focused Bébert on artist editions. The written word played a progressively smaller role in these stylish books. Bébert relocated to a listed building in Westersingel in 1988. After that it operated as both a publisher and a gallery. Pablo moved to New York in 1989, after which Pandora ran the business on her own for a further year.
A highlight of Bébert’s artist editions is the series Contemporary Archaeology - Part One, Two and Three—also called Pandora’s Boxes—which were published between 1985 and 1990. Two hundred copies were printed of each volume of Contemporary Archaeology, each containing ten works by Dutch and foreign artists. Contemporary Archaeology included items by Richard Hamilton, Richard Artschwager and René Daniëls. These Pandora’s Boxes were not named solely after the myth of Pandora, but also after Marcel Duchamp’s 'Boîte-en-valise' in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen collection. They can be perceived as portable exhibitions. All the artists involved were asked to produce as much variation as possible in the two hundred identical examples. This resulted in boxes that justified the name—each with unimaginable contents. The museum ias exhibiting the three complete Pandora’s Boxes.
Most of the artist editions in this exhibition came from the bequest of Johannes Westerhuis.