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up to and including 19 May 2022
Erasmus MC

Human Appearances – Strength & Vulnerability

Several highlights from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s sculpture collection are guests in the sculpture garden at the Erasmus MC. In this location in the hospital, where the body is the primary focus, the five sculptures explore the strength and vulnerability of what it means to be human.

Artists have always been inspired by the human body and the emotions that make us human. Whether happy, sad, anxious or lost in thought, the sculptures reflect our lives. And vice versa, because if we allow our imagination free rein, we may recognise something of ourselves in these figures.

With a theatrical gesture or a quiet presence, the sculptures invite us to reflect on who we are and how we see and present ourselves.

While Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen undergoes a large-scale renovation and modernisation programme, part of the museum’s collection remains on view in neighbouring museums and institutions under the name ‘Boijmans Next Door’. The exhibition ‘Human Appearances – Strength & Vulnerability’ at the Erasmus MC is the sixth in a series of eleven exhibitions.

Human figures admitted to Erasmus MC

Four of the five human figures, all from the museum’s collection, will be sited in the hospital’s covered garden. The identity of the four sculptures will remain a secret until the opening. From today, the fifth sculpture, the iconic cast-iron giant ‘Grosse Geister (Figur Nr. 8)’ by artist Thomas Schütte, welcomes visitors at the RG 101H entrance (close to the atrium).

Video with Dutch subtitles

‘A good neighbour is better than a distant friend. When the museum sought our cooperation, the committee was immediately enthusiastic, mainly because the exhibition features powerful figures that exude emotions that fit well within the walls of our hospital. You will recognise that immediately when you see the sculptures. We hope our patients and staff appreciate the exhibition and will find comfort or distraction in it.’

Prof. Dr Jan van Saase, internist Erasmus MC and member of the hospital’s art committee.

Human figures in the collection

Several hundred of the three thousand sculptures in the museum’s collection consist solely of human figures: powerful bodies, broken bodies, hyperrealistic and abstract, heroes and anonymous figures by artists such as Giambologna, Salvador Dalí and Ossip Zadkine. Auguste Rodin is unrivalled in the expression of the human body in his ‘Pierre de Wissant’, a study for one of the standing figures in the ‘Burghers of Calais’, a group that commemorates the end of the siege of Calais. Another famous figure from the collection is ‘Seated Child’ by Duane Hanson: this surly looking boy holding a bar of chocolate is extremely lifelike and has confused many visitors.

Boijmans Next Door

Thanks to the Droom en Daad Foundation, part of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection will remain visible in Rotterdam during the museum’s extensive renovation and modernisation programme. As part of ‘Boijmans Next Door’, some five hundred masterpieces are featured in eleven exhibitions at eight neighbouring venues, where the works from Boijmans’ collection enter into a dialogue with those of the host locations, creating new and unexpected juxtapositions. This is the first time that so many of Rotterdam’s cultural institutions have entered into a long-term partnership to keep Boijmans’ collection visible. New exhibitions are planned at the Wereldmuseum, the Kunsthal, Museum Rotterdam, the Chabot Museum and the Maritime Museum in the second half of 2019 and in 2020.

Meer over 'Boijmans bij de Buren'.

Transit Boijmans Van Beuningen

Since May 2019, the museum is closed for essential renovations. In this transitional period, the museum is making its world-class collection available elsewhere in Rotterdam and further afield. In addition to the ‘Boijmans Next Door’ projects, the museum has also created travelling exhibitions for museums all around the world. And schoolchildren in Rotterdam are being introduced to real artworks from the collection in the project ‘Boijmans in the Classroom’. Meanwhile, the construction of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen continues apace. The world’s first publicly accessible art-storage facility will open at the beginning of 2021 and will safely house and display 151,000 artworks.

Meer over Boijmans in Transit

This exhibition has been made possible by: