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up to and including 29 April 2018

XL Art: Large-Format Works Since the 1950s

While selecting the works for ‘The Collection as Time Machine’ in the museum’s old wing, guest curator Carel Blotkamp sadly had to omit several of his favourite works: the Rothko painting only just fitted through the doors, other paintings were simply too big. For this reason,he has created a supplementary exhibition,‘XL Art’, with more than sixty large works from the museum’s collection.

Featured works include ‘Driftwood Circle’ by Richard Long, ‘Notung’ by Anselm Kiefer and ‘D'red Dwarf, B'lack Hole’ by Jim Shaw. By contrast, the Bodon wing offers ample space for these large artworks and will provide the backdrop from February 2018 for the XL exhibition.

A Tight Fit

Paintings that take up an entire wall, sculptures and installations that fill whole galleries: today extremely large artworks are quite normal. But in in 1935, when Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen opened, such large artworks were rare and so the design of the building did not take them into account. In the 1970s, the museum constructed the Bodon wing to create more space for exhibitions and the growing collection. This space is perfect for the more than sixty large works XL Art.

The works in XL Art: Large-Format Works Since the 1950s are arranged more or less chronologically in keeping with the set-up of the post-war art in the display The Collection as Time Machine. Guest curator Carel Blotkamp: ‘In curating the collections displays, I sadly had to exclude certain works simply because they would not pass through the doors. The beautiful Rothko only just fitted. I am very pleased with this exhibition as a temporary supplement to the collections displays.’

Video 'XL ART -Large Format Works Since the 1950s' More information

New John Körmeling acquisition 'The Square Car' now on show

The Square Car by John Körmeling (1951), recently purchased by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, is part of the exhibition. The Square Car (2010) is a large, four-wheeled, rectangular glass box. The work fits well within the museum’s ambitions to explore the boundaries between design and visual art. John Körmeling is an artist, architect and inventor. He first had the idea to create a highly simplified version of a traditional automobile in 1992. He made several different versions of the vehicle in the years that followed. The work acquired by the museum was made specially for the Dutch pavilion entitled Happy Street that Körmeling designed for Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The artwork has a minimalist form and is also a functioning vehicle.


The Square Car van Körmeling is not the only car on display in ‘XL Art’, which also includes Mercedes with 57mm Cannon by Atelier Van Lieshout and The Car by Marisol from the 1960s. The three cars have very different artistic identities. Marisol’s sculpture fits within the Pop art tradition and questions the social roles we play. Her car contrasts sharply with the macho, aggressive car by Atelier Van Lieshout, designed to protect Joep van Lieshout’s commune, and Körmeling’s car embodies the modernist design ideal of less is more.

Marisol, The Car
Marisol, The Car
Atelier Van Lieshout, Mercedes with 57mm canon
Atelier Van Lieshout, Mercedes with 57mm canon
John Körmeling, The Square Car
John Körmeling, The Square Car

Trees of Chewing Gum

The exhibition includes the work Cloth Jumping, A Monument for Muybridge by the Rotterdam-based artist Anna, who died at the young age of forty-five. The work features grey pieces of fabric attached to a washing line with pegs. The contours of the lower parts have been cut to correspond with a series of photographs of a jumping man taken by the famous 19th-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge. The exhibition also features Jim Shaw’s enormous painting D’red Dwarf, B’lack Hole. Shaw often uses old theatre backdrops for his paintings, which look like images from cheap comics or horror stories, such as this landscape with a pyramid-shaped temple and trees that resemble chewing gum.