Grand, thrilling and connecting people; exactly what a typical Rotterdam party should be. Over 30 locations spread across the city opened their doors for the internationally hailed Art Rotterdam Week. During the 5-day event, visitors moved in delight between art fairs and exhibitions, from pop-ups and exclusive private views to performance art. A veritable publicity coup for the city of Rotterdam.

A fully integrated programme

Art Rotterdam Week has its origins in the world-famous Art Rotterdam fair, which attracts lovers of art and design from across the globe to the port city. Art Rotterdam has now been in existence for 20 years, and its sixth edition took place in the Van Nellefabriek. As before, the OBJECT design show took place in the vacant industrial HAKA premises under the inspiring guidance of Anne van der Zwaag. The rugged, industrial atmosphere of this venue contrasted perfectly with the colourful and outspoken exhibition objects. Qade Solo in the Cruise Terminal, and Haute Photography in Las Palmas, lent colour to the Wilhelminapier. In addition, the Boijmans van Beuningen, Kunsthal and the Dutch Foto Museum hosted special previews and exhibitions. Visitors who ended up in the Witte de Withstraat, the Rotterdam art quarter, discovered the wondrous world of the TEC ART art & technology festival. The WORM premises hosted exhibitions, live acts and special installations featuring the best of the talents graduating from leading Dutch art education institutions in 2018, and until the 15th of February, The Tunnel of Love could be visited at another iconic Rotterdam location: the Maastunnel. The pedestrian part of the tunnel under the Meuse was decorated with an impressive 35,000 fluorescent, heart-shaped stickers by the artistic duo VOLLAERSZWART. The tunnel had existed for exactly 77 years on the day of Love – the 14th of February – and the heart-warming gesture of the artists can therefore be seen as a birthday present benefiting residents and tourists alike.

The ‘Tunnel of Love’ by Menno Verheij.

 

A new generation of creators

Young talent was widely represented at the various locations of Art Rotterdam Week, and terms such as ‘new talents, haute talents and young artists’ were rife. The Commune premises, a co-working space for starting creative entrepreneurs and businesses, are to be found further on in the Rotterdam Makers District of M4H. Here a new class of designers and creators take particular account of the environment, the circular economy and sustainability. Ermi van Oers, for one, has developed Living Light with her team. She investigates the connections between people, nature and technology, and these are presented in rejuvenating projects. Living Light is a lamp that takes its energy from the photosynthetic process of plants, and a number of parks in Rotterdam and The Hague will be equipped with these light sources this very year. The artist Dominique Zwartelé exhibited her special finds at the OBJECT event. She presented ‘Treasures’, waste with an artful edge found on beaches all over the world; a reaction to the ‘plastic soup’ in our oceans. Nature takes the plastics and shapes the objects into little works of art, recycled by nature and regaining popularity with the public. Earlier on, we witnessed the work of Rotterdam architect Ramon Knoester. Through the vehicle of his Recycled Island Foundation he retrieves plastic litter and waste from the water and quays of the Meuse, ensuring that this plastic at least does not reach the ocean. His objective is a natural floating park in the Rotterdam Rijnhaven. Every artist harbours an idealist; the stories and backgrounds are just as interesting as the objects themselves.

Boijmans impresses with Bauhaus exhibition

The Boijmans van Beuningen Museum is preparing for a renovation lasting several years and the completion of a depot that will be accessible to the public. The museum currently features the thrilling, brand-new and very comprehensive exhibition entitled nederland ⇄ bauhaus – pioniers van een nieuwe wereld. The Bauhaus school and art movement have a special connection with Rotterdam. With due thanks to city architect J.J.P. Oud, the Dutch ‘New architecture’ has acquired international fame in a relatively short space of time. Visitors can revel in a unique collection of works of art: furniture, ceramics, textiles, photography, typography and architecture. The museum’s own collection has been complemented by no fewer than 600 special loan art works. Nice to know: the Van Nellefabriek is a typical Bauhaus location, featuring an impressive amount of glass and steel.

 

The rebellious approach of the designers and creators strikes a positive note. Rather than being afraid of failure, they will roll up their sleeves and carry on with resolve. Art Rotterdam Week sets the trend by presenting the work of ground-breaking, innovative and one-of-a-kind entrepreneurs and artists. Maxim: self-transcendent, the courage to look beyond the obvious unobstructed by frameworks and rules. Art Rotterdam Week 2020 has been scheduled for 6 – 9 February.

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