Six contemporary artists have been invited to show new artworks for the newly renovated staircase at Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, which will reopen on Saturday 14th May. From outside the stairwell windows which were previously hidden in the wall have now been revealed. ‘To celebrate the flooding of daylight, we asked six contemporary artists to leave a work behind in this beautiful spot in the building,’ explains museum director Anne de Haij. The choice fell on Joana Schneider, Timo Demollin, Jennifer Tee, Femmy Otten, Zoro Feigl and Iriée Zamblé together with the duo Opperclaes. The museum has works of the last four artists in its collection.
The work Turns by Timo Demollin (1988) consists of six abstract wall sculptures that he based on the doorknobs of the Sint Jacobs Gasthuis. The museum has been housed in the former guest house since 1940. He made four of these together with traditional wood turners from Schiedam and Rotterdam. The original copies hang in a display case a little further on. They also refer to the history of the building, in which men and women lived separately, and the Schiedam wood industry. They hang in a formal grid, a nod to the museum’s Zero collection.
Schiedam was once a fishing town, which is linked to the material used by Joana Schneider (1990): old fishing rope. For her installation Spectrum, she wrapped that rope with wire from recycled PET bottles. From a distance they look like two brightly colored abstract paintings, one of which slowly changes color from orange, yellow, green and then to blue from below. The work opposite goes from red, lilac to purple. Together they form the color spectrum, but you can also see them as metaphors for day and night. Depending on the position of the sun, the color changes during the day.
The museum recently purchased several works from Jennifer Tee (1973) together with SCHUNCK from the Tampan Tulip series. Part of it can be seen after the reopening in the exhibition From Oerbeest tot Smoking Croissant. In the stairwell, Tee made Abstraction of a Form, Shape or Presence. The ceramic spheres in this installation refer to moons and planets and symbolize the universe, duality, reciprocity and unity. Other objects show a print of a face, as we know from the death mask, only now in negative. They are about memories, the capture of a moment, the abstraction of death. Tee thus establishes a relationship between the material and immaterial world in which one merges into the other, the merging of one into another state.
The museum has several works by Femmy Otten (1981) in its collection, in which she addresses themes such as fertility, motherhood and female sexuality, without wishing to be activist. She also does this in the installation Unclothed Days III for the stairwell of the museum, which consists of three elements. A large marble drop from which ears, noses, mouths, faces, vaginas and penises grow hangs on the wall halfway up the stairs. In a second small relief, Otten combines two phalluses with a painted poppy. The third element is a mural of two wings. With her intimate work she wants to break through taboos around motherhood, gender, fear and sexuality.
The museum also has work by Iriée Zamblé (1995) in its collection. In the stairwell she collaborates with Opperclaes (2010), founded by Linda van der Vleuten and Bruce Tsai-Meu-Chong. The duo was previously responsible for the pop-up exhibition Glashard about post-graffiti art. In her installation Birds Eye View of the Works we see the face of a Black woman who looks at you self-consciously. Iriée investigates the prevailing standards within the genre of painted and drawn portraits. These figures in her work proudly take their place on the canvas. Zamblé takes inspiration from everyday street scenes and Afro-Atlantic art and culture. Opperclaes was responsible for the graphic part of the painting, which consists of a composition of the woman’s clothing and canvases in combination with abstract surfaces. The abstract motifs originate from various works from the collection.
Sun spark spray
Zoro Feigl’s work for the stairwell will be completed in September, following his exhibition Zonal Sparks with large moving installations, which opens on 14 May. At the reopening you will also see the exhibitions From Oerbeest to smoking croissant, the Panorama Schiedam and the exhibition A colorful collection of ordinary people with all Schiedam Neighborhood Pictures. There are new works of art in the stairwell, the Atelier has been renovated and there is a City Gallery for co-creation with Schiedammers.