From 23rd September, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam will present the new acquisition Planetary Chapel (2021) by Levi van Veluw, in a specially designed blue, tranquil space. From the outside, the work most resembles a modern interpretation of a small altar. The artwork contains an ingenious mechanism designed by Van Veluw himself, through which the shutters of the work open and a special game of rotating golden planets unfolds.
Tranquil and magical
“A tranquil and magical experience,” says museum director Anne de Haij about her encounter with Planetary Chapel . ‘You prefer to share it with as many people as possible. After the announcement of the purchase, we received a lot of demand from visitors, especially via social media, to come and experience the work for themselves. We are happy to respond to this with this presentation.’ The work, made of polymer clay, gold leaf and a brass mechanism, is completely handmade by artist Levi van Veluw. Van Veluw (1985) makes installations, sculptures, drawings and films that are often based on his childhood memories. The blue marbled work of approximately 70 centimeters high is already beautiful to look at when closed. The real spectacle begins when the doors open. The artwork features a subtly moving scene of rotating spheres reminiscent of a golden planetarium. The delicate interior is inspired by Solomon’s temple, one of the earliest religious temples to be completely covered in gold. Here Van Veluw mixes his personal memories from his religious youth and his fascination for the ways in which religion uses ritual objects that can almost evoke a spiritual experience in believers, with his interest in science.
The Stedelijk Museum Schiedam wants as many people as possible to enjoy art and history. Sometimes by visiting an exhibition with several works of art, with a very concrete story. And sometimes also through an intimate encounter with a single work of art. The museum already gained experience with this in 2019-2020, when it offered a one-on-one experience with a work by Mark Rothko. This time, visitors can at regular intervals participate in a so-called ‘silent performance’ lasting a few minutes, during which you can experience Planetary Chapel up close and perhaps even experience a spiritual experience. Every Saturday and Sunday the work of art is turned on by a museum employee with a small ritual action (around 12:00, 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM.) You do not need to make a reservation for this. When entering the museum you can indicate that you would like to attend.
The Stedelijk Museum Schiedam purchased Planetary Chapel (2021) by Levi van Veluw for the collection in June 2023. The purchase was made entirely possible through the Mondriaan Fund’s collection program subsidy scheme.