THE GOLDEN COACH at Amsterdam Museum

Nelson Carrilho Altaar voor Elisabeth Moendi 2017
Photo Tom Benavente courtesy of the artist

Contemporary art takes spotlight in Golden Coach exhibition.

Works from sixteen contemporary makers are included in the exhibition The Golden Coach, which opened last week and can be seen until 27th February, 2022 in the Amsterdam Museum. Besides hundreds of cultural-historical objects that provide a multifaceted view of the Golden Coach’s history, use, and past and current discussions surrounding it, contemporary artworks play an important role in telling the royal carriage’s story from multiple viewpoints. The work of contemporary makers in the exhibition is a reflection on the symbolic value and materiality of the coach, including the controversial painting ‘Hulde der Koloniën’ (Tribute from the Colonies).  

Hundreds of artists and artisans had a hand in creating the Golden Coach at the end of the nineteenth century. In the Golden Coach exhibition, the Amsterdam Museum displays a variety of visions on this ceremonial carriage. Artists from different generations with diverse cultural backgrounds were commissioned to create an ensemble of contemporary perspectives on the coach. They reflect on the rituals surrounding the coach, the materiality and craftsmanship of the carriage, and the colonial past and its legacy today. Their installations, sculptures, painting, photography, sound art, and performances offer artistic and critical perspectives on the Golden Coach.

‘’With this exhibition, the Amsterdam Museum aims to provide a space for discussions on the value and future of the Golden Coach and thereby facilitate debate. The artists’ contributions are therefore of great importance,” explains Margriet Schavemaker, artistic director of the Amsterdam Museum, on the decision to add contemporary work to the Golden Coach exhibition. ‘’The sixteen artists, from different generations and diverse cultural backgrounds, all approach the subject from their own outlook on the coach. Their contributions give rise to various images and perspectives. These images invite visitors to engage in their own reflections on the coach. The contemporary works provide, moreover, an important addition to the existing heritage, which up to now has offered a largely one-sided version of history.”  

The museum’s monumental, 12-meter-high Amsterdam Gallery is completely filled with contemporary artworks for this exhibition. Several artworks have also been brought into the exhibition trail, where they offer a reflection on the history of the Golden Coach. In the museum’s courtyards, including near the Golden Coach, three site-specific works are presented, and performances will take place.  

THE GOLDEN COACH continues at the Amsterdam Museum until  27th February, 2022