The newly renovated Stedelijk Museum Schiedam opened last weekend and its excellent first major exhibition takes full advantage of the new clean, bright and airy spaces. For a museum in a relatively small town the Stedelijk punches way above its weight – the Zoro Feigl’s show would not be out of place in any art establishment in the world.
The six room-filling installations dominate half the museum and are all playful, often to do with liquids. The first room is a vast white space with, in its middle, a circular metal pool about four meters across and fifty centimeters high. You half expect to see water lilies and goldfish or a child’s toy yacht. But this is not such a friendly pond. Suddenly it becomes a swirling vortex, its dark liquids spinning and splashing against the metal sides.
In the next gallery one is also surprised. One enters what appears to be an empty room with a nice old fireplace, a view over the courtyard and a beautiful tiled floor – but take one step across that seemingly solid floor and you came in for a sensory shock. You find yourself swaying backwards and forwards, bouncing up and down. The floor is laid on water like an old water bed. It is a very disconcerting feeling.
Also on the theme of water is Murmuration. The water connection, though, is not immediately apparent. The room is dominated by a huge white disc that hangs, spinning slowly from the ceiling like an alien spacecraft from another world. It is, in fact, a giant translucent bowl containing a couple of handfuls of small ball-bearings which whoosh around as the disc moves. The effect is twofold. The first impression one gets is of rain falling – in the old days theatres used to make the sound of rain by moving a tray full of dried peas slowly backwards and forwards. The visual effect of the moving tiny balls is of those amazing moving shapes created in the sky by starlings as they return home to roost every evening known as a . . . murmuration.
The most fun is in the attic where strips of metal twist and turn from ceiling hooks, squeaking and squirming like tortured snakes.
All these installations were simple in their conception but sophisticated and joyous in their execution and presentation. This show is highly recommended and an impressive and fitting inaugural exhibition at the renovated Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, a museum of which the curators and the town should be very proud. Michael Hasted 19th May 2022
The Zoro Feigl exhibition continues at Stedelijk Museum Schiedam until 11th September.