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Joost Grootens (1971) studied architecture at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, and in this way became interested in the ‘architecture’ of books about art, design and the public space. As graphic designer, he is autodidact. Grootens initially concentrated on designing atlases and his designs won several important prizes, including the Rotterdam Design Prize 2009. Watch the ARTtube video about his work during that time.
The Dutch Society of Twins
The Dutch Society of Twins (NVT) is an association where members can meet each other, exchange experiences and learn interesting things about being twins (or triplets or more). The association has good contacts with the Free University in Amsterdam, which supervises the Dutch Register of Twins. There they mainly do research in the field of medicine, biology and psychology.
Piet Mondrian was born in 1872 in Amersfoort. He wanted to become a painter, just like his uncle Frits Mondriaan who painted landscapes in the style of The Hague School painters. But when Piet entered the Rijksacademy in 1892, Van Gogh was dead, Toorop was painting his ‘New Generation’ and everywhere things began to ferment and develop. In the next decades, Mondrian simply went along with whatever other young artists were doing: he made use of pointillism, painted expressively in bright colours, tried to express things with symbolism. Van Gogh is an important example for the expressionists (emotion), Cézanne for the cubists (structure). In 1910-1911, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam exhibits cubist works by Picasso and Braque. Mondrian is so impressed with the way in which they deconstruct, as it were, the visible reality and then reconstruct it with a new structure, that he immediately leaves for Paris. Between 1912 and 1914 in Paris, he produces works inspired by cubism. But when he is forced to remain in the Netherlands because of the outbreak of the First World War, his work takes a new and unique direction.
Gustav Klimt and The Scream?
Perhaps the ‘bouncer’ should visit the museum more often as well, because The Scream is by Edward Munch and not by Gustav Klimt. What he got right, however, is that Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is the only museum in the Netherlands with a painting by Munch in its collection, namely Two girls near an apple tree dating from 1905. Watch the ARTtube video about this work.
Designing an atlas demands a systematic way of looking and thinking: you think up various significant ways of looking at the same data and make what you see clearly visible. Grootens also applies this way of arranging information to the collection book of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen; sometimes seriously, sometimes with a gentle smile. The book, for example, shows the geographical spread of artists with work represented in the collection (worldwide, within Europe and within the Netherlands) and there is a timeline of acquisitions, which can also be seen as the growth curve of the collection. But there is also a collection of all objects measuring 27 centimetres in height - that is, the same size as the book. The book is on sale in the webshop.
In those days...
Bregje ia talking about the end of the nineteenth century. Piet Mondrian was born 7 March 1872 and died on 1 February 1944 in New York. The house where he was born is Kortegracht 11 in Amersfoort and is now known as the ‘Mondrian House’. The Mondrian House organises exhibitions that show the philosophy of the artist and enormous influence it had.
Composition nr. II
This painting is a ‘classic’ Mondrian, which means that it is an example of the typical painting style that he developed between 1917 and 1920 in collaboration with the artists of ‘De Stijl’ magazine. Mondrian calls his new style the ‘nieuwe beelding’ or ‘new plastic art’ and lists a number of components: rectangular areas, horizontal and vertical lines, the primary colours plus the non-colours black, white and grey. Initially, all components were present in the paintings, but during the ‘twenties, Mondrian experimented with leaving out colours and reducing the number of areas and lines. The endpoint of this development is the lozenge Composition with two lines from 1931 in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.
Jonieke van Es
On the video, Jonieke van Es, Head of Collections and Research at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen talks about her favourite art works. Jonieke is the driving force behind the new collection book and was also the person who involved Joost Grootens in the project. But the collection book is the last project she brought to fruition. Jonieke died unexpectedly on 25 November 2012 at the age of 46 from the consequences of a dissection of the aorta. The team of Boijmans TV dedicates the episode ‘Order and Harmony’ to Jonieke.
Mondrian’s Composition no. II came into the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen thanks to a gift by the friends of the artist in 1929. For although he became internationally famous and journalists as well as the daughters of American millionaires were able to find his studio, Mondrian barely had enough money to make ends meet. There are periods when he lived on carrot and cabbage soup. In order to help him, some Dutch friends, including the architects J.J.P. Oud and Eduard Karsten, would now and then collect money, buy a painting, raffle it among themselves or, as is the case here, donate it to a museum.
For the famous artist Piet Mondrian, a painting from 1929 entitled Composition nr. II was not a window to the world, but a gateway to a higher form of being. Tour-guide Bregje tries to explain this in episode 2 of Boijmans TV 2013 to a group that visually constantly doubles itself. The group is made up of identical twins and they form an eager audience. They know from personal experience how a small difference - a slightly different colour, a line that stops just before or just over the edge - can mean a lot.
Arie and Mandy mirror each other in their delight at a present from the director: the new collection book. But what should they make of all those clouds, graphs, tables and drawings? Arie asks Joost Grootens, the designer of this extraordinary book, for some explanation.
And although the number of people who visited the museum in 2012 wasn’t at all bad, there are still too many people who just walk by. That is why Boijmans museum has engaged an employee to convince passers-by to visit the museum. This ‘bouncer’ makes no distinction and thinks that, in certain situations, violence is justified. He undertakes his job with total commitment.
Boijmans TV is a collaboration of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, RTV Rijnmond and Ro Theater, developed with the support of VSBfonds and the Mediafonds. The series was produced by the Rotterdam-based production house Popov Film.
The Boijmans TV team:
Sander Burger (final editor)
Kuba Szutkowski (producer)
Dragan Bakema (creative producer)
Edgar Kapp (production leader)
Jetse Batelaan (director of guided tours)
Wilfried de Jong (concept and interviews)
Els Hoek (research and direction)
And many others.