During our visit to the Voorlinden Museum, a privately owned contemporary art museum in South Holland, we enjoyed seeing so many works by several established artists.
Last July, we took the opportunity to combine a couple of things to do during a weekend trip to the Dutch province of South Holland. One of the things I was really looking forward to was visiting the Voorlinden Museum, a privately owned art museum in Wassenaar.
After spending a night camping in De Biesbosch National Park and a quick visit to Rotterdam, we took the opportunity to visit the Voorlinden Museum.
Located by the dunes in Wassenaar and close to The Hague, the Voorlinden Museum first opened its doors in September 2016. Businessman and art collector Joop van Caldenborgh had a dream of creating a museum to showcase his extensive art collection.
During our visit, we had the chance to see three fantastic temporary exhibitions and browse the museum’s permanent collection.
Less is More
This temporary exhibition revolves around the theme of minimalism and showcases a collection of works by different artists who are going back to basics. Some of the pieces in this collection include works by Antony Gormley, Ai Weiwei, Xiao Yu, Alicja Kwade, Liza Lou, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Eva Rothschild, Miroslaw Balka, and many others.
Personally, one of the works I liked the most was the wall with tree branches adorned with colorful plastic bags. This piece by Pascale Marthine Tayou (Cameroon) is titled Plastic Tree C and has a dual meaning. On one hand, the plastic bags allude to consumerism and pollution; on the other, they are a means for refugees to carry their possessions on their journey to a better future. In any case, it makes for a very poetic piece.
Another favorite is the work below by Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum. Titled Turbulence, it features thousands of black marbles neatly arranged in a circle. When you get closer, you can see tiny reflections of the space in each marble creating a nice effect.
I also really like the two works below. The one on the left is by self-portrait by Tony Cragg (UK), whose impressive work I had already seen in Luxembourg. In this piece, we can see the artist’s silhouette made with everyday plastic objects.
The piece on the right is a work by Irish artist Eva Rothschild titled Technical Support. This floor to ceiling column is made up of rolls of tape of different widths and colors. I liked how these little simple things can be transformed into an art piece with some clever creativity.
Good to Know
Less is More is on display until January 2020.
These days, this 90-year old Japanese artist is enjoying immense popularity thanks to her signature aesthetic featuring polka dots all over the place. Since stumbling on some photos of her work online I’ve been wanting to see her art. So when I saw that the Voorlinden Museum was organizing a special exhibition to celebrate her ninetieth birthday, I knew this was my chance!
Often referred to as the princess of polka dots, art serves as Yayoi Kusama‘s anchor and helps her deal with her psychoses. Today, she’s recognized as one of Japan’s most important artists and her iconic pumpkins are world-famous.
Since the late seventies, Kusama voluntarily resides full-time in a psychiatric hospital. From there, she continues to work on her art. For this exhibition, the Voorlinden Museum had many of the artist’s most representative works on display, including one of her famous pumpkins, which is over two meters high.
There was also one of Kusama’s brilliant Infinity Rooms. It’s titled Gleaming Lights of the Soul and features a hundred lightbulbs of different sizes hanging from the ceiling in a mirror-covered room. For this enthralling experience, only 2 – 3 visitors were allowed in the room at a time and could stay for 45 seconds. It felt like being suspended in a magical universe.
Good to Know
Even though this temporary exhibition was on display until September 2019, some of Kusama’s works (including the pumpkin and the infinity room) are part of the museum’s permanent collection. So you still have the opportunity to enjoy her iconic art when you visit.
Do Ho Suh
Before visiting the Voorlinden Museum I was not familiar with Do Ho Suh‘s work. He was born in South Korea but now lives between New York, London, and Seoul. The concept of being “at home” features prominently in his work. And for this exhibition, he recreated sections of places where he used to live.
For these handmade pieces, stainless steel was used to create the frames, which were then covered in colorful see-through polyester fabric. All details were meticulously embroidered, which made these installations all the more impressive.
I also enjoyed the last piece in this exhibition, a video installation on three screens titled Passage/s: The Pram Project. For this one, he attached three GoPro cameras to his daughters’ stroller as he sets out to explore both London and Seoul with them. As a result, he takes us on an intimate exploration to experience these cities from a child’s perspective.
Maybe it’s because one of his daughters is about the same age as mine, but I was really taken with this piece.
Apart from these three great temporary exhibitions, I also enjoyed the museum’s permanent collection. Featuring works by several well-known and established contemporary artists, this collection in itself makes the museum worth a visit.
For example, this tiny pair of elevators by Maurizio Cattelan made us feel like giants. They are perfectly scaled replicas with all the details of full-sized elevators. Their doors open, close and off they go!
By contrast, the work below made us feel kind of small. These hyper-realistic human figures, which are twice as large as real humans, are the work of Australian sculptor Ron Mueck. The details are just amazing, from every little hair to their nails, wrinkles, and freckles. We were all fascinated by this piece and would love to see more of this artist’s work.
I was also happy to see Open Ended (on the left photo below), an enormous sculpture by Richard Serra, whose work I had already seen many years ago at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. This huge work is made out of steel and weighs 216 tons!
Finally, I was also thrilled to see Leandro Erlich‘s Swimming Pool (pictured below, right). This Argentinian artist often plays with optical illusions, creating interesting spaces for the public. Years ago I had read an article and seen some photos of this piece, so it was a nice bonus to be able to experience it in person.
Voorlinden Museum: Plan Your Visit
The museum is open every day from 11:00 to 17:00. Admission prices are €17,50 for adults, €8,50 for teens (13 – 18 years old), and free for children under 12. Also, keep in mind that the Museumcard is not valid and that they don’t offer any reduced admission for students nor seniors.
Guided tours (in Dutch) are offered every Saturday and Sunday at 14:30. The tour lasts an hour and the guides give you some background information about some of the works and the building. The tour costs €5 for adults (not including access to the museum) and is free for children under 12 years old. There is limited capacity for these tours, but you can reserve in advance by email.
Also, on the first Monday of the month, the museum organizes classical music concerts in its auditorium. The program starts at 10:30 a.m. with coffee in the museum’s restaurant, followed by the concert at 11:00 a.m. You then have a chance to visit the museum from 12:00. The entrance for these events is €25 per person, including coffee, the concert, and admission to the museum.
Finally, if you are planning to visit on a weekend, keep in mind that you will need to get a time slot ticket at the museum’s entrance to see Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Room. These tickets cannot be reserved in advance, they are first-come-first-served and are included in the admission price.
- Less is More (see above), on display until January 19th, 2020.
- Louise Bourgeois: To Unravel a Torment, on display until May 5th, 2020.
- Anselm Kiefer, on display until April 15th, 2020.
- Permanent Collection.
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Have you visited the Voorlinden Museum? Do you have any other tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment and let us know!
Bianca is a world citizen who spent almost four years traveling around South America and Europe. Her passions include photography, street art, outdoor sports, and cooking exotic dishes. She’s now based in the Netherlands where she lives with her partner and young daughter. She still enjoys traveling, on her own or with her family, and is always looking for an opportunity to see new places.