25 September 2014

At the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam

In the museum shop
The Tropenmuseum's wonderful ethnography collection is based on Dutch colonial history, eg Indonesia and Suriname ... it's one of my favourite places in Amsterdam. I first visited it with my son when he was 12, and the displays have really been updated in the decades since then, within the constraints of a 19th century building. 

This time, we spent a lot of time in a photographic exhibition, Masters of Photography, and saw the film of how Steve McCurry found "the Afghan girl" ... which you can see on youtube. 

Last time the museum had a big exhibition on the colour red - what a simple idea, and how amazing it was, so many objects drawn from the rich collection (175,000 objects and 485,000 other items). This time, a well-known (but new to me) artist called Jasper KrabbĂ© had gone down into the storage area and found dozens of objects of all sorts which he grouped into nine "rooms" - without labels - so you simply looked at the objects, rather than found out about them. His own drawings and paintings were mixed in and everything was very nicely set out. I took zillions of photos in "Soulmade", but resisted buying the "catalogue". The show, which is on till 25 January 2015, reminded me of Grayson Perry going into the vaults of the British Museum to assemble his "Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman" show in 2012.

Krabbe's installation was rich and diverse and beautifully grouped, often on and in shelves and plinths of plywood - 

Krabbe's drawings on pages of ancient sketchbooks are a counterpoint
to textile samples mounted long ago onto paper

My favourite - a casava grater, dozens of nails hammered into a board.
The small objects in the foreground remind me of Shelagh Wakely's wire-encased fruit


laura said...

welcome in my beautiful city ;-)) enjoy your time...

Jane Housham said...

This looks wonderful. Makes me want to jump on a plane immediately -- were I not the sort of person that almost always stifles such impulses. Envious!