The corner you have to take is a bit too sharp, but it fits exactly: with an electric Mini under Claes Oldenburg’s image Screw arc by driving. It is a great experience that you can gain in the drive-thru museum Boijmans Ahoy, a temporary exhibition in Hall 1 of the Rotterdam event complex Ahoy, but it turns out not to be the intention.
A large part of the works were already on display in the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen before it closed its doors for a major renovation. A greatest hits so on location, but that environment differs so much that you actually view the classics in a different way. Not only because of the scale, but also because there are even more cars driving around. So Coronaproof, but it is interesting to hear how much damage to the eyes there was in those three weeks. The maximum speed is 5 kilometers per hour, so it is not dangerous.
The exhibition begins in a black cloth sluice. At the end of that lock, Oskar Kokoschka’s ‘Mandril’ adorns the visitor and gives the car driver the choice: Turn left or right? To the right offers a view of a large screen, who goes to the left first chooses smaller work. Although, small? In a space of 10,000 square meters you cannot exhibit too small works.
Also read: Frightening little skating roller coaster in huge factory hall
And thanks to the lighting, it seems that better-known works also change in scale or nature. While the work of Anselm Kiefer with its earthy colors is often the center of darkness in most snow-white museums, the paintings here suddenly seem to glow almost in the context of a pitch-black Ahoy. And the sculptures that can usually be seen in a sculpture garden, full of daylight, behave differently when they are suddenly lit up in the dark hall by the bright headlights of the car.
A catwalk of different human figures (images from Marino Marini to Ugo Rondinone) lists the evolution of man. And that is what this exhibition is really about: the relationship between man and nature, with the latter winning occasionally, and man having to adapt, as is now the case in corona times.
That sometimes happens literally, for example, in the video by Melanie Smith, who captured Ford’s utopia and built a Ford factory in the Amazon. It never produced a Ford. Beautiful images that you would like to look at for a long time, but be careful where you park your car, because if you get in the way: honking is not allowed.
Tragic and witty are still the about fifty-year-old works of Bas Jan Ader, who fall from a roof, in the moat or from a tree in different ways. Those short films were already fascinating in their absurdity in standard video format, but now that he is actually making life-size falls, the tragicomic forgiveness becomes even more penetrating. The same goes for more video works shown here: the sheer size adds something. Jeroen Eisinga, who has a suit measured by 150,000 bees, is even more painful to see than usual. And the cuddlyness of the bears at Marijke van Warmerdam is decreasing. Fortunately, you are in a car.
A version of this article also appeared in the NRC Handelsblad of 1 August 2020
A version of this article also appeared in nrc.next dated August 1, 2020