On 12 September 2017 it was be precisely twenty-five years since De Pont Museum in Tilburg opened its doors to the public. This anniversary will be celebrated with the exhibition ReView, which involves the return of special artworks that have been seen in De Pont’s many presentations over the years. These ‘guests’ are being invited back to visit us one more time. Thanks to the legacy of the jurist J.H. de Pont (1915-1987), who originally came from Tilburg, the museum has been financially independent for twenty-five years now. When Hendrik Driessen was appointed director of the newly established foundation in 1989, there was neither a collection nor a building yet. The initial acquisitions, shown in the 1992 opening exhibition, immediately revealed the young museum’s ambitions.
Three times annually De Pont holds a solo exhibition of an artist whose work the museum has purchased or would like to acquire. Artists who are now considered among the best in the world have had early exhibitions at De Pont: among them are Rosemarie Trockel(1993), Roni Horn (1994), Jeff Wall (1994), Luc Tuymans (1995) en Anish Kapoor (1995).
The works purchased by De Pont become part of the collection, but works on loan return to the respective artists or owners at the close of an exhibition. These ‘guests’ happen to be an important aspect of De Pont’s story. In the anniversary exhibition ReView, a number of these works (the majority of which are now part of other museum collections) will therefore be returning for a brief visit. A reunion of old friends, a renewed encounter between the art and its audience.
This exhibition celebrates the adventure of collecting. At De Pont collecting means carefully building the museum’s DNA, which is developed and given further significance with every acquisition and every presentation. The members of De Pont’s staff make studio visits, go see exhibitions and art fairs, cultivate relationships with artists, try not to be distracted by hypes but let themselves be guided by the eye and the heart. Just as in a family of people, close relationships and fascinating conversations – even tensions – arise among the works in the collection. And there is always a newcomer who still has to fit in.
The exhibition ReView offers a glimpse of De Pont’s history. On display here is a major part of what was shown in the opening exhibition, including Richard Long’s Planet Circle, The First People by Marlene Dumas and Pair Field by Roni Horn. The reconstruction of an initial ‘trial installation’ will be carried out specially for this occasion. Before the museum itself had purchased any work, even before the building was finished, Hendrik Driessen borrowed a number of artworks in order to have an idea as to how the building would function. The first art to enter the building as such already betrayed some of the museum’s ambition: two paintings by Marlene Dumas from the Van Abbemuseum, as well as paintings by Marc Mulders and Rob Birza. These works are now being brought together again, so that the beginnings of De Pont will be visible to all for the first time.
Furthermore, several of Thomas Schütte’s Grosse Geister will be coming to visit their relatives in Tilburg. Also taking part in the celebration are the iconic Jeff Wall photograph Milk, Rosemarie Trockel’s 1992 work Untitled (produced specifically for one of the wool-storage spaces) and large installations of work by Ai WeiWei, Christian Boltanski and Robert Therrien. De Pont invited Anton Henning to design a special interior for part of the museum café. His Interior No. 553 is an intriguing combination of wallpaintings and actual oil paintings. Even the table tops have been included in his plans.
The anniversary exhibition is a warm reunion. Long-time visitors have a new chance to see iconic artworks that were once shown in Tilburg, while others can become acquainted with these pieces that contributed to the development of De Pont Museum.
The exhibition ReView was opened on Saturday 16 September in the presence of Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands. First, the unveiling took place of Sky Mirror, a monumental sculpture by the world-renowned British artist Anish Kapoor. The sculpture, over six meters in height, is a gift commemorating the museum’s silver anniversary. This gift has been made possible thanks to the collaborative efforts of the city of Tilburg, local businesses and private individuals, Brabant C, De Pont Museum and the artist.
De Pont Museum
5041 EA Tilburg | The Netherlands
photo: Anish Kapoor, ‘Sky Mirror’ (for Hendrik), 2017, 650 x 250 cm RVS on a rvs socle in the pont (design Sophie Walker) 2017.AK.11