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Museum Arnhem and Centraal Museum Utrecht acquire Biennale film by Wendelien van Oldenborgh

Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Cinema Olanda (film still), 2017. Van Oldenborgh is represented by Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Cinema Olanda (film still), 2017. Van Oldenborgh is represented by Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam

Museum Arnhem and Centraal Museum Utrecht have joined together to acquire Cinema Olanda (2017). Cinema Olanda is the latest film by Wendelien van Oldenborgh, which was commissioned by the Mondriaan Fonds as part of the Dutch entry for this year’s Venice Biennale. The film will be shown to the Dutch public in Museum Arnhem in autumn 2017.

Birgit Donker (director Mondriaan Fonds): ‘It’s brilliant that a partnership between Museum Arnhem and Centraal Museum has made it possible to incorporate this work in the Netherlands Collection. The work will now become public property and be accessible to as many people as possible.’

Cinema Olanda
Cinema Olanda (2017) is the title film of the presentation of the same name by artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh and curator Lucy Cotter at the 57th Venice Biennale. The work was commissioned by the Mondriaan Fonds, the publicly financed fund for visual arts and cultural heritage. The Mondriaan Fonds is responsible for the Dutch entry during the Venice Biennale.

In the film, which was shot in one take, many storylines come together. It was filmed near the Sint Bavo, the modernist church in the post-war Rotterdam district of Pendrecht. The camera takes the viewer past various participants, black and white, young and old, individuals and groups. They all talk about an unknown aspect from Dutch history. Their stories provide a commentary on the image of the open, tolerant and modern state for which the Netherlands is known – not just during the period of reconstruction but also today. The video provoked a great deal of debate in the media, particularly in the Dutch press which felt that the work was too complicated. Internationally, people were much more complimentary about the film and the theme it addresses. Through this acquisition, both museums ensure that the work will continue to be seen in the Netherlands.

Saskia Bak (director Museum Arnhem): ‘Using the medium of film, Van Oldenborgh creates an active space, which is built up by sound, text and recognition and in which she allows visible and invisible connections between past and modern reality to unfold.’

Bart Rutten (director Centraal Museum Utrecht): ‘The subjects that Wendelien van Oldenborgh tackles in this multi-layered video are very relevant in the Netherlands and also certainly relate to Utrecht. The role played by modernist architecture in this film is also very familiar to our city whose reconstruction and urban expansion was based on a similar aesthetic. We are delighted that we have acquired this important work for the Netherlands.’

Oeuvre Wendelien van Oldenborgh
Wendelien van Oldenborgh (Rotterdam, 1962) has been making a name for herself with film and slide installations since 2000. The subjects addressed in her work relate to social relationships, racism and gender. A subject which has been a particular focus for her since 2005 is the influence of the Dutch colonial past on the present and on the self-image of the Dutch. With film installations like Maurits Script (2006), No False Echoes (2008), Instruction (2009), La Javanaise (2012) and with her recent work Cinema Olanda (2017), she is one of the few artists to contribute to the postcolonial debate. Her film oeuvre features a high degree of discursiveness: participants are filmed in conversation with each other, reading aloud a text or making music together. It is important that no single voice dominates; for the artist it is about polyphony, allowing multiple voices to be heard alongside each other. The participants do not play a certain role; they perform themselves and they develop their dialogue as they go along.

The film Cinema Olanda (2017) was acquired by both museums at gallery Wilfried Lentz. Cinema Olanda is partnered by Society of Arts (AvK), Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam, Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam and Nuova Icona, Venice and has the kind support of CBK Rotterdam, City of Rotterdam and BPD.