Dutch entry 2011

Opera Aperta / Loose Work, Scene (2011). Courtesy: Dutch Pavilion participants, Mondriaan Fund.

Opera Aperta / Loose Work
Barbara Visser, Ernst van der Hoeven, Herman Verkerk, Johannes Schwartz, Joke Robaard, Maureen Mooren, Paul Kuipers, Sanneke van Hassel, Yannis Kyriakides
Dutch entry of the 54nd Venice Biennale

curator: Guus Beumer
4 juni – 27 november 2011

For the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale, the Dutch Pavilion was temporarily transformed into the model of a theater. As suggested by its title Opera Aperta / Loose Work, this was an open and collective project, in which Barbara Visser, Herman Verkerk, Johannes Schwartz, Joke Robaard, Maureen Mooren and Paul Kuipers had been invited by curator Guus Beumer to collaborate. This collaboration has led to additional contributions by Sanneke van Hassel, Yannis Kyriakides, Ernst van der Hoeven, and an opening performance by Alexander van Slobbe.

Opera Aperta / Loose Work, Scene (2011) Copyright/Courtesy: Dutch Pavilion participants, Mondriaan Foundation

Opera Aperta / Loose Work raised the issue as to whether the notion of national representation and national identity, so intrinsic to the history of the Venice Biennale, can be reinterpreted through thehet notion of community. And it considered whether this issue can be related to the cultural infrastructure that characterizes the Netherlands to a significant degree.

By translating the notion of cultural infrastructure into ‘community’, the foundations were laid for a collective approach and resulting exhibition model, which became the framework for several new works by individual participants. The realized exhibition model can best be described as a 1:1 model, in which the pavilion built by architect Rietveld was completely incorporated.

Opera Aperta / Loose Work, Scene (2011). Copyright/Courtesy: Dutch Pavilion participants, Mondriaan Foundation

Opera Aperta / Loose Work implicitly revealed the potential of this cultural infrastructure. Furthermore, the exhibition refered to the opera model and the idea of a succession in time involving different scenes, an intermission, a powerful composition, an accompanying libretto, voices, a stage set, lighting and costumes. This model offered both a conflicting and seductive point of departure for the blending of different disciplines and commissions. The title refers to a 1962 publication by Umberto Eco.

From the outset, a decision was made to use a multidisciplinary group of participants: visual artists Johannes Schwartz, Joke Robaard and Barbara Visser, graphic designer Maureen Mooren and architects Herman Verkerk and Paul Kuipers. Despite their backgrounds in various disciplines, they share a fascination with the issue of representation. In addition, the Mondriaan Foundation and the curator have forged alliances with the Dutch Foundation for Literature and the Performing Arts Fund. These have resulted in commissions for the author Sanneke van Hassel and the composer Yannis Kyriakides.

Publication Opera Aperta / Loose Work

The exhibition was accompanied by a publication:

Opera Aperta / Loose Work
Concept: Guus Beumer
Editing and production: Floor Krooi and Wendel ten Arve
Translation: Koen Kleijn, Beth O’Brien, Nancy Forest-Flier and Moze Jacobs
Design: Maureen Mooren
Printing: Spinhex & Industrie, Amsterdam
Edition: 2500 copies
Language: English
Publisher and distributor: Marres Books, Maastricht
Price: € 34,50
ISBN 978-90-817355-0-6

Part 1. Maquette by Maureen Mooren
Deel 2. Reader
Edited by Guus Beumer, with contributions of: Joost Kuiper, Guus Beumer, Domeniek Ruyters, Rob van der Zalm, Roland de Beer, Anna Tilroe, Willem Schinkel, Koen Kleijn and Ian Buruma.
Deel 3. Monologues by Sanneke van Hassel