Jan van Munster

‘STIL’ (group show)

The Museum of Silence is back in the Netherlands: in De Ketelfactory, Schiedam.

opening Saturday, 26 January 2019, 3 – 6 p.m.

For the best part of a decade, between 1992 and 2001, a mysterious Museum of Silence travelled through our country. In galleries, museums, convents and libraries, curator and artist Rob G.M. Vrakking exhibited objects that related to silence. In 1992 he used mail art to ask hundreds of national and international artists to send him an object about silence.

The response was overwhelming: he was sent sculptures, paintings, drawings, poetry and art objects. From these, Vrakking compiled his Museum of Silence. “Silence is a rare phenomenon in our culture,” he wrote in the Museum’s catalogue.

After ten years, Vrakking decided to part with the Museum of Silence. He consigned the extraordinary collection to the Karl Ernst Osthaus Museum in Hagen, by the German border. This is a museum that has devoted itself to ‘orphaned collections’. The Silence collection has since led a slumbering existence in its attic. Curator Vrakking loved it: “The Museum of Silence, leading a still life. If the key gets lost now, it’s reached its goal.” But it never came to that.

In the NRC Handelsblad of the 2nd of March 2018, Kester Freriks – writer of the book Silence, space, darkness – appeals for the Museum of Silence to be brought back to the Netherlands and for this valuable, quirky and adventurous collection to be shown here. De Ketelfactory accepted the invitation. At the initiative of director and artist Winnie Teschmacher, the Silence collection will be shown there next year. In the meantime, the collection will be complemented with new works on Silence, created by artists with whom Teschmacher has built up an artistic connection over the years. Winnie Teschmacher asked these artists the same question as Vrakking did twenty years ago: “Create a work of art about Silence.”