press release

The 1980s. Today's Beginnings? explores the 1980s from six European perspectives, examining the relevance of this transformative decade for today. The project includes artworks, music, TV, graphic, and archival materials that were produced during moments of state structures in transition. Culture was central in responding to or predicting these shifts, highlighting the reorientation that took place between civil society and the state. As Europe is in the midst of a defining transition in terms of how it sees itself and its relationship to others, it feels urgent to examine key moments in identity formation and self-organisation from the recent past.

The material presented draws from projects carried out by partners of the museum confederation L'Internationale alongside research undertaken by the Van Abbemuseum.

Different European perspectives The project gives space to multiple narratives and voices, beginning on April 16 with three presentations:

Talking Back. Counter Culture in the Netherlands Presenting Dutch counter culture through the squatters' movement and its cultural spin-offs who used video, sound, and photography to subvert mass media's manipulative patterns of representation.

Artists: Catrien Ariëns, Hans Breder, Daniel Brun, Michel Cardena, Ulises Carrión, René Daniëls, Dedo - Harry Heytink, Sandra Derks, Jaap Drupsteen, David Garcia & Annie Wright, General Idea, Heiner Holtappels, Patricia Kaersenhout, Jouke Kleerebezem, Bertien van Manen, Juan Maranas, Raul Marroquin, Mariano Maturana, Joost Seelen, Servaas, Rob Scholte, Lydia Schouten, Sluik/Kurpershoek, Stansfield/Hooykaas, Moniek Toebosch Curator: Diana Franssen (Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven)

Thinking Back. A Montage of Black Art in Britain In 1980s Britain, a powerful conversation emerged amongst black artists and thinkers. The presentation includes key artworks, films, and archives from this pivotal moment when ideas of resistance, expression, and identity formation coalesced.

Artists: John Akomfrah, Rasheed Araeen, Black Audio Film Collective, Sonia Boyce, Chila Burman, Eddie Chambers, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Mona Hatoum, Lubaina Himid, Gavin Jantjes, Claudette Johnson, Isaac Julien, Keith Piper, Ingrid Pollard, Donald Rodney, Marlene Smith, Maud Sulter Curator: Nick Aikens (Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven)

NSK: From Kapital to Capital. An Event in the Final Decade of Yugoslavia Presenting the events of the different Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) collectives, with a focus on Laibach, IRWIN, and Scipion Nasice Sisters, highlighting their fundamental goal to construct a new artistic constellation.

Artists: Laibach, IRWIN, Scipion Nasice Theatre, Cosmokinetic Theatre Red Pilot, Cosmokinetic Cabinet Noordung, New Collectivism, Department of Pure and Applied Philosophy, Builders, Retrovision, Film. Curator: Zdenka Badovinac (Moderna galerija, Ljubljana)

The presentation of NSK lasts until June 26 and from July 2 three new presentations will be added:

Video-Nou/Servei de Video Comunitari: Video-intervention in the Spanish Transition Presents the pioneering collective project by Video-Nou/Servei de Video Comunitari who documented social changes and initiated activist TV stations, as Spain transitioned into a democracy following the death of Franco.

Artists: Video-Nou/Servei de Video Comunitari Curator: Teresa Grandas (MACBA, Barcelona)

How Did We Get Here? Turkey in the 1980s This presentation traces the origins of the current context of Turkey through social movements, artworks, and elements of popular culture.

Artists: Aslı Çavuşoğlu and Barış Doğrusöz Archives: Yücel Tunca, Aziz Nesin Archive, Füsun Ertuğ, Gençay Gürsoy, İbrahim Eren, Gülnur Savran, Murat Öneş, Nilgün Öneş, Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Murat Çelikkan, Serdar Ateşer Curator: Merve Elveren (SALT, Istanbul)

Archivo Queer? Screwing the System (Madrid 1989–95) An open archive including documentation of queer movements when the AIDS crisis was a pandemic. The projects subvert hetero-centric and patriarchal forms of categorisation.

Artists: Archivo Queer? is comprised of material drawn from collective production by activists who collaborated with LSD and Radical Gai Curator: Fefa Vila Núñez (independent researcher, i.c.w. Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid)

Programme curators Nick Aikens & Diana Franssen (exhibition), Gemma Medina (mediation)

Design Kerstin Meyer-Ebrecht (architecture), Roosje Klap (graphics)  

Van Abbemuseums 80th anniversary The Van Abbemuseum celebrates by being open for 80 hours from Thursday, April 14 until Sunday, April 17.

Bosch Grand Tour Part of the Bosch Grand Tour

L'Internationale Part of the five-year programme The Uses of Art, on the legacy of 1848 and 1989.

Subsidisers Supported by Mondriaan Fund, the Culture Programme of the European Union, Bosch 500, and The Art of Impact.