Tomorrow is a different day Collection 1980 – Now
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
July 10, 2021 – December 31, 2025
The Stedelijk is going to redesign the display of its collection to reflect a new, more thematic focus. The presentation of the entire holdings will be renewed in three phases, beginning with the most contemporary works. On 10 July we kick off with the presentation of art and design from 1980 to the present. Tomorrow is a Different Day spotlight works by international artists and designers who are helping to shape the changes of today and tomorrow. They challenge the status quo and offer alternative perspectives.
The decades since the 1980s have been marked by dramatic global transformations-globalization, migration, decolonization, digitization, the expansion of the primary and secondary markets, and the acknowledgment of various diasporas in art and society. These global and social shifts have not gone unnoticed by artists and designers, as the work in Tomorrow is a Different Day reveals. Ever more responsive to the world we live in, artists use their work as a force for change. By voicing resistance, challenging conventions, and by sharing narratives of hope and longing, they tell meaningful stories that resonate in our lives today.
Some artists in the new collection presentation had, for a long time, been less visible in the museum. For Tomorrow is a Different Day, the curators sought out untold narratives, to be displayed alongside more famous names. The Stedelijk also made a point of purchasing several new works by artists including Martine Syms,
El Anatsui, Marcel Pinas, and Anna Tereshkina, to deepen the collection. On the basis of themes such as urban activism, ecology, digitization, and migration, this refreshed collection presentation presents a multiplicity of histories, showcasing works by familiar and lesser-known names such as Steve McQueen, Rineke Dijkstra, Wolfgang Tillmans, Marlene Dumas, Sheila Hicks, Simnikiwe Buhlungu, Harvey Bouterse, Remy Jungerman, and Danielle Dean. In contrast to the previous installation, this new concept is built on a theme rather than chronology and confronts us with a changing world. On the one hand, it wants to seduce the visitor, but also to make them think. Aesthetic questions often contain ethical questions as well.
With her installation In Pursuit of Bling, for example, Otobong Nkanga draws attention to the exploitation of the earth, and in particular the way in which raw materials are mined in one place, to be traded and used in another. Her work makes you look differently at everyday objects such as make-up and smartphones, which hide a world of inequality and exploitation. Esiri Erheriene-Essi’s paintings depicting ordinary life also disrupt your readings of the world, offering a counter-narrative to the ever-dominant media images.
El Anatsui’s monumental wall sculpture made from bottle caps has enormous presence and grandeur. By repurposing waste materials, he tells stories about trade, slavery, consumerism, and the environment. The new collection presentation includes both visual art and design. Designers offer solutions to the world’s evolving challenges and developments, particularly the looming climate crisis that is changing our environment at a breakneck pace.
Belén gives you a chance to see our living environment in a different way by investigating the power of natural resources. The Another Throw blankets are woven with yarns dyed with vegetable pigments that, through their specific properties, create unique colors and hues. In his project Medulla, Don Yaw Kwaning explores new uses for citrus, or soft rush, a grass-like plant that is considered a weed in the Netherlands.
By separating the soft pith (medulla) from the fibers, he develops light, organic materials that can be used in the production of furniture and packaging materials. Daan Roosegaarde also turns a worthless product into something valuable with his project Smog Free Ring. The ring is made from polluted air collected by the Smog Free Tower; 1000 cubic meters of smog particles are compressed into a diamond ring. The design collection also addresses the theme of displacement and memories with newly purchased works by Foundland, Czar Kristoff, and Bodil Ouedrago, among others.
These works are set up in a specially designed space that gives a different context and perspective to the works. Rein Wolfs, director Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam: “The new collection presentation features works by artists and designers who are courageous, bold, and hopeful. With interventions that are at times disturbing, and with heart-warming stories and inspiring perspectives, they invite us to see the changing world in a new way.
Tomorrow is a Different Day teaches us to take a closer look at our society and is a chance for the Stedelijk to critically examine its own social position. Tomorrow everything will be different from today, and yesterday is different seen from the perspective of today. The Stedelijk’s collection of art and design always keeps us alert to the issues posed by constant change.”