A special collaboration between the museum and regional art collectors shows the collection of the Bonnefanten in a different light.

Pas de deux shows the art of the Bonnefanten in a new light. That is due to an exceptional collaboration between the museum and regional art collectors, in which the collectors bring together an artwork from their own collections and an iconic work from the Bonnefanten collection. So the exhibition allows visitors to see art from ‘just around the corner’, which is usually hidden from view. The presence of these works also lets you see the museum collection from a new perspective – through the eyes of private collectors. Like dancers performing a duet, the artworks in the exhibition have a more exciting and multifaceted story to tell. In Pas de deux, the Bonnefanten is collaborating with four collectors: Netty and Jeu van Sint Fiet, and Gert and Nicole Beijer. 

Left: Philip Akkerman, Triptiek, 2012. Collection Netty and Jeu van Sint Fiet. Right: Meester van 1518, Drieluik met Aanbidding van het Kind; Aanbidding der koningen en Presentatie in de tempel, ca 1510-1530. Collection Bonnefanten.

The choice of Netty and Jeu Van Sint Fiet

The Van Sint Fiet collection exudes a love of the region, their own family and a love of Jeu’s profession: general practice. The works, most of which were made on commission, have a personal feel to them and express a holistic view of life, the body and collecting. The couple believe that everything links up with and overlaps one another. Body and mind help one another, and art runs over into design and consumer goods, as they are all connected to daily life. The commissions arise from long-standing relationships with the artists. At its best, a commission for a new work is a process in which both parties inspire one another.

For Pas de deux, the work chosen from the Bonnefanten collection is the triptych depicting the adoration of the Christ Child, the adoration of the Magi and the presentation of Christ in the temple. The work was made by the ‘Master of 1518’, who produced numerous works like this in his Antwerp workshop at the beginning of the 16th century. The triptych from c. 1510-1530 is combined with a triptych by Philip Akkerman (1957), which was created on commission from Netty and Jeu. This duo of artworks not only sheds light on art commissions through the ages, but also tells of the changing role of the artist. In the case of the 16th-century work, we do not even know the artist’s name. For the collector couple, this work is not about the maker, but about faith and the glorification of Jesus Christ. Throughout history, the artist becomes gradually more autonomous and is increasingly present in his own work. Philip Akkerman only creates self-portraits, but in this triptych we see the portraits of Netty, Philip and Jeu. However, in Philip Akkerman’s triptych the artist occupies such a central place that, if we look carefully, we see his face three times.

Left: Jan van Steffeswert, Corpus (1505-1510). Collection Bonnefanten. Right: Linnéa Sjöberg, Tibaststigen 6, (2016). Collection Beijer.

The choice of Gert and Nicole Beijer

The Beijer collection consists almost entirely of non-figurative works in a diversity of materials and media, and ranges from paintings to installations, photos and videos. The works were created by around 25 artists from 15 different countries. They are predominantly young artists with a sound education, who have already taken their first professional steps. Aesthetics and craftsmanship are important features. Works are not selected on the basis of the artist’s name and reputation. Artworks are acquired for themselves, rather than for who created them. This often results in surprising contacts and friendships. Memento mori – remember you must die – is a lofty phrase that has often been depicted by artists through the ages. It reminds us of our human mortality, and is both a warning to lead a good life and a nostalgic reference to the things that pass.

For Pas de deux the work chosen from the Bonnefanten collection is the Corpus by Jan van Steffeswert from 1505-1510. For the Beijers, a Corpus Christi is an excellent example of a memento mori. They see this Corpus of the tormented Christ by Jan van Steffeswert as an unparalleled representation of the concept. The work is combined with Tibaststigen 6 by Linnéa Sjöberg (Sweden, 1983). She got her Master’s degree from the Royal Institute of Arts in Stockholm, and is currently living and working in both Stockholm and Berlin. In 2017, she exhibited the series The Inward Dance in Berlin. The series included the work Tibaststigen 6, the title of which is the address of her parental home. For her, she says, this work is a memento mori. For the series The Inward Dance, Sjöberg turns cowhide into parchment. During the drying process, she shapes the hide into a pouch, adding elements like chains or rings. In the case of Tibaststigen 6, before closing the pouch she filled it with mementos from her parental home, such as twigs from the garden, building waste and an old T-shirt. She also added a piece of fur she found in her parents’ attic to the object. They are symbols that stand for saying farewell to her youth.


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