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Boijmans TV episode 5. Monkey Say, Monkey Do

By: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

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Duration: 14:26
  • Hans Wilschut 00:50

    The city always takes a central place in the photography of Hans Wilschut (Ridderkerk, 1966). His ‘Perforated Perspectives’ will be presented as Intervention #14 in the stairwell of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen from 24 April to 1 September 2010. The photographs take the viewer to levels and views that are normally inaccessible. Staggering perspectives, unprecedented heights and shots showing great detail provide a fresh view of the architecture and the face of world cities. His monograph ‘Still Motion. Lyric Reflections on Urbanism’ will be published during the exhibition.

  • Oskar Kokoschka 05:03

    The expressionist painter, graphic artist and author Oskar Kokoschka (b. Pöchlarn, 1886 d. Montreux, 1980) moved to Vienna as a child. He is often mentioned in the same breath as two other important figures from this city: Gustav Klimt (b. Vienna, 1862 d. idem, 1918) and Egon Schiele (b. Tulln, 1890 d. Vienna, 1918). Between 1924 and 1931 he travelled frequently through Europe and North Africa. His work consists of landscapes and portraits, painted with a free hand and with a strong personal (expressionist) and dramatic bias. The aim was to bring the soul of the person or animal being portrayed to the surface. Kokoschka’s fame soon spread far beyond the borders of his country. In 1937, however, his work was classified by the Nazis as ‘entartet’ [degenerate] and removed from museums and galleries. After the Second World War, he started a school in Salzburg, Austria. As a reaction to the increasing popularity of abstract art, he placed the emphasis here on visible reality in figurative art.

  • Gustav and Alma Mahler 07:02

    In 1911, Oskar Kokoschka began an affair with Alma Mahler (b. Vienna 1879, d. New York 1974), the widow of the world-famous composer Gustav Mahler (b. Kaliste 1860, d. Vienna 1911) and irresistible femme fatale. The painting Die Windsbraut [The Tempest] (1914), currently in the collection of the Kunstmuseum Basel pays homage to their love affair.

  • George the Mandril 08:50

    In 1926, Oscar Kokoschka painted George the mandrill in London Zoo. He even obtained special permission from secretary Julian Huxley to paint the baboon early in the mornings, before the visitors arrived. Thanks to the intensive contact, the animal began to recognise the painter. But despite all the bananas given to him, the ape really disliked Kokoschka. We can read about this in the artist’s autobiography. The painting was purchased in 1950 from the influential art dealer Paul Cassirer (b. 1871 Görlitz d.1926 Berlin), with whom Kokoschka was under contract from 1910.

  • Jetse Batelaan 13:58

    Theatre maker Jetse Batelaan (Leiden, 1978) has been affiliated with the Rotterdam Ro Theatre since 2009. Batelaan has gained both national and international fame and has won various prizes with works that are occasionally absurd, just like everyday life. Unknown people with whom you will probably never have any contact but are all the more interesting for that very reason are an important source of inspiration for him.

Boijmans TV Museum Boijmans van Beuningen is producing its own television series. In Boijmans TV, the museum building provides a changing backdrop three main characters: a major work from the collection, a high profile artist exhibiting in Boijmans museum and a museum visitor who has the illusion of being in a different world. The series is being broadcast weekly from 14 April 2010 by the regional television station RTV Rijnmond. Boijmans TV has been developed with support from the VSB Fund, partner in education to Museum Boijmans van Beuningen.

‘Monkey See, Monkey Do'

The title refers to the main character in this episode: George the Mandrill, who was immortalised in 1926 in the London Zoo by Oskar Kokoschka. Bregje van der Laar entertains a group of art lovers with a reformed protestant background, who she guides through the museum past invisible obstacles until they finally reach The Mandrill by Oskar Kokoschka. A photo of George in his cage shows that Kokoschka did not wish to see any restrictions - even if they were present The painter ignored the cage, gave the animal its freedom on the canvas and imparted George with the expression of a jungle king. While Bregje tells her guests about the love escapades and war traumas of the famous Austrian expressionist, Ab of the Technical Department imagines that he is George - to the enormous delight of the many schoolchildren who visit the museum. Security guard Arie asks the artist Hans Wilschut, in connection with his presentation Perforated Perspective, how the photographs came about and what he is searching for in those distant, built-up cities. Wilschut is searching for traces of life, for a sign - no matter how small - of what really happens behind the façade and for a glimpse of the horizon, far behind the skyline. Like the couple in love who experience his work; like Kokoschka. Like George.

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