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Spooky: A chilling exhibit at the Rijksmuseum features creatures of awe and loathing

Rafael Gomezbarros Installation, National Gallery Photo: Henk Wildschut

After escaping from hundreds of giant ants climbing the wall, you step into a pitch-black space.

This isn’t an apocalyptic vision, but the beginning of an unusual exhibit at the Rijksmuseum on creatures large and small.

On Friday, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum will open a show about how artists and scientists have been fascinated and hated over the decades.crawl Cleaner”. antssnakes, lizards, giant modern sculptures made of real spider web Stand in the center of the stage. A sister exhibition, on the other hand, will focus on the inspiration and use of an 18-year-old woman.th called century rhino Clara.

“The 700 ants known as Rafael Gomezvarros’ Casa Tomada team up as a prelude to two exhibitions on animal fascination,” said Taco Divitz, director-general of the National Museum of Fine Arts. . Aria art installation.

“This is about man’s fascination with other animals, from the smallest fly to the largest rhinoceros, the relationship between man and nature. Our perceptions have changed over the centuries. In the Middle Ages, insects was seen as part of a demonic empire, but by the late Middle Ages, insects were slowly creeping into book illustrations as creations of the gods. There is an urge to save animals today or prevent their extinction.

Saraceno Gravitational loneliness Semi-social loneliness Loneliness Choreography LHS 477 Photo: Olivier Midendorp

The exhibition traces how scientists and artists were motivated to explore the animal world by dissecting and painting animals, documenting the sketches, paintings, casts and sculptures that make up the exhibition. I’m here.

There are also three contemporary exhibitions: an ant installation that symbolizes the industriousness of modern immigrants, and a real spider web sculpture orchestrated by artist Tomas Saraceno, inspired by the intertwined destinies of animal and human life. Works are also included.

A third installation by artist Rossella Biscotti, Clara presents, in bricks, an Indian rhinoceros whose mother was shot and which eventually became the property of Dutch captain Douwe Mout van der Meer, as a curiosity traveling through the 18th century. .th Century Europe, 17 years.


At first, the crawling, writhing creator was a source of loathing and loathing, according to Jean de Hondo, a historian at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. A symbol of evil, people at first believed that evil came spontaneously from inanimate objects. “For a long time, crawling creatures had a bad reputation. In the Middle Ages, they were associated with evil, demons, and death,” he said.

“Around 1500, some people began to view them more positively, and they began to appear in the margins of medieval manuscripts, slowly creeping to the center of the page. We have seen the greatness of God’s creation in. Now it is too late and the survival of many insects is threatened, but we realize how important these animals are to our ecosystem. .

The Spooky Crawl exhibit features dark painted walls, a lightless room where only the noise of insects breaks the darkness, a terrifying cast of snakes and toads, and a special carved “coat of infamy” covered in creatures. There is an illuminated case that includes. 17th sinner of the century.

Under Clara’s eyes?Photo: S Boztas

After dark, the adjoining exhibit on Clara the Rhino offers insight into 18.th A century of showmanship and advertising, and a world where exotic animals were unknown, feared and paraded for entertainment.

Curator Gijs van der Ham said on leaving the show, in a quote from a contemporary book, wondering what Clara would have thought of the humans who saw her. Below Clara’s eyes is the exit door.

of exhibition From September 30th to mid-January 2023.

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https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2022/09/creepy-crawly-exhibition-at-rijksmuseum-features-creatures-of-awe-and-revulsion/ Spooky: A chilling exhibit at the Rijksmuseum features creatures of awe and loathing

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