Photographs of empty museum added to Boijmans’ collection

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is being renovated. Photographer Satijn Panyigay has made two series of photographs about the process, which have been acquired for the collection and can now be admired in the Depot.

Favicon for Press kit: Photographs by Satijn Panyigay | Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Newsroom

Eight photographs by Satijn Panyigay (1988, Nijmegen) are now housed in the photography compartment of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. The images come from two series that Panyigay made in the empty museum building, showing the deserted galleries without art or visitors. She initially documented the building’s interior shortly after its closure, resulting in the series Twilight Zone (2020), which was exhibited at Art Rotterdam in 2021 by Galerie Caroline O’Breen. From a subsequent conversation, it became clear that both the museum and the photographer were interested in recording the renovation’s progress and the removal of asbestos from the building. The museum gave Panyigay free rein, and during her subsequent visits for the second series, Soft Solace (2021), she photographed spaces that she had not documented for the first series. The museum collection now includes four prints from Twilight Zone and four from Soft Solace.

Since the Depot re-opened yesterday, visitors can once again see Panyigay’s surprising and poetic works as large-format prints in the exhibition Museum Renovation about the process of the renovating the adjacent museum building. The exhibition runs until 6 March.

‘It is valuable for the museum to see the development of the building through the eyes of an artist. The resulting images have a hopeful quality because even though the building is now in a sorry state, seen through her eyes, it is clear that its beauty has not been lost. As a museum, we want to capture the process in non-documentary ways and these photographs are part of that.’ Cathy Jacob, Head of Presentations at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 

About the artist

Satijn Panyigay lives and works in Utrecht. She makes photographic works in which silence and a slowing of time are central. The precise yet poetic analogue photographs suggest presence in empty spaces. Although her images are devoid of people, they remain surprisingly human. In her ongoing project, of which both series about Boijmans are part, Panyigay records empty exhibition spaces in leading Dutch museums that normally display contemporary art. Her work will be shown by Galerie Caroline O'Breen at Art Rotterdam in May.

Depot open

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen has re-opened. This new building – the first of its kind in the world – is fully equipped to make conservation, collections management and otherwise hidden artworks accessible to the public. Visitors can wander through the Depot, and the Renilde restaurant on the top floor is also open for lunch from 2 February dinner service will resume.

Selections from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s word-class collection are currently on view in the exhibition Maritieme Meesterwerken at the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam, and from 19 February in the exhibition À la campagne! French Light from Maris to Monet at the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden. The museum’s legendary collection of Surrealist art is touring the world and is currently on view in Surreal Shock: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen at the Seoul Arts Center in South Korea.

About Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

The world-renowned art collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has over the span of 170 years expanded to more than 151,000 artefacts, which includes some 63,000 paintings, photos, films, pre-industrial design and design objects, contemporary art installations and sculptures, as well as 88,000 prints and drawings.

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