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Van Abbemuseum presents Delinking and Relinking

The next Van Abbemuseum collection show, titled Delinking and Relinking, will be on display through 2025. The collection is presented as a sequence of encounters between artworks, histories, and visitors, drawing on concepts created by decolonial philosophers.

Three axes govern how the exhibition develops. One focuses on the occasions and connections that have influenced the museum collection. Another, in an effort to depart from the modernist, ocular, disembodied paradigm, addresses the visitor’s entire body. The show investigates touch, smell, and numerous sensory pairings to reach multiple emotional and intellectual registers. Finally, the exhibition’s stories are diverse and dissimilar. Various communities in Eindhoven present their viewpoints on the works of art housed at their museum.

The demodern within the decolonial

As we learn more about the complex relationships between modernity and colonialism, the conventions of modern art and its display formats have become problematic. In response, the museum has been attempting to demodernize its methodology by rejecting the language and practices of modernism. The architecture and design, the repositioning of specific artworks and artistic voices, the pairings of “artistic,” “ethnographic,” or “biological” items, and the numerous storylines at the center of the exhibition’s mediation all reflect this.


The visitor will find more than 40 interventions in Delinking and Relinking, including tactile interpretations, freshly created smells, and musical compositions inspired by artworks. In order to provide a more complete, embodied experience of art, the Van Abbemuseum has been collaborating with persons with disabilities to produce these new kinds of mediation. These are shared with all of our audiences.


Three distinct groups have designed unique itineraries of the exhibition for Delinking and Relinking. A community of body diverse cultural professionals developed the Bodily Encounters Tour, while a local group interested in the continuities and legacies of Dutch colonial history produced the Broader Story Tour. The Office of Queer Affairs, a queer community from Eindhoven, developed the unique Love Letter Tour. These tours offer a playful and critical rereading of the collection, ideally presenting narratives that have been ignored or suppressed and giving other visitors fresh perspectives.

View of Delinking and Relinking, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 2021. Photo: Joep Jacobs.
View of Delinking and Relinking, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 2021. Photo: Joep Jacobs.


The museum app Smartify is used in part to tell these tales. Both inside and outside of the museum are available for the tours. Additionally, all excursions are offered in Dutch sign language.


An exhibition catalogue with several photos of the exhibition and its individual artworks, together with articles outlining the goals and intents of the exhibition, will be published in the fall of 2022.

Participating artists
Tjong Ang, Willem Adams, Karel Appel, Rasheed Araeen, Mercedes Azpilicueta, Gam Bodenhausen, Boudry / Lorenz, stanley brouwn, Jean Brusselmans, Marc Chagall, Chryssa, Céline Condorelli, René Daniëls, Hanne Darboven, Ad Dekkers, Rineke Dijkstra, Marlene Dumas, Max Ernst, Lucio Fontana, Nilbar Güreş, Lubaina Himid, Isaac Israëls, Sanja Iveković, Patricia Kaersenhout, Gülsün Karamustafa, Karrabing Film Collective, Toon Kelder, Iris Kensmil, John Körmeling, Theo Kuijpers, Wifredo Lam, Fernand Léger, El Lissitzky, Lucebert, Joan Miró, László Moholy Nagy, Piet Mondriaan, Nabuurs&VanDoorn, Ahmet Ögüt, Otobong Nkanga, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Rodan Omomá, Gabriel Orozsco, Pieter Ouborg, Alicia Penalba, Constant Permeke, Stijn Peeters, Pablo Picasso, Wim van der Plas, Marjetica Potrc, Laure Prouvost, Michael Rakowitz, Gé Röling, Wilhelm Sasnal, Jan Schoonhoven, Ad Snijders, Mariëlle Soons, Pieter Stoop, Lily van der Stokker, Ellie Strik, Koki Tanaka, Charley Toorop, Roy Villevoye, Evi Vingerling, Henk Visch, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, Ossip Zadkine and Qui Zhijie.

Curators: Charles Esche, Diana Franssen, Steven ten Thije, together with the Van Abbemuseum team and many others too numerous to name here. 

Design: Diogo Passarinho Studio, The Rodina Studio

Supported by: Mondriaan Fonds, VriendenLotterij, Stichting Promotors, VSB-Fonds, Creative Europe, Gemeente Eindhoven

Van Abbemuseum
Stratumsedijk 2
The Netherlands
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm

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