Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten extends celebration of its 150th anniversary and moves Open Studios to April 2021

26 May 2020

Extension celebration 150th anniversary
Today, exactly 150 years ago, the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten was established by law by King William III. Earlier this year, the Rijksakademie launched the anniversary programme 'Activating Pasts, Practising Futures', filled with talks, presentations and renewed collaborations. Not only to share the rich history of the Rijksakademie, but also to look ahead at the artistic practice of today and tomorrow.

Despite the limitations and challenges posed by the Covid-19 virus, the Rijksakademie goes ahead with its planned festivities. The programme will be extended in a modified form until 26 May 2021 and includes, among other things, the publication in July of the Amsterdam city map 'Rijksakademie on the map, 150 years [art works] in Amsterdam'. The map contains 450 works in the public space by artists who were associated with the Rijksakademie. In the autumn, an exhibition will be held in the Amsterdam Museum highlighting 150 years of Rijksakademie.

The Rijksakademie has faced a lot of challenges, survived two world wars and periods of severe budget cuts over the past 150 years. Yet it always fulfilled its main objective of enabling artists from the Netherlands and far beyond to develop both their work and their ideas. With this in mind, it was decided to extend the residency period for the current residents – as they were temporarily unable to use all the facilities because of the Corona outbreak – and to revise the annual planning. A decision that has affected the new dates for the Open Studios.

Open Studios moved to April 2021
The current residency period is extended until May 2021. The selection process for new artists has been postponed until the fall of 2020 and the next group of artists will start in the summer of 2021.

As a result of these changes, the upcoming Rijksakademie Open Studios will take place in April 2021. The shift of the residency year and the new dates for the Open Studios in the spring are permanent. By having the Open Studios in the spring, the participating artists can make even better use of the entire building, including the courtyard and the garden, for their presentations and performances. Moreover, the arrival of a new group of artists from all over the world is more appropriate and pleasant in the summer than in the dark winter months. The Rijksakademie is delighted that its important partner Amsterdam Art is supporting the decision and has subsequently moved the Art Weekend to 15-18 April 2021.

"More than ever we see the importance of art organisations working together to sustain a rich cultural ecosystem in the Netherlands and beyond. We are therefore extremely happy to continue our collaboration with Amsterdam Art Weekend. With spring as a natural time of renewal, we will, through this annual celebration of culture in the city, bring new energy and stimulate new perspectives in what we hope will be a better climate!” Emily Pethick, director of the Rijksakademie.

Caroline van den Tempel, director of Amsterdam Art: "The Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten has been an indispensable partner since the establishment of Amsterdam Art Weekend. The Open Studios is an annual highlight on Amsterdam's cultural agenda and a benchmark for the Dutch contemporary art scene. It is in this respect a logical choice to have the Amsterdam Art Weekend (15-18 April 2021) coincide with it.

‘Activating Pasts, Practising Futures’ is generously supported by our main partner Ammodo, with additional support from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Stichting De Gijselaar-Hintzenfonds, M.A.O.C. Gravin van Bylandt Stichting and the Creative Europe Programme - European Commission.


Ansuya Blom receives the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art 2020

Press release of the KNAW on 1 May 2020:

The international jury of the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art has awarded the prize to visual artist Ansuya Blom. She will receive 100,000 euros, half of which is intended for a publication and/or exhibition. The jury described Ansuya Blom's work as intimate, engaging and poetic.

The Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art is the biggest visual art prize in the Netherlands, financed from a private fund, the Dr A.H. Heineken Foundation for Art. Established in 1988, this year’s biennial prize is being awarded to a visual artist for the seventeenth time. The exact date of the official award ceremony will be announced at a later date as a result of the Covid-19 measures.

Jury report

Her work does not clamour for attention, nor does Ansuya Blom herself. She chooses to stay in the background and lets her work subtly penetrate. For more than forty years Blom has been steadily working on an oeuvre that explores the boundaries of the inner world of experience. In films, drawings, paintings, installations and texts, she always manages to get under the skin and portrays humankind's struggle with itself and the environment in an engaging and poetic way.

Blom's work radiates a great social and societal commitment. With her interest in psychoanalysis and psychiatry, her work offers a space for the voices of those who are often not heard: the marginalised or forgotten people. The artist asks critical questions about the position of the individual, collective and society. At a time when much debate is polarised, her work is characterised by subtlety. Blom offers a look into the human soul, in all its fragile vulnerability, and does so authentically and autonomously.

The jury also praised her generous attitude in the Dutch art world, where Blom repeatedly takes on the task of mentoring young artists. The Heineken Prize for Art comes at an important time, during which a new generation of artists and curators is rediscovering Blom's oeuvre and becoming very interested in it. The prize increases this momentum and will enable Blom to make new connections.

About the laureate

Ansuya Blom (Groningen 1956) lives and works in Amsterdam. She studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and Ateliers '63 in Haarlem. Blom has been working in various art forms, including drawing, painting, photography, film, text, collage and sculpture, since the late seventies. In 1981 she received the Royal Award for Modern Painting. Her films have been screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rencontres Internationales Paris-Berlin, IDFA Amsterdam and at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Her work can be found in the collections of museums, including the EYE Filmmuseum, Tate Modern and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. She has had solo exhibitions at the Camden Arts Centre in London, the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and recently the Casco Art Institute in Utrecht. Blom also holds a master's degree in psychoanalysis from Middlesex University in London and is an associate member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research in London.

Ansuya Blom is an advisor at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam and was a guest advisor at art institutions in the United Kingdom, South Korea, Surinam and Indonesia in 2019. She is a regular speaker at public lectures, and in interviews and panel sessions, most recently at the Nola Hatterman Institute in Suriname, the EYE Film Museum, the Casco Art Institute and De Appel.

Jury composition

The jury of the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art 2020 was chaired by Frits van Oostrom, Distinguished University Professor of Dutch Literature of the Middle Ages at Utrecht University (member and former President of the Academy). In addition, the jury consisted of Patricia Pisters, professor of film science at the University of Amsterdam (member of the Academy), Aernout Mik, visual artist and laureate of the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art 2002 (member of the Academy of Arts), Bart Rutten, director of Centraal Museum Utrecht and Elena Filipovic, director of Kunsthalle, Basel.

Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art

Alfred Heineken established the prize that bears his name to recognise and encourage exceptionally talented artists. The Foundation awarded the prize for the first time in 1988 and every other year since then to an outstanding artist living and working in the Netherlands. The prize consists of a sculpture, a publication and/or exhibition (budgeted at EUR 50,000) and a cash prize of EUR 50,000. Previous laureates included Peter Struycken, Mark Manders, Barbara Visser, Job Koelewijn, Daan van Golden, Aernout Mik, Guido Geelen, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Yvonne Dröge Wendel and Erik van Lieshout.

Artists for Moria

On 21 April State of Concept Athens has launched the fundraiser Artists for Moria, to assist the work of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Greece in the refugee camp of Moria on the island of Lesvos, Greece.

Sixteen international artists are donating their works. All proceeds go directly to MSF.

The participating artists are:

Forensic Architecture, Yael Bartana, Rossella Biscotti, Banu Cennetoğlu, Chto Delat?, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Sanja Iveković, Emily Jacir, Bouchra Khalili, Metahaven, Nástio Mosquito, Ahmet Öğüt, Laure Prouvost, Oliver Ressler, Jonas Staal, Anton Vidokle.

More information
View the list of works here

Lars Arrhenius (1966-2020)

We are sad to hear that artist Lars Arrhenius has passed away on 18 April 2020, after falling ill after surgery. Lars was resident at the Rijksakademie in 1995 and 1996.

His works, which extended from pictures, animations, installations, games, books, tv-shows, apps and more, are permeated by strong social pathos, quirky humour and vital existential issues. He was an artist in constant change and development. Lars Arrhenius was also strongly committed to fighting climate change through the #artistforfuture movement and through exhibitions and new projects.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends in these difficult times.

(Former) residents, advisors and staff of the Rijksakademie

Covid-19 Update

Following the latest governmental measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Rijksakademie will be closed to public until further notice, and many of our staff members will be working from home. If you need to make contact with us about anything please do so over e-mail. We will however continue to post on social media, including our 150 anniversary alumni take overs on Instagram, which we hope can offer positive inspiration and sharing in precarious times.

Contact details can be found here.


Education from Below. Art as a site for learning

Education from Below is a two-year collaborative programme organised between the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam, MACBA, Barcelona and WHW, Zagreb.

Education from Below (EfB) explores art is a place for dialogue, collective learning and imagination. Education doesn't belong only in institutions, but it can be horizontal and come from below, from communities. The project recognises that art practices can dislocate the usual hierarchies of what should or should not be learned and traditional divisions between theory and practice, and that knowledge does not have to be based on accumulation, but rather on sharing and mutual learning. The partners will explore new models of art practice based on collective learning and will generate a network of institutions and professionals for sharing methodologies. Threads of investigation through the project include:

Institutional imagination and experimental mediation:
Activating collective thinking about possible new models for artistic institutions; ones that are more socially engaged, more aware of the ecological collapse, more flexible and porous. Slow institutions, feminist and queer assemblies, spaces for the common are examples of what we can imagine for the future from institutions of the past.

Art as social practice:
Art that is centred on and through human interaction, engagement and social discourse. The creation of social change through collaboration between individuals, communities, and institutions in creative processes. EfB will test and share ways of embedding social interaction more centrally in the work of the partners.

Collective learning:
Exploring collectivity as a crucial element in learning processes, looking at historical and innovative forms of radical education, and shared utilizations of public resources, action and experiments. The spaces of academia and the gallery can be used as pedagogical sites devoted to the analysis of artistic forms interconnected with actual or desired social relations.

Non-hierarchical education:
Informed by informal pedagogical traditions that have roots in a critique of enlightenment as practices of liberation, EfB questions fixed categories in education, as well as the idea of learning as an accumulation of knowledge or for the preparation of professionals, challenging the hierarchies of what can or cannot be learned and where. Learning from popular education and epistemologies of the South are crucial to these practices.

EfB links three independent programmes for artists, Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, PEI at MACBA, and WHW Academija that each provide important opportunities for artistic development outside of formal education systems. The project will be realized over the course of autumn 2019 – autumn 2021 through seminars, study groups, artist residencies, exhibitions, series of lectures, an international conference, a collective reader and a common web platform, involving many artists, thinkers and educators.

publication date 20-12-2018

Tushar Joag (1966-2018)

We are saddened by the news that on Tuesday 18 December 2018 artist-activist and Rijksakademie alumnus Tushar Joag passed away unexpectedly.

Tushar and his wife Sharmila Samant were both residents at the Rijksakademie in 1998 and 1999. After returning to Mumbai, they founded the artist-led initiative 'Open Circle', one of the first platforms of the Rijksakademie Artists Initiatives Network (RAIN). Open Circle (1999-2008) was an artist collective that sought to engage with contemporary socio-political issues via an integration of theory and practice.

Tushar described himself as a public intervention artist. He founded the Public Work Cells, an organisation that worked “to create works of art that seek to make interventions in the urban space, by designing and producing objects that while being functional and aesthetic bring into focus the various concerns of the immediate situation”.

In recent years he taught at Shiv Nadar University of Arts in Greater Noida, where he and Sharmila set up the Masters of Arts programme.

Over the past few weeks, Tushar had been helping to assemble a forum called Artists Unite, which recently issued a statement signed by 450 painters, writers and filmmakers warning that “democracy is not a majoritarian project to identify enemies and enforce uniformity of language, behaviour and culture”. It added, “Democracy is the celebration of a collective will for peace, of living together with dignity and equality.”

Our hearts are with Sharmila, his children Kattyayani & Kashyap, and his family and friends.
Tushar Joag in 2016 (photo www.ficart.org) Tushar Joag in 2016 (photo www.ficart.org)

publication date 4-10-2018

Shortlist Future Generation Art Prize 2019

Rijksakademie alumni Monira Al Qadiri (RA 16/17) and Yu Araki (guestresident in 2018) are shortlisted for the fith edition of the Future Generation Art Prize.

The Future Generation Art Prize is a biannual global contemporary art prize open to all artists aged 35 or younger from anywhere in the world, working in any medium. Shortlisted artists will be commissioned to create new works on view in exhibitions at the PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv (1 February - 14 April) and the Venice Biennale (9 May - September 2019).

The Future Generation Art Prize 2019 Award Ceremony will take place in March 2019.

publication date 6-3-2018

Em’kal Eyongakpa receives Henrike Grohs Art Award

Rijksakademie alumnus Em’kal Eyongakpa (born 1981 in Mamfe, Cameroon) is the first recipient of the Henrike Grohs Art Award, conceived by the Goethe-Institut and the Grohs family. He will be awarded with a € 20.000 cash prize on 13 March 2018 in Abidjan.

The jury states: “The jury unanimously awards the inaugural Henrike Grohs Art Award to Em’kal Eyongakpa for his poetic, subtle and subjective approach. His work expresses universal concerns of humanity. The multidisciplinary stance of his practice that includes knowledge derived from science, ethnobotany, magical realism, experimentation and utopia, aptly responds to the core values of the Henrike Grohs Art Award.”

The Henrike Grohs Art Award is a biennial prize dedicated to artists who are living and working in Africa and practicing in the field of visual arts. It recognises the lifetime achievements of the former Head of the Goethe-Institut in Abidjan, Henrike Grohs, who was killed on 13 March 2016 in a terrorist attack in Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire.

Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, President of the Goethe-Institut: “We have not only lost a highly esteemed and beloved colleague in Henrike Grohs but also a person who carried hope into the world with her beliefs and actions. Therefore, it is of particular importance to link the memory of Henrike Grohs to a viewpoint that reflects her work and desires. This has come to fruition in the prize, as it promotes the cause of Henrike Grohs: To support African creative artists and make a contribution towards international dialogue. I would like to congratulate the first prize winner Em’kal Eyongakpa with whom, after an intensive selection process, the judges have made an excellent choice.”

Jury members

- Koyo Kouoh (Artistic Director, RAW Material Company, Dakar)
- Laurence Bonvin (artist and representative of the Grohs family, Berlin)
- Raphael Chikukwa (Chief Curator, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare)
- Simon Njami (Curator, Paris)

More information

Em'kal Eyongakpa
Henrike Grohs Award