Exhibition 'Dutch Primitives, Paintings from the late Middle Ages'
Client: Boijmans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam
Brief: exhibition 'Dutch Primitives, Paintings from the late Middle Ages'
Projectteam: Ramin Visch, Femke Poppinga
Status: realized 2008
Area: 1.300 m²
Further information: -
Studio Ramin Visch was commissioned by the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam to design
the exhibition 'Dutch Primitives, Paintings from the late Middle Ages'. Since the official opening on 18
April, the exhibition has been receiving rave reviews. 'Rembrandt avant la lettre' NRC Handelsblad, 'A
thrilling mystery' Volkskrant, 'A beautiful, moving exhibition' Trouw, 'An imposing selection' Het
Financi‘le Dagblad, 'Extraordinary tour de force' Het Parool, 'A jewel of an exhibition' Algemeen Dagblad,
'A feast for the eyes' Telegraaf, 'Gro§artige Meisterwerke' (Amazing masterworks) Der Spiegel, 'Impressive
exhibition design' De Tijd.
Exhibition Design by Studio Ramin Visch
In the exhibition catalogue we read the following: 'Early Dutch painting is the most mysterious area of our
country's art history. The number of paintings that have survived is extremely small, the names of the
artists are barely known and there is not one work that is on display where it was originally painted.'
The curators divided the paintings between various cities. This division served as the guiding principle
of the design. In the exhibition each city is represented by its own display wall. Together these display
walls form a monumental infrastructure that present the works and objects as a mystery. This structure
takes visitors by the hand and guides them past the mediaeval works. There can never be any doubt
about the route to be followed.
The colours of the fabric stretched over the display walls are based directly on the painting called 'De
maagd temidden van de maagden' (The virgin in the midst of the virgins) by the Master of the Virgo
inter Virgines. The panel was cleaned right before the exhibition and the colours are extraordinarily
vibrant, with an array of complementary colours.
The exhibition design places the work on display firmly in the forefront. When organising the space,
the natural, intimate contact with the paintings served as the guiding principle. The display walls and
corridors form a clear structure with a dynamic coherence; as a result of which, the paintings and
objects are all shown to their own individual advantage. The design creates a flowing coherence and
marks out a clear route through the exhibition.