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Tir­zo Martha — Inten­sive care

13 April 2024 up to and including 4 August 2024

Enter a white landscape of new, monumental installations & join the open studio!

Expected: Tirzo Martha - Intensive Care

The socially engaged artist Tirzo Martha (Curaçao, 1965) is coming to museum van Bommel van Dam this spring. The exhibition Intensive Care shows a comprehensive series of sculptures with which Marta is charting a new course within his already extensive oeuvre. This predominantly white series is being shown in the Netherlands for the first time. He deliberately chose Venlo for the presentation of 20 of his latest sculptures. 'To discover the city's qualities and share them with the rest of the country.' To increase that impact, there will also be a gallery open studio where the artist will work with local communities, students and visitors on a new, collaborative artwork.

13 April 2024 up to and including 4 August 2024

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A series of monuments dedicated to social problems

Chronisch Monochroom (Chronic Monochrome)

The imposing sculptures in the Intensive Care exhibition are part of the Chronisch Monochroom series. In contrast to Martha's often colourful installations, the pieces in this series are mainly white. The inspiration for Chronisch Monochroom arose when the artist stayed in hospitals in Colombia and on Curaçao, where he was admitted due to a heart infection. The seemingly dilapidated monochrome structures and landscapes originated in those sterile, white rooms. With these sculptures, Tirzo Martha has constructed monuments dedicated to social issues that stifle the development and growth of our people. And that on a global level as well as close to home. These issues including recent crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, but also unemployment, the decline in education, corruption and racism. The artist gives these issues a stage and asks the viewer for their sustained attention. At the same time, he attempts to reassure you and carry you along with his imagination. As a collective, we can bridge differences and make new memories through decisiveness and trust but above all by working together.

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Collaborate on a new, shared artwork

Join in at the gallery studio

Tirzo Martha's sculptures, videos and performances can be seen across the globe, and they all have one thing in common: they arise from social engagement and collaboration. They are the result of the intensive care that Martha carries for the communities with whom he creates, speaks, works and builds. In preparing for this exhibition, Martha visited various community centres in the municipality of Venlo. During a workshop, local residents were invited to get acquainted with the artist and his working methods. The participants all brought something personal along, such as an object or material that said something about themselves. To increase the visibility of their own stories, Martha asked the local residents to adapt the object with simple materials. Personal group conversations arose during this process. The visits to the districts resulted in some working practices and materials that will be used to create a new, collaborative artwork in the gallery open studio. Here, for the duration of the exhibition, Martha will collaborate with school pupils and students, participants in neighbourhood initiatives and visitors on a new sculpture that will serve as a monument for connection.

Advocates of culture, heritage and social cohesion

Venlo – Curaçao

A collaboration between museum van Bommel van Dam and Tirzo Martha has been a long-cherished wish for both sides. First, to be able to contribute to enriching the cultural landscape in the Venlo region. Martha says, 'Opinions about identity play a significant role in our time and identity goes hand in hand with culture. Ideas about culture are often dominated and determined by those in the metropolis. What happens with the cultures in the smaller places? Can their culture transition to larger cities? That is the need behind my presence in Venlo. To discover the city's qualities and share them with the rest of the country.' Furthermore, the artist brings with him the exceptional story of two friends from his birth island: the Venlo pastor, ethnologist and artist Paul Brenneker (1912–1996) and literary author, artist and archaeologist Elis Juliana (1927–2013). Martha was inspired by their history, which, in this exhibition, forms a connection between Curaçao, Willemstad and the Netherlands, and particularly with Venlo. It is the story of two important advocates of culture, heritage and social cohesion on Curaçao. Together, they collected sources to record the culture and history. A significant part of these documents is housed in the NAAM (National Archaeological and Anthropological Memory Management Foundation) in Willemstad, with whom the artist collaborated for the exhibition.

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Saturday, 13 April

Free admission on opening day

The exhibition opens on Saturday, 13 April, in the presence of Tirzo Martha. Besides the official opening by Rieke Righolt, director of museum van Bommel van Dam, and Emily Ansenk, director of Holland Festival, various activities will take place during the day to kick off the exhibition with visitors in a festive manner. These will include live music and performances to tasty food. Furthermore, the museum will stay open for longer on the day - to 8 p.m. - and admission is free to all.

The exhibition has been made possible with support from:

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