The Kunsthal Rotterdam proudly presents the result of Pet van de Luijtgaarden's passion for collecting. Pet is a visual artist who is fascinated by the absurdity of abundance when it comes to ‘stuff'. ‘Shops are getting larger and fuller, but what we need it all for?' As a collector, Van de Luijtgaarden buys discarded collections of objects such as disposable lighters, frogs, GI Joe action dolls and Flippos (Pogs), all of which have been neatly arranged to create a cabinet of curiosities for the exhibition. It seems the absurdity of it ‘never being enough' is irrevocable.
A collecting frenzy
As a child, Pet van de Luijtgaarden collected beer bottles and postage stamps; later, when he was a student, it were books that he collected. Nowadays, as a visual artist, Van Luijtgaarden voraciously buys up private collections including caps, porcelain cats, pencil sharpeners, spectacles and milk bottle tops! He spends hours on the Dutch digital marketplace ‘Marktplaats' and drives all over the Netherlands buying up collections that are often being sold as a last resort, for example in the event of financial difficulties, death, divorce or lack of space.
Marktplaats is one of the top 10 most visited websites in the Netherlands. People have always collected things and we are all familiar with the concept. The value of a collection might be determined by supply and demand, completeness or rarity. In this way, worthless objects gain new meaning and the fact they have been collected gives them value. The collections form a self-portrait, sometimes even the identity of the collector, but when does instinctive hunter-gatherer behaviour become obsessive consumerism? This exhibition invites visitors to take a walk through a neatly arranged and interesting landscape comprising an excess of remarkable collectibles from today's consumer society.
Van de Luijtgaarden asked fellow artists, designers and photographers to adopt a collection and use it in their own discipline. This resulted in a number of intriguing sculptures, images and even haute couture. Some of these creations can be seen at the exhibition. Participating artists: Fenny Faber, Els Petit, Choi Wong, Jacco de Jager, Roos van der Heiden, Ghita van Bergen, Sylvia Stolan, Eva Bullens, Tim van de Meer, Jessica de Kort, Ellen Vesters, Malou Cohen, Sandy Duijsens, Astrid Willems, Erik Fusco and Robin de Wilde.