Drawn: Rotterdam!

Nov. 9, 2019 – Jan. 12, 2020 This exhibition has ended
From Saturday 9 November, the Kunsthal Rotterdam will be presenting ‘Drawn: Rotterdam!’, featuring the results of a commission given to the city artists Cox Janssens, Isra Páez and Kay Hessels by the Rotterdam City Archives and CBK Rotterdam. In a series of twelve drawings, each of these Rotterdam residents is presenting their own, personal interpretation of one of the three prescribed themes.

The illustrator Cox Janssens (1993) worked on the theme of sports clubs. Her colourful and caricatural illustrations represent the great diversity of sports in Rotterdam, from team sports to individual sports, on land and in the water. The drawings reveal the connecting factor of sports clubs as meeting places. Against the backdrop of the city of Rotterdam, Janssens combines a range of very diverse sports – for instance, aikido is linked to freerunning, and rowing to swimming –, resulting in surreal collages.

Isra Páez (1982) graduated in architecture. Working around the theme of street culture, he went in search of the raw and desolate places where young people gather. In his charcoal drawings, Páez shows the hidden places beneath viaducts, along motorways and around railways. Traces of these hangouts are visible amongst the concrete architecture and heavy structures.

The artist Kay Hessels (1987) makes detailed drawings of existing buildings and subsequently gives them a personal twist. For this commission he delved deeper into the theme of urban agriculture. Hessels has drawn iconic Rotterdam buildings, such as Schieblock, the Markthal and Blue City – the former Tropicana swimming pool –, from a bird’s eye perspective and with rooftops overgrown with flora. Through these imaginative jungles, Hessels aims to forge a stronger connection between the inhabitants and nature in the city.

Rotterdam city artists

Until the end of the 1980s, the Rotterdam City Archives gave annual commissions to artists. This already started before the bombing of Rotterdam on 14 May 1940, but during the post-war reconstructions in particular, the artists were able to capture the changes in the city. With these rapid transformations, Rotterdam proved to be an ideal source of inspiration. Since 2018, this tradition has been reinstated in collaboration with CBK Rotterdam, and city artists are again adding work to the collection of the Rotterdam City Archives. The artists for the 2019 commission were selected by a jury consisting of the Rotterdam writer, art lover and art collector Hugo Borst, Kunsthal curator Shehera Grot, Ove Lucas of CBK Rotterdam, and Jantje Steenhuis and Wanda Waanders of the Rotterdam City Archives.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication featuring the drawings of the 2019 city artists.

Wacth the videos

Isra Páez
Kay Hessels
Cox Janssens