Playing with art history at the Stedelijk Museum

Alexander van Eijk
May 28, 2019 · 2 min read
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Jacqueline de Jong // “Tournevicieux cosmonautique” // 1966.

The collected works of Jacqueline de Jong showcase not only the interesting development of her own styles and techniques but also provide a view into the avant-garde movements in Europe and elsewhere of the 1960s. Currently, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam is holding an exhibition curated together with the artist that traces her chronological oeuvre and connects the works with their related artistic trends and events.

Throughout the 13 exhibition spaces de Jong “plays art history” by combining her own works with various related artists, art books and previously unseen archival material.

Particularly interesting is de Jong’s involvement with the Internationale Situationniste. This was a radically anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist art collective that sought to smash the boundaries of art. Their commitment to this radicalism reached particular heights when, in 1962, they kicked out the painters in the group as they were producing, in the eyes of the Situationists, commercial objects. Undaunted by her removal from the collective, de Jong went on to edit her own series of journals, the Situationist Times. De Jong distinguished herself from the Internationale Situationniste by presenting a truly multi-disciplinary and lively collection of work in The Situationist Times. All these can be browsed through and admired at the museum.

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Jacqueline de Jong // “Le Pouvoir au Peuple” // 1968

Central to de Jong’s work from here on out was the notion of topologies. These rely on alternative forms of knowledge that emphasise the playful use of space and revolve around misunderstandings and dialectics. The culmination of this topological approach is Jacqueline de Jong’s study of the Pinball machine. Her works on this topic are exhibited among reports on the 1972 pinball world championship, which was held just outside the Stedelijk Museum.

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Jacqueline de Jong // “Pinball Wizards” // 1973

Fittingly, de Jong’s work was frequently concerned with narratives and now, all brought together, the museum makes one large narrative of her own oeuvre. Like a Pinball Wizard she dances through art history and plays with her own work and that of related artists.

Pinball Wizard: The Work and Life of Jacqueline de Jong can be visited at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam from 9 February to 18 August 2019.

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