Boijmans Diary 2023

Boijmans Diary 2023

Communication in art

  • Author(s):
    Alex de Vries
  • Year:
    2022
  • Language:
    dutch, english
  •  
  • Design:
    Tessa van der Waals
  • Size:
    19 x 22,5 cm
  • ISBN:
    9789069183237
  •  
  • Edition:
    ringband / ring binder
€ 17,50
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Whether it’s good news or bad tidings, artworks report on what happens in the world, both literally and figuratively. They deploy every possible means to convey messages that are either hidden or which leave nothing to the imagination. Yet what is expressed in an artwork almost never has a single, unequivocal interpretation. From the earliest clay tablets to the ones and zeros of digital technology, signs are part of the visual language that enables human exchange. But how they are understood or interpreted is another matter.
In the 2023 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen diary, more than fifty diverse works from the collection show the numerous ways a message can be conveyed. The Annunciation is one of the earliest and best-known examples of delivering a message in Western art history. Here, this biblical scene is reverently depicted by the late-fifteenth-century artist, the Master of the Virgo inter Virgines. In The Pedlar by Hieronymus Bosch, we recognise the roaming salesman who, in addition to merchandise, also brings the latest news. But not all the works presented here are concerned with transmitting information. Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s confidential conversation shows that communication also has its secret side.
Other artists sow confusion by elevating an instrument of communication into a work of art, as Salvador Dalí has done with his White Aphrodisiac Telephone. The addition of a lobster to the receiver has given the object a voluptuous, surreal appearance. James Lee Byars transformed his personal letters to acquaintances into exceptional objects executed as true works of art.
In this parade of artworks, the subject of communication reveals itself to be incredibly versatile. The museum is the place where the connection between personal imagination and hidden meanings is made visible in such messages.

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