Corners are not allowed and are not allowed to get off. In Hall 1 of Ahoy Rotterdam, you can enjoy the art of Boijmans Van Beuningen in a corona-proof with an electric mini.
First impression of a temporary 10,000 square meter “drive-through museum” in Rotterdam: a science fiction novel. Hall 1 of Ahoy in Rotterdam is dark. And even more impressive, there is no music, no conferences, no circus, just bass. 30 electric cars from the collection of the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum will see 50 masterpieces. Sculptures, videos, paintings, and installations can be seen from the car.
Can I see art while driving? Headlights provide special effects. Some artwork is already dramatically illuminated (the sculpture gallery looks great), while others can be emphasized by the driver. Such as the particularly wacky installation by artist Bas van Beek. A pyramid of aquariums with aquarium figurines in them, based on Boijmans masterpieces such as Dalí’s lobster telephone. The light from the structure reflects brilliantly in the glow of the car lamps.
During the corona crisis, the museum reverted to a plan by designer Ted Noten: looking at art from the car dealerships in Scottsdale, AZ. Ahoy was happy to cooperate; with all events discontinued, Hall 1 was available. In this way, a large exhibition was built in record time. Designed from within the car, with anti-terror concrete blocks to protect the artworks.
Forbidden to honk
However, there is a good chance that whoever enters Hall 1 does not immediately think about natural forces, but especially about the operation of the (provided) switchless electric Mini. You can also bring your own electric car. Getting out is prohibited, honking too. As with the pre-Corona exhibitions, Hall 1 has no courses. However, visitors prefer to drive on the right side.
They seem to think that the biggest work of art in the hall is a roundabout. Photographer Bass Princen created a model of the tower-based on Bruegel’s Tower of Babel, one of Boijmans’ masterpieces. He took a picture of a fragment of the painting and blew it into a huge size, turning it into a kind of hanging curtain with a diameter of 31 meters.
Is this the museum of the future? It does feel safe (apart from some risk of damage to the body), but also unsociable and cumbersome: a very moody slow motion fairground attraction. Talking to fellow art viewers is not an option, nor is an intimate gathering with a work of art.
The real highlight of the exhibition is at the exit: Marijke van Warmerdam’s film installation Beer, from 1997. Two giant bears on a 6-meter-high screen stand on two white doorposts. The car must drive between these bears. Something about these unrealistic, sterile white-wrapped bears seems to fit perfectly into sitting at home lately. And of course, consider the inconvenience of driving.