Scenography: WILMOTTE & ASSOCIES ARCHITECTES
Scenography for the Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum.
For the first time in its history, the Rijksmuseum is presenting an exhibition of the work of the 17th-century master painter Johannes Vermeer. With 28 Vermeer paintings from all over the world, this is the largest ever exhibition of the artist's work. The historical and technical research carried out in the run-up to the exhibition focuses on his life as a man and artist, his motivations and artistic choices, and the painting process itself.
When Jean-Michel Wilmotte visited the Rijksmuseum for the first time some twenty years ago, he was amazed by the collection and this monumental building, but he was also struck by the omnipresent scenography, which consisted of covering almost all the walls with endless drapes and pleats, throughout the visit to the museum’s rooms.
The exhibition’s scenography is based on this evocation of the Rijksmuseum and its origins, but also and above all on Vermeer’s characteristic framing, compositions and staging. Right from the entrance, a space suggests light, a veritable subject in Vermeer’s work. The velvet and its subtle reflections form a warm, protective setting around the works. They create a perfect osmosis with the light, colours and muted atmosphere of Vermeer.
When Taco Dibbits asked me to create the scenography for the Vermeer exhibition, 'The Greatest Exhibition', images of the Rijksmuseum that I had discovered on my first visit naturally came to mind. Spontaneously, the pleats that had seduced me at the time became the starting point for this scenography, like a wink, a return to the roots.