The Danish artist duo, Bank & Rau, based in Copenhagen, have been invited by the Cobra Museum to create a contemporary presentation of the museum collection from the perspective of their own unique vision. The collection of the museum, the stories associated with it and the history of the Cobra movement, with associated archival material, are the building blocks with which Bank & Rau have set to work. They will further complement this with their own work, inspired by the Cobra collection and thereby creating a new, total installation in which they tell a story of Cobra in a completely new way.
In the artistic practice of Bank & Rau (Lone Bank & Tanja Rau), hand crafting and elements of folklore are consistent elements. By setting aside accepted tradition and everything we tend to take for granted (in a museum), Bank & Rau endeavour to create new forms for museum presentations.
The Open Collection Programme of the Cobra Museum is an investigation in practice, in which contemporary creators are invited to open up the Cobra Museum collection and contribute new impulses and perspectives. The Open Collection Programme has been made possible by the Mondriaan fund. The presentation by Bank & Rau is also supported by the Danish Arts Council, SVFK (Danish Art Workshop) and the SKF (Danish Art Foundation).
8 February - 1 June 2015
This completely new presentation of works from the collection of the Cobra Museum also includes space for contemporary art that bears a clear reference to the themes of the CoBrA movement. The film, Golden Goose (2012), by Margot Onnes (b. 1983), is based on old folk tales and reflects the theme of fables and fairy tales, which was such an important source for the CoBrA artists. Few figures reach back so far and so consistently as that of the Golden Goose. In Aesop's Fables, from the 6th century B.C., a goose lays golden eggs, but eventually dies because of its owner's greed. Danish legends refer to a princess who was changed by a curse into a Golden Goose. Every night, she wanders at sea, in amongst the fishing boats. The most famous of all the golden geese is in the story by the Brothers Grimm, in which a farmer's son receives a Golden Goose, but everyone who crosses its path literally remains stuck to it.
Golden Goose, by artist Margo Onnes, shows successive spaces in which the echoes of long-gone stories continue to reverberate. The narrators, in fact, seem to have lost their way. All of them are obsessed with finding the object of their desires: the Golden Goose. Golden Goose was filmed in the impressive Eekenhof building, in the Roombeek neighbourhood of Enschede.
Margo Onnes (b. 1983) studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague and the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. Her films and large-scale video installations investigate the structures of storytelling. Margo Onnes lives and works in Rotterdam.
Text and editing: Margo Onnes
Works from the collection of the Cobra Museum of Modern Art
The CoBrA artists, many of whom had left-wing political leanings following the isolation and divisions inflicted by the war, wanted to create a new form of art that transcended national borders and could assume a central place in society. Cobra artists wanted to produce art that could be understood by everyone, that would speak directly to the individual. To achieve this, they sought to get as close as possible to the underlying core of what it meant to be human. They sought ‘authenticity’, and found something closer to that authenticity in the artistic expressions of children, folk culture and in non-Western societies. In practice, this meant experimenting with ‘a new, spontaneous painterly expression’. In this way, Cobra artists investigated the relationships between drawing, writing and painting. They strove to liberate colour from form. Some of the artists associated with Cobra, including Karel Appel and Asger Jorn, had specific periods when abstraction played a larger role in their work, but there were also artists associated with Cobra who had always leaned more strongly towards abstraction, such as Eugène Brands, Anton Rooskens, Theo Wolvecamp and the Danish artist, Erik Ortvad. It is this field of tension between figuration and abstraction that is central in this presentation with works from the collection of the Cobra Museum of Modern Art