Karel Appel - The Opera

His designs for the Dutch National Opera
20-02-16 - 16-05-16

In 1994 and 1995, at the invitation of Pierre Audi, artistic director of The National Opera, Karel Appel designed the sets and costumes for two operas, ‘Noah’ and ‘The Magic Flute'. Thus he joined the long tradition of collaboration between artists and opera. Appel's designs led to consternation and praise by press and public. The sets and backdrops are colourful and spectacular and testify to the expressive style so characteristic of him. A direct and intuitive art portraying the great human themes, which also take a central place in opera.

In 2016 it has been 10 years since Karel Appel had passed away. An occasion to collaborate with The National Opera and to shine the spotlights on the stage scenery works. The same Opera staff that worked with Appel have restored various pieces especially for this exhibition. Displaying these objects in a museum creates a totally different experience. The visitor moves like an actor over the 'stage', past the scenery and light plan that is designed again by technicians from the National Opera. From close-by you can see the human hand of Appel and his assistants.

Included are a few artworks from our own collection showing kinship with the Opera designs. Film recordings of both operas will be on show in the gallery along with Appel's original scenery sketches.



March 2015

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).


CoBrA Collection

On view from 17 March

• Collaborations
• New acquisitions

The Cobra Museum presents its own collection in changing exhibitions, thereby emphasizing the wide range of the international Cobra movement, as well as revealing the dynamics between the various members of the group. Relationships between text and image played an important role right from the beginning of the Cobra movement, and this presentation focuses special attention on collaborations between poets and painters.

Three elements are now being shown for the first time: a recent donation of works by the pioneering Danish CoBrA artist Carl-Henning Pedersen, a recent donation of works by the Scottish CoBrA artist Stephen Gilbert, and a new, long-term loan of works by the Dutch Cobra artist, Jan Nieuwenhuijs.