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11 Sep 2020 - 05 Apr 2021

Ben Cobra

From September 11, the museum will present the exhibition Ben Cobra, curated by the well-known designer, artist and guest curator Aziz Bekkaoui. For this exhibition he has invited a diverse group of more than 25 special, colorful, pioneering, outspokenly creative or otherwise striking individuals: from the children’s mayor of Amsterdam Ilias Admi to Choreographer Uri Eugenio, from chair of the supervisory board of the University of Amsterdam Marise Voskens to the writer Arnon Grunberg. By linking these contemporary Cobras to the museum collection, he shows that Cobra’s quest for hope, the urge for absolute freedom, spontaneous expression and social and artistic renewal are just as important today as they were then.

Image: Marise Voskens, photo by Raymond van Zessen

The museum exhibits some twenty five pieces from the collection, which Aziz Bekkaoui shows together with unique photomontages of contemporary Cobras. In these photomontages the relationship he sees between the individual and the ‘Cobra values’ is both narrative and visually expressed. Together they breathe the spirit of the once so revolutionary Cobra movement, according to Aziz. Spontaneously the question arises: Doesn’t everyone have Cobra in them? What is the Cobra in you?

Choreographer Uri Eugenio, photo: Raymond van Zessen

The spirit of Cobra

According to Aziz Bekkaoui, this growing group breathes the spirit of the once so revolutionary Cobra movement. In Ben Cobra he shows that Cobra’s search for hope, the urge for absolute freedom, spontaneous expression and social and artistic renewal is as important today as it was more than 70 years ago. The Cobra movement was a post-war, influential art movement whose artists were known for their outspoken anti-bourgeois views and great desire for freedom and renewal.

Zaaloverzicht, foto: Peter Tijhuis © c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2020

At the opening of the exhibition, Aziz Bekkaoui and Arnon Grunberg presented a new manifest on a moment in which our society is going through revolutionary changes. Aziz Bekkaoui: ‘The spirit of Cobra is alive and reason of a renewed manifest‘. In the Cobra Museum of Modern Art Amstelveen, the manifest was signed by all attendees of the opening.

You can read the manifest here, and sign it yourself via this link.

“my work is not a revolution, but an evolution”

Aziz Bekkaoui (1969, lives and works in Amsterdam) was educated at the Art Academy of Arnhem (ArtEZ) and won the Grand Prix at the Festival des Jeunes Stylists in Hyères with his graduation collection and opened the Paco Rabanne couture show in Paris. Over the course of his career, Aziz has developed a powerful signature in his fashion, art and performances. Characteristic is his love for innovation, flowing forms and movement and he developed into a multidisciplinary artist. He worked with Marina Abramovic at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and was exhibited at the Van Gogh Museum, Centraal Museum, Kunstmuseum The Hague, Musée de la Mode et du Textile in Paris and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. In 2007 he received the Amsterdam Prize for Art.

Aziz Bekkaoui, photo: Raymond van Zessen

"Our programming always focuses on Cobra's values, which have not lost any of their topicality in this day and age. As an art historian, you quickly look at a work of art from your acquired knowledge. To look at the collection through completely different eyes is a valuable enrichment"
Lillian Bóza, director of the Cobra Museum.

When to see?

Open to the public from Friday 11 September. The Cobra Museum of Modern Art is open on Tuesday until Sunday, from 11.00-17.00 hrs. You can book a ticket via our website (required).

Zaaloverzicht, foto: Peter Tijhuis © c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2020

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