Rollercoaster at Moti, Breda

Rollercoaster, The Image in the 21st Century

The ‘live magazine’ Rollercoaster offers an interpretation of the 21st century in images, and will be open to the public from 29 April - 2 September. Guest curator Joost Zwagerman is placing icons of visual art alongside icons from the news. He has asked 100 prominent figures from the Netherlands to share their iconic image of the past century.

Well-known names such as Katja Römer Schuurman, Dries van Agt, Rudi Fuchs and Sander van de Pavert (Lucky TV) have made a selection of images, including photography, video, and visual art. These can be either personal choices or reports of recent international events such as the crisis or revolutions. The contributors explain their choices and where necessary Joost Zwagerman provides additional information or a counter image. As a guest curator he will also be highlighting their links to the history of the image and literary history in his own unique way. By doing so he will be offering an interpretation of the stream of images with which we are confronted daily. The exhibition will not only be a retrospective of the turbulent first decade of this century; it is also an attempt to interpret the explosive culture of the image in which we live.

The diverse collection of images in Rollercoaster takes the visitor on an adventure through the early beginnings of the 21st century. The last century has seen the culture of the image booming, and now it is ubiquitous. The combined images in Rollercoaster explain how the culture of the image that has developed over this century is a mix of casual amateur images and the layered images constructed by artists. Creating images has become increasingly democratic; it is no longer the exclusive domain of the professional artists.

Again, you will find more than 100 images at MOTI. And just to give you an impression of the selection that has been made for you, we now introduce Jan Mulder, Frits Gierstberg and Koert van Mensvoort.

Jan Mulder (journalist/columnist) has chosen ‘The realistically quacking duck’ (image no. 1) by Ed Voeten, from 2011. His reasoning?  “In the 21st century the desire to possess a pretty front garden reached its culmination. Wars, immigration, the Euro, the Arab Spring, and even TV chefs lost the battle against this life-sized, realistically quacking duck with glow-in-the-dark chicks, available from a garden centre near you, and as seen on TV only yesterday, sponsoring Eddy’s Totale Tuin Turnover, Tjing Tjing Tuin, Eigen Huis & Tuin, Les Jardins du Monde, Nachmittag Garten en Gardener’s World. The planet is going to the dogs, but perfectly manicured, as if clipped with nail scissors. The realistically quacking duck that quacks if you pass it is the perfect symbol of the state of the planet in the 21st century.”

One of the images that was chosen several times is the falling man by Richard Drew (image no. 2). Freek de Jonge, Menno Lievens and Frits Gierstberg (curator of the Fotomuseum Rotterdam)“This picture, taken on 11 September 2001, displays a man falling face down from the North Tower of the WTC in New York. It is possible that he jumped because of the unbearable heat caused by the blaze from the airplane exploding beneath him. To me, this crushing image symbolises the free fall in which the world seemed to find itself after the 9/11 attacks, as well as the big shifts that have dominated the uncertain world politics since then. In addition, the picture proves the power of the still image amidst the wealth of moving images surrounding us. This photograph is a balled up icon that will stay in our collective memory.”

Koert van Mensvoort (director of Next Nature) has chosen the image called Overstepping by Julie Rrap (image no. 3). “The ultimate fashion statement, or the epitome of the discomfort of  womanhood? Not to worry, the image by the Australian artist Julie Rrap is a photographic manipulation. It’s fake. However, metaphorically, it is a very real image. In all its ominous elegance it is a visu­alisation of one of the major developments, albeit a dormant one, of our times. Man as a product that can be kneaded, manipulated, and produced. Look around you and try to find the most natural thing in the room where you are. It is you. But for how long?” 

Bianca Stigter (journalist) about Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds (image no. 4): ‘If Van Gogh painted his sunflowers to offer some consolation, then possibly, Ai Weiwei’s sunflower seeds hold a promise.’