BRUTUS Space in Rotterdam presents Santiago Sierra's "Pilot"

BRUTUS Space in Rotterdam presents Santiago Sierra's "Pilot"

BRUTUS Space in Rotterdam is set to unveil “Pilot,” an exhibition featuring three significant works by Spanish artist Santiago Sierra. The exhibition aims to spark conversations around societal inequality, control mechanisms, and the underlying economic systems. It will be open from September 2 to November 19, 2023.

Santiago Sierra's Artistic Endeavors

Three major works by Santiago Sierra (1966) will be displayed. Known for his art that oscillates between social sculpture, performance, and political activism, Sierra aims to provoke discussions on societal issues. The exhibition is intended as a precursor to a long-term collaboration between Sierra and BRUTUS Space.

The Works on Display

The exhibition will showcase “Paintings Made by a Fire Breather”, consisting of 17 canvases created by a Mexican fire breather and stretched by a local artist. Captured on film, the canvases transcend mere records of fire damage and acquire aesthetic value, reminiscent of the minimalist art of the 1960s and 1970s.

Sierra's most recent work, “The Maelström,” will also be featured. For this piece, Sierra employed numerous Gambians to perform a series of basic movements taught by the police for arrests or frisks. Unlike Bruce Nauman's “Walking” videos, the Gambians perform these movements with their hands behind their heads or backs, often facing a wall or in a kneeling position.

Controversial Undertones

Sierra's art has regularly been deemed controversial. His third work to be displayed, “245m3 (part I and II),” involved filling a former synagogue in Pulheim, Germany, with car exhaust fumes. Visitors could walk through the space wearing gas masks, evoking industrial and institutional death. The work also alludes to the Holocaust gas chambers, adding layers of meaning and interpretation.

About Santiago Sierra

Sierra is known for performances that employ unskilled workers to perform seemingly pointless tasks. By labelling these activities as 'art,' Sierra changes the way we perceive them, highlighting the economic systems that enable such 'services' to be purchased.

Directions to BRUTUS Space

BRUTUS Space is located in the heart of Rotterdam, easily accessible by public transport. The area is vibrant, filled with other art galleries, cafés, and boutiques.

Knitwork in the Surf: A dive into Rotterdam's swimwear history

Knitwork in the Surf: A dive into Rotterdam's swimwear history

A unique exhibition, 'Breiwerk in de Branding' (Knitwork in the Surf), is set to launch at Huis van de Wijk 'De Hoekstee' on 18 August, showcasing a blend of historical swimsuits and hand-knitted swimwear.

Photo credit: Marijke Gips

Exhibition details

In collaboration with Welzijn op de Hoek and Museum Rotterdam, the exhibition will feature historical swimsuits and knitting patterns from Museum Rotterdam's collection. These pieces will be juxtaposed with handmade swimwear crafted by the residents and visitors of Hoek van Holland. Additionally, until 26 September, individuals can participate in the 'Het mooiste zwempak van Hoek van Holland' (The Most Beautiful Swimsuit of Hoek van Holland) contest. The exhibition will remain open until 29 September.

A glimpse into Rotterdam's heritage

The displayed historical swimwear from Museum Rotterdam's collection, both handcrafted and machine-made, offers a glimpse into Rotterdam's rich heritage. Alongside these, entries for the 'Het mooiste zwempak van Hoek van Holland' contest will be showcased. Visitors are encouraged to cast their votes, and at the exhibition's conclusion, an expert jury will announce the winner.

Rotterdam's unique swimwear exhibition: Breiwerk in de Branding. Photo credit: Marijke GipsRotterdam's unique swimwear exhibition: Breiwerk in de Branding. Photo credit: Marijke Gips

Truly Rotterdam heritage

While Hoek van Holland retains its unique village charm, it is also a district of Rotterdam and thus participates in the Truly Rotterdam Heritage initiative. The Hoek van Holland recreation area has been designated as Truly Rotterdam Heritage, a joint collection by Museum Rotterdam and the Stichting Wijkcollectie Foundation. This new heritage initiative links present-day objects with those from the past. In the museum's collection, swimsuits over a hundred years old were discovered, as well as knitting patterns for swimwear.

Crafting creativity

These discoveries inspired the 'Het mooiste zwempak van Hoek van Holland' contest, motivating locals to craft their swimsuits. The submitted works, along with the historical swimwear, have been incorporated into 'Breiwerk in de Branding'. As part of the exhibition's theme, three workshops will be organized at Huis van de Wijk 'De Hoekstee', led by artists and craftsmen from Hoek van Holland.

How to get there

Directions to the event

Huis van de Wijk 'De Hoekstee' is situated in a lively part of Rotterdam, easily accessible by public transport.

BRUTUS presents Petromelancholia: Exploring the post-oil world

BRUTUS presents Petromelancholia: Exploring the post-oil world

A profound exploration of the post-oil era, “Petromelancholia,” is set to open at Rotterdam's BRUTUS Art Space on 2nd September. The exhibition, curated by Alexander Klose, will delve into the profound implications of a life beyond oil, a concept that many have yet to fully grasp.

Exhibition overview

The exhibition, running until 19th November, will not focus on the doom and gloom often associated with climate change. Instead, it will reflect on the legacy of the oil era and the inevitable new meaning this past will take on. The exhibition will feature existing and new installations, video works, sculptures, and other pieces from artists worldwide, including Monira Al Qadiri, Yuri Ancarani, Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck, Kevin van Braak and Ipeh Nur, Diann Bauer, Tanja Engelberts, Christoph Girardet, Rumiko Hagiwara, Aaditi Joshi, Alain Resnais, Sanaz Sohrabi, and Rachel Youn.

A cultural and mental revolution

“Petromelancholia” (Petromelancholie) acknowledges that the energy transition is more than just a switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. It signifies a departure from the petro-modernist era, which will not only mean bidding farewell to oil but also to aspects of the culture that oil made possible. This shift will bring about a cultural and mental revolution that will drastically alter our lives, thoughts, and imaginations.

BRUTUS presents Petromelancholia: Exploring the post-oil worldBRUTUS presents Petromelancholia: Exploring the post-oil world

Diverse perspectives

The exhibition will present diverse perspectives on this complex phenomenon. It will feature 30 contemporary artists from various cultural backgrounds and generations, each offering unique insights into the implications of the energy transition. The artists will explore themes such as the petrochemical corridor in the Mississippi Delta, Shell's Indonesian past, the energy transition's “clash of elements,” industrial aesthetics nostalgia around oil rigs, OPEC's utopian union of non-western oil states at its inception, and the oil industry's portrayal in film.

Location in the harbour

BRUTUS, located in the Rotterdam harbour, is the ideal venue for “Petromelancholia.” Few places will feel the impact of the energy transition more than here, making it the perfect spot for critical self-reflection, tinged with a healthy dose of melancholy and nostalgia.


BRUTUS Art Space is located at Keileweg 10-18, in the transformative creative harbour area. This former harbour complex houses various large and small industrial exhibition spaces, the BRUTUS Lab with a residency and various workspaces, and the free-to-access BRUTUS Garden sculpture garden, among other features.

Diverse embroidery collection on display at Wereldmuseum Rotterdam

Diverse embroidery collection on display at Wereldmuseum Rotterdam

ROTTERDAM, 2 May 2023 – The Wereldmuseum Rotterdam presents the captivating “Geen woorden maar draden” exhibition, opening June 8th, exploring the diverse world of embroidery and its numerous meanings across cultures. The exhibition closes on October 22nd, 2023. 

Embroidery as a universal language

“Geen woorden maar draden” (No Words, Just Threads) showcases around 200 embroidered works, 170 of which are part of the museum's extensive collection. The exhibition demonstrates the versatility of embroidery as a form of decoration, cultural expression, storytelling, and identity representation, while highlighting the often-unknown creators behind these intricate works.

The resurgence of handcrafts

The exhibition reflects recent societal developments, as people have rediscovered handcrafts as a meaningful activity and part of slow living, encouraging a more attentive life in the present. The museum's collection serves as a source of inspiration, evoking admiration for the technical ingenuity applied in creating the showcased works.

Stories told through stitches

The displayed works include an embroidered cloth depicting Rotterdam during World War II, and a selection of Chilean arpilleras created during Pinochet's dictatorship (1973-1990) to address social, economic, and political issues. Contemporary artists, such as Dutch Alexandra Drenth and Indian Rucha Kulkarni, also utilise embroidery techniques to convey thought-provoking messages.

Iran, 1850, Wereldmuseum collectionIran, 1850, Wereldmuseum collection

The creators and their environment

Embroidery requires only basic tools: a needle, thread, and a piece of fabric. However, the exhibition demonstrates the endless variations possible, as people utilise available materials like leather, plastic, and tree bark, or porcupine quills and hair for stitching. Motifs often derive from the creator's surroundings, nature, or cultural traditions, and are constantly influenced and revised by various factors.

The people behind the embroidery

The skilled hands that carefully place each stitch often belong to women whose names remain unknown. With incredible skill and creativity, they embroider to beautify the world, express themselves, and share stories that should not be forgotten. “Geen woorden maar draden” highlights the love, patience, and resilience behind these impressive works, proving that this art form remains alive and relevant across time.

Visiting the exhibition

Find your way to the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam at Willemskade 25, 3016 DM Rotterdam. The museum is situated in a lively area near the Erasmus Bridge and offers a unique cultural experience.

Shimmering Land: exploring Crimea's cultural legacy

Shimmering Land: exploring Crimea's cultural legacy

Rotterdam-based non-profit art gallery Chrysalid is set to host a compelling exhibition, “Shimmering Land,” featuring the works of Crimean artists Natalia Grezina and Anton Yermolov.

Exhibition Overview

Shimmering Land presents a collaboration between the Crimean artists Natalia Grezina and Anton Yermolov, together with curator Marth van Loeben. The project explores the lost legacy of Crimean culture. The exhibition will open on 29 April 2023 and will be accessible to the public until mid-September 2023.

The Crimean Context

The Allard Pierson Museum's exhibition “De Krim: Goud en geheimen van de Zwarte Zee” (“Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea”) closed shortly after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian government, causing historical artefacts to become the centre of a heated legal battle. The people of Crimea have since been deprived of a significant part of their historical past and have not had the opportunity to reconnect with their heritage.

Questions raised by Shimmering Land

The exhibition poses challenging and unsettling questions: To whom do these artefacts belong from an ethical standpoint? If the artefacts are now destined to remain hidden from public view, would it not be more appropriate to return them to the graves from which they were found and to their rightful owners in the afterlife?

Exhibition components

Shimmering Land will consist of a two-room installation featuring both sculptural objects and digital artworks directly referencing the Scythian Gold collection. The reinterpreted artefacts will be given a new form and context within the exhibition, immersing the viewer in a storage-like space where the artefacts currently reside, waiting for decisions about their future.

Shimmering Land exhibition at Chrysalid Gallery in RotterdamShimmering Land exhibition at Chrysalid Gallery in Rotterdam

Discussion on the meaning of the past

The exhibition also aims to initiate a conversation about the significance of the past and its symbols, their contemporary impact, and the “ghost” status of disputed territories and their heritage, with the identity and lives of those connected to them remaining uncertain.

Directions and Location

The Chrysalid Art Gallery is located in the heart of Rotterdam, easily accessible by public transportation. The area is surrounded by a variety of shops, cafés, and restaurants.


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