Exhibition of Contemporary Art at the Mauritshuis Museum

Monday, April 18, 2016
Exhibition of Contemporary Art at the Mauritshuis Museum

The Mauritshuis in The Hague will reveal another side to its character in the summer of 2016. From June to September 2016 it will host an exhibition which reveals not the fronts of world famous paintings, like Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Van Gogh’s Starry Night or Vermeer's The Girl with a Pearl Earring, but their backs.

Exhibition of Contemporary Art at the Mauritshuis Museum

The Mauritshuis in The Hague will reveal another side to its character in the summer of 2016. From June to September 2016 it will host an exhibition which reveals not the fronts of world famous paintings, like Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Van Gogh’s Starry Night or Vermeer's The Girl with a Pearl Earring, but their backs. For this exhibition, celebrated Brazilian artist Vik Muniz has created a total of five new works based on paintings in the Mauritshuis collection to augment his existing Verso series. This will be the first exhibition of contemporary art In the history of the Mauritshuis.

Vik Muniz began photographing the backs of famous paintings in 2002. In his book Reflex (2005) he expressed a desire to make life-size prints of the photographs and exhibit them. His first, meticulous, 3D copies of the reverse sides were made in 2008. He called them 'Versos', perfect imitations of the side that normally faces the wall.

For Muniz, the back of every painting is unique; the holes, the metal brackets, the labels and all the other markings it acquires tell the story of its past. As the years go by the back of a painting changes. New owners make their mark. The latest processes leave an imprint. The back reveals the materials from which the painting is made - stretchers, canvas or panel - and shows details of the frame and any other safety measure taken while it was on display. It is only ever seen by the museum staff. And it is this, the more intimate side of a famous masterpiece, that Muniz seeks to share with the visitor.

Vik Muniz
Verso (Starry Night), 2008
mixed media, 74 x 92 cm

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Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

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