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Jasper de Beijer

“Critical Mass”, Installation and Retrospective, at Museum Rijswijk
January 29 – April 18, 2022

Curated by Diana Wind

“Over the past 20 years I have scoured through countless layers of information and built diverse worlds – each coming to fruition through its own working process, palette and logic. Now that these worlds have reappeared, I see that they fit together much better than I would have thought. When we are in the middle of the hole, we are standing in the Netherlands, geographically speaking, and we are seeing the planet from this perspective. My tableaux are lifeless, they are only an echo of the verve, intelligence and madness they portray. They have been brought back to life from their shadows in order to interact with a new reality.

Just beyond the rim of the hole is actual reality, a life that we are unable to see. From deep in the hole we can only construct in our mind’s eye what is happening above and beyond. Or perhaps, whatever is happening above is just as relative as what’s happening in the dark below.” — Jasper de Beijer


Winner of the Agnes van den Brandeler Museum Prize
In 2019 the Agnes van den Brandeler Foundation invited several medium-sized museums in the Netherlands to submit proposals for exhibitions and accompanying publications that would highlight the work of a highly talented Dutch artist who has not had enough exposure in Dutch museums over the past years. The foundation chose the proposal by Museum Rijswijk for a retrospective exhibition of Jasper de Beijer’s work and the comprehensive publication on his oeuvre.

Jasper de Beijer
The world that Jasper de Beijer (Amsterdam, 1973) presents to us through his photographic works are fascinating, familiar and disconcerting all at the same time. His work is about the process of looking, seeing and interpreting. At first you think it’s a photograph of reality, but then you see it’s a photograph of a paper model. You are swept into a narrative that is more than a photograph. You need to respond in some way, but how? This is precisely the question the artist is asking us: Do you really know what you are seeing?

The subject matter in the photographs are painful histories we cannot not escape. Our colonial past, the Industrial Revolution, the First and Second World Wars – all have been examined from many angles and hold many versions of the truth, whether real or projected. What exactly is the truth? Can there be only one or can many truths coexist? Through his chosen process, De Beijer creates space for viewers to reflect via the medium of photography on the sensitive subjects he addresses.

Installation: Critical Mass
The installation Critical Mass, a site-specific work made especially for Museum Rijswijk, is a giant hole in the ground for us to descend into and wander through. It is a dark space and by using black light, all that remains visible is that which De Beijer wants us to see. The white of the paper is the only thing that lights up; the darkness is simply the absence of information. The artist has recreated some of the scenes he has made over the past 20 years. For some of these, he found the original concept drawings again, for most others he rebuilt them on the basis of the photographs he once took. By digging up these tableaux from the past, he was able to take an objective view of them and re-examine his chosen subjects and methods.

Photo series 2004 – 2021
In the exhibition there are 27 photo works from the series Buitenpost, The Devil Drives, Cahutchu, Le Sacre du Printemps, The Riveted Kingdom, Undongo, Marabunta, Wir Sind das Gedächtnis, Brazilian Suitcase and The Admiral’s Headache. The series were made between 2004 and 2021 and give a generous overview of his oeuvre up to this point.

Comprehensive publication
Accompanying the exhibition is a book published by Jap Sam Books. It covers the current installation and uses this as a springboard to present an overview of the artist’s productive oeuvre up to now.

Price: €29.50 (with MuseumCard discount: €25.00).

For more information and press photos, please contact Diana Wind, curator of contemporary art, mobile 0630388366 or

Herenstraat 67 | NL-2282 BR Rijswijk |

+31 (0)70 390 36 17

See more here.


Image: Jasper de Beijer, Critical Mass, installation detail, 2021-22, paper on cardboard and wood, canvas and black light, 8 x 3 x 5 m.