New exhibition about our eternal desire for more

Museum De Lakenhal seeks solutions for growth addiction with If Things Grow Wrong

On 15 October, Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden will launch the exhibition If Things Grow Wrong. Earlier this year, the museum launched an open call for makers in all disciplines to find creative solutions to a trend that affects us all: the eternal need for bigger, better and more.

Growth addiction

In today’s world, we constantly want faster, bigger and more. The question is whether this is always better, or whether it also causes us problems. From minor stress about not having enough storage space on your phone to global pollution... If things grow wrong, growing pains come in all shapes and sizes. The problems sometimes seem overwhelming; it helps to focus on possible solutions.

Makers from The Netherlands and abroad

This search for solutions is the reason for a new exhibition, which can be seen in Museum De Lakenhal from 15 October 2021 to 20 February 2022. In an open call, the museum invited national and international makers to submit their solutions for our collective addiction to growth. Jurors Eva Rovers, Raki Ap, Liesbeth Staats and Wytske Visser selected the best fifteen from almost five hundred submissions.

Fifteen solutions

From a box in which you can flee from all stimuli to a coffin that confronts you with your own mortality, from an installation that lets the polluted sea speak to us to the possibility of giving your own clothes a second life: you will find it all at If Things Grow Wrong. In the design of the exhibition, solutions for our addiction to growth were sought. As many materials as possible from previous exhibitions are reused. For example, for this exhibition, the panels from the Young Rembrandt exhibition, which took place at the end of 2019, have been sawn into text boards.

Positive approach

‘As jury members, we were very impressed by the creativity of the entrants,’ says jury member Liesbeth Staats. ‘When you walk outside, you’re made to think in fifteen new ways about our addiction to growth. This positive approach is central to the exhibition: we show what solutions art can offer if we want to tackle social challenges.’

Inspiring process

Setting up the exhibition called for a new working method, explains director Tanja Elstgeest. ‘It was quite exciting to hand over the reins, but in return we got an inspiring process. The intensive cooperation with artists, scientists and other creatives has broadened our view, both in content and in form.’

Walter van der Velden and Aart Kuipers, Future Fossils
Walter van der Velden and Aart Kuipers, Future Fossils Photo: Taco van der Eb

Non-selected entries

The museum was surprised by the large number of entries. They deserve to be shared. That is why the non-selected submissions can also be viewed online. The contributors who gave permission to share their work can be found on the exhibition’s website. In this way, their ideas will not be lost, but they can make direct contact with each other or with other partners to further develop their creative plans.

About Museum De Lakenhal

Museum De Lakenhal is Leiden’s museum of visual arts and history. Like the city, we combine a classic look with a contemporary and creative character. The broad collection ranges from highlights of ancient art with Lucas van Leyden’s Last Judgment and modern classics of De Stijl to artworks created by contemporary artists such as Claudy Jongstra, Atelier van Lieshout and many others.

Henri Affandi, Ibu Pertiwi (Motherland)
Henri Affandi, Ibu Pertiwi (Motherland) Photo: Taco van der Eb