• Abrasive Paradise
  • 2022-02-05T00:00:00+01:00
  • 2022-08-14T23:59:59+02:00
  • In 2022 Kunsthal KAdE presents the exhibition 'Abrasive Paradise', in which twelve contemporary artists are invited to reflect upon the utopian ideal of a makeable world, within a world that turns out to be anything but makeable.
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In 2022, it will be 150 years since Piet Mondriaan was born in Amersfoort. The starting point for the exhibition 'Abrasive Paradise' is his search for an 'Earthly Paradise': a modernist dream to build a perfect world based on form and style, in which people strive freely for the true, good and beautiful.

Mondriaan more or less succeeded in realising his paradise, in both his art and in his studios. In his personal quest for his ideal, Mondriaan left the natural behind and replaced it with a constructed order.

In contemporary art, the ideal an engineered world seems to have faded into the background. Instead, there is reflection on the world and society. One hundred years after Mondriaan's dream, our world seems anything but a paradise. Climate change, environmental pollution, viruses and mutual tension are palpable threats. Instead of conjuring up a utopia to be striven for, artists attempt to analyse the present state of affairs. By means of an experience they aim to draw the viewer's attention to the reality in which we live. Does it still make sense to dream about an 'Earthly Paradise'? 

Twelve contemporary artists have been invited by Kunsthal KAdE to fill a space with their view on today's chaotic world.

Michael Raedecker, cast, 2020, courtesy Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam  

Paradoxical paradizes

The 'paradise' in Kunsthal KAdE starts in the main hall, which is filled with a street garden designed by LOLA Landscape Architects that literally bursts out of the paving stones. With this garden, the design agency explores the way in which nature, as an unstoppable force, reclaims the city. A selection of existing paintings is displayed on the walls of the main hall: different kinds of paradoxical paradises.

Tanja Smeets, Liquid Garden/Beneath the surface, 2020, installatie in het HEM, Zaandam 

In the cabinets the artists explore the contradictions that the theme of 'paradise' evokes: manufacturability versus harsh reality, nature in its pristine or degraded form, eternity versus transience.

Like the sculptures by Tanja Smeets, large sculptures that grow along walls into the space. These organic sculptures form a plant-like world, which Smeets then places in an unnatural environment. Another cabinet is filled in by Anne Duk Hee Jordan, who with a combination of sculptural, botanical and technological elements creates an installation that shows a changing and transient world. The creative studio MAISON the FAUX also creates a very alienating, abundant landscape, exploring the boundaries between what is real and unreal.

Alexandra Kehayoglou, Santa Cruz River, 2016-2017, installatie NGV International, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Endangered worlds

The work of Alexandra Kehayoglou connects us to disappearing landscapes. In the form of enormous tapestries, the artist depicts pieces of nature that are threatened by humans and presents them in their pure, unspoilt form. Kehayoglou's carpets are her form of activism; by focusing on stories and details within nature, the artist hopes to create greater ecological awareness.

Marcel Pinas also brings endangered environments and cultures to the foreground with his installations. The Surinamese Ndyuká culture, from which he is descended, is an important theme in his work. Pinas aims to encourage people to appreciate and to preserve the knowledge and skills of this culture.

Digital transformations

Artist Philip Vermeulen works with moving panels with which he creates a moiré effect. With his installation in Kunsthal KAdE, he wants the viewer to become aware of his own material existence, a fact that in a time in which we often find ourselves in digital worlds, sometimes seems to be forgotten. In his work, Vermeulen investigates the tension between these two opposites, the physical and the digital. 

Paul Morrison, Dandelion, 2019, courtesy de kunstenaar

IIdyllic places

In the setting of a wall painting by Paul Morrison, a special cabinet shows the historical representation of paradise from various cultures. In this room, Morrison questions what it means to want to create an idyllic world, as Mondrian did, and what this desire conceals. The prints on display show the representation of paradise from different cultural perspectives.

Along the stairs and in the corridor, Hadassah Emmerich designs the walls. Emmerich creates brightly coloured, lavish murals, blending landscape and body to create overwhelming compositions. In the film cabinet, the film 'Xilitla' by Melanie Smith will be shown. In this film, Smith examines with a contemporary eye 'Las Pozas': a surreal, decadent garden in the jungle of Mexico that was realised between 1949 and 1984 by the English art lover Edward James.


For the first time, a second location will be used for the exhibition. In the Elleboogkerk, on the Langegracht in Amersfoort, Gijs Frieling will design a mural in which he examines human nature in an increasingly technological society. Artist duo Sander Breure and Witte van Hulzen will create an installation in the heart of the church with figures that are connected by sound.


Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen, Hadassah Emmerich, Gijs Frieling, Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Alexandra Kehayoglou, LOLA Landscape Architects, MAISON the FAUX, Paul Morrison, Marcel Pinas, Tanja Smeets, Philip Vermeulen, Melanie Smith.

Armando, Sebastiaan Bremer, Sanam Khatibi, Maria Klabin, Friedrich Kunath, Simphiwe Ndzube, Erwin Olaf, Olphaert den Otter, Michael Raedecker, Marina Rheingantz, Rinus Van de Velde, Matthew Wong. 

The exhibition was curated by Robbert Roos, Lara Stolwerk and Judith van Meeuwen in cooperation with the artists.       

And the human being? He must not be of himself, but only part of the whole. Once he no longer feels his individuality, he will be happy in the earthly paradise he has created. (Piet Mondriaan, Paris, 1926)

'Abrasive Paradise' is part of Mondriaan 150.

The exhibition was made possible in part by the Mondriaan Fund, Fonds 21, the municipality of Amersfoort and the province of Utrecht.