NESHAN, The Iranian Graphic Design Magazine

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Neshan 41


What do images do to us? The story of the first graphic design museum

Pegah Ahmadi

The exhibition was called Waanzien. It guided visitors through the chapters of visual culture and uncovered some of today's media delusions. Subjects included: "How do you spot text and image tricks such as spindocters, subvertisers and neuromarketeers?” and “How is your brain fooling you?” In other words, how do you make the world of images yours, and not the other way around? This exhibition made the audience look differently at images. The exhibition was held at MOTI, the Museum of the Image in the Boschstraat in Breda (known as the museum of image culture).

In April of 2008, the museum received an international name — Graphic Design Museum. As of December 9, 2011, the name was officially changed to Museum of the Image. As Museum of the Image, MOTI helped foster rich and powerful meaning surrounding the relatively new concept of image culture by creating connections and context between (the history of) image and new technological developments. The museum studied and stimulated the developments in image culture and the resulting cross-sectoral collaboration between design, architecture, visual arts, fashion and e-culture. What do we do to images and what do images do to us? This is the question that MOTI suggested. The museum was not an elite white cube, but rather a welcoming, challenging and accessible place that focussed on the world of experience for modern people — constantly switching between an analogue and digital habitat.

MOTI had a large collection of objects that illustrate what images can communicate. The collection consisted of different objects from different designers and artists. MOTI possessed work from the first generation of graphic designers like Piet Zwart, Wim Crouwel, Anton Beeke, Otto Treumann and Willem Sandberg.  Contemporary artists were also represented in the museum collection, like Rosa Menkman, Geoffrey Lillemon, Broersen & Lukacs, Floris Kaayk, Metahaven, Moniker, Raphael Rozendaal, Bas Kosters, Erik Kessels and Stefan Sagmeister.

MOTI was lifted on January 1, 2017. In the building, a new museum called the Stedelijk Museum Breda opened in 2017. MOTI initiated the collaboration with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam as a cultural institution with a strong reputation and immense public reach. In a time where museums are increasingly expected to show artistic distinctiveness and to operate as cultural enterprises, collaboration at the national level is an obvious step. With this joint acquisition, the two museums seek to enhance the visibility of digital art for the general public, and to give digital art a permanent place in the national art collection, Collectie Nederland.

Stedelijk Museum-BREDA
Stedelijk Museum Breda is the museum of heritage and history of the city of Breda and for contemporary image culture. The museum is derived from Breda's Museum and MOTI, Museum of the Image.

The history of Breda’s Museum dates back to 1903, when the first municipal museum was founded. Since then, a rich and varied collection has been built, aimed at developments in and around the city. In addition, collections have been formed on topics such as religion, the army and industry. The museum also has an extensive visual art collection and collections of graphic design and digital image culture.
Stedelijk Museum Breda manages the following collections:
    •    Collection of the Armkinderhuys Foundation and the Army Weeshuys of the Church
    •    Collection Jean Bergé
    •    Collection Stichting Bisschoppelijk Museum
    •    Collection of the city of Breda
    •    Collection of Hamers Ice Cream Foundation
    •    Collection Inbev Nederland BV
    •    Collection of the Niels Steenbergen Foundation
    •    Collection Association Friends Stedelijk Museum Breda
    •    Collection of MOTI

In compiling this joint acquisition, the two curators Ward Janssen (MOTI) and Bart Rutten (Stedelijk Museum) specifically sought to acquire art works that examine the changing role of visual idiom in the internet era, as an art work on the internet or as a critical response to the computerization of society. To preserve and present the digital art works, the two museums will jointly develop a policy to manage the digital material in the best possible way for the future. This is a challenge faced by museums around the world. The museums will work with organizations including LIMA, an international platform for media art and specialized in the preservation of digital art works.

Stedelijk Museum Breda is an attractive and inviting city museum open to ideas, dialogue and cooperation. It brings to life the city's history and makes unique exhibitions about history and contemporary image culture. Current exhibitions are as follows:

Wonderful fabric
The opening exhibition “Wonderful fabric” connects eighteenth century religious art with contemporary digital art. The divine eighteenth-century kazuids and relics are mirrored by the influence of big data and algorithms. The Flemish photographer and artist Frederik Heyman realized a full-size high-tech installation called Stratum for the exhibition.

From castle to station
In the permanent exhibition “From castle to station”, objects and works of art from the Breda Collection are documented that bridge four centuries. Examples include the oldest cityscape of Breda, the triplet about Dio Rovers 'The Flight' of 1940, and precious monsters. These works tell the story of Breda from the Middle Ages to the present.

The Peace of Breda
350 years ago, the Peace of Breda was signed. The eyes of the world were aimed at Breda in the summer of 1667. In the city, the great powers of that time — England, France and the Republic — negotiated for peace over six weeks. However, it was about more than peace alone. Trade, power at sea and colonies were all at stake. In this exhibit, visitors discover what the treaty involved, why the negotiations were in Breda, and what the famous had to do with it. The new prints of Romeyn de Hooghe are central to the storytelling. His prints made the news about the successful negotiations spread among the population. Four cartoonists and artists have re-colored the old prints especially for the exhibition, as no color printing was possible in the seventeenth century. Therefore, prints and maps were colored by so-called 'shippers'.

Pegah Ahmadi

is an Iranian multidisciplinary designer based in Chicago. She not only has explored the boundaries of various disciplines in design but also that of several countries. Shortly after she started her professional life as a furniture designer in 2005 she began teaching design foundation at university of applied science and technology in Tehran. In 2011 she taught a poster workshop in Baskent university in Turkey where she had a chance to explore cultural differences and similarities in design. Currently Pegah works in Morningstar Inc. headquarter designing print an digital publications. Pegah has received her second master degree in graphic design from Basel school of design in Switzerland and her first master degree in industrial design from university of Art in Iran.

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