Ekstasis. A universe of light and sound

15 July 2023 to 14 January 2024

From stunning installations to subtle shadows, Ekstasis will transform the museum into a pleasure garden for the senses. The exhibition Ekstasis. A Universe of Light and Sound, curated by art historian and curator Sanneke Huisman and contemporary artist Nick Verstand, features works by Heleen Blanken, Casimir Geelhoed, Mariska de Groot, Nazif Lopulissa, Jan van Munster, Anni Nöps, Jan Schoonhoven and Nick Verstand, among others.

Discover the unknown
Ekstasis is the ancient Greek word for ‘being outside oneself’ or ‘transcending the mundane’. Artists understand better than anyone that art is a means of escaping reality. The Ekstasis exhibition reveals how they use the latest devices and tools to evoke a temporary, different reality – and how this changes from one era to the next. What do you want to escape? And how do you do that? Sanneke Huisman and Nick Verstand present four installations by contemporary makers that offer possible answers to these questions. They are juxtaposed with works from the museum’s collection, most of which date from the 1960s and 1970s.

New worlds and laws
Many artists of the 1960s and 1970s, including those of the Zero movement and early light artists, used everyday materials to engage the visitor physically and spiritually. Take Jan Schoonhoven’s abstract work, for example, which seems to move through the interplay of light and shadow as the viewer’s position changes. In today’s technological society, artists have new tools at their disposal. Their approach is also more holistic, creating new worlds where different laws apply. Locomotion – Paynes grey (2021) by Nazif Lopulissa is a staggered, swirling mass frozen in time. The artist challenges visitors to unravel the logic behind this impressive painting.

Nazif Lopulissa, Locomotion, Paynes grey, 2021, acrylic on canvas. From the collection of the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, acquired with support from the Mondriaan Fund

Jan Schoonhoven, R 71-20, 1971. Donation from the Stichting Altena Boswinkel Collectie, Rijssen, 1999. c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2019

Movement, introspection and sound
The exhibition uses light, sound and movement to stimulate all the senses. In a new spatial installation, Heleen Blanken draws the visitor into a modern ritual; the piece evokes the effect of a collective meditation. She conjures up a new landscape in the museum where humans, nature and technology converge. Sound is often a neglected element in the spatial experience. In the attic of the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, visitors might also bump into artists Anni Nöps and Casimir Geelhoed. As artists in residence, they have been invited to develop and ‘play’ a spatial sound installation for the duration of the exhibition.


Heleen Blanken, ABIOSIS, 2022. Installatie Floriade Expo 2022, Museumpaviljoen M. Fotograaf: Dammes Kieft

New Art programme
The exhibition is part of the museum’s experimental New Art programme, which aims to broaden our view on contemporary art. One way we do this is by creating space for collaborations with new networks that have emerged from popular culture and/or non-Western art traditions.