Spiritual Urgency*

*step into different realities.

26 November - 10 April 2023

Young pioneers of the creative world are increasingly embracing the concept of spirituality. These young artists, who refuse to be pigeonholed, celebrate and share the value of spirituality in their own, unique way. The Spiritual Urgency exhibition shines a spotlight on spirituality – what is it exactly, and what does it mean? – and invites you to take the leap and join the artists on an all-consuming journey through the museum. The exhibition opens at Stedelijk Museum Schiedam on 26 November and will run until 10 April 2023. 

Asma Elbadawi, Where the blue and white Nile meet, 2021 / Sophie Steengracht, Moon, various botanical inks and dried flowers on paper, 2020

Artists and creators as spiritual guides
Stedelijk Museum Schiedam is giving a platform to today’s most cutting edge, cross-disciplinary creators, from Nick Verstand, Jennifer Tee, and Memo Akten to Marlou Fernanda, Tim Wes, Shertise Solano, and Asma Elbadawi. The selection also features artistic productions of labels such as Daily Paper, in collaboration with the artist Alexandre Nitzsche. These pioneering works are presented alongside the works of kindred spirits from art history, such as herman de vries, Wassily Kandinsky, Jacoba van Heemskerck, and Charley Toorop. Visitors will be left in no doubt that, throughout the ages, artists have always played the role of spiritual guide. Although each artist draws on different personal, cultural, or religious influences, the exhibition is not about these differences – it is about that which unites them: the urgency of spirituality. 

Shertise Solano, Meditation on Memory (videostill), 2022

A spiritual journey
The exhibition guides you through the stages of a spiritual journey on the basis of four themes. And in these four themes, you will be transported to a different reality. You will meet the ‘Contemporary priests’, interdisciplinary creators who harness the power of creativity to spark mystical experiences and open the door to other worlds. The ‘Healing and Origins’ theme features artists whose work explores the process of healing by probing ancestral lines or confronting intergenerational pain or obstructions. In ‘Liberation and Manifestation’, you will explore the positives of this healing – and even discover that pain can transform into something beautiful. This room is all about embracing diversity, individuality, and personal freedoms. And in the fourth and final theme, ‘Nature and Holism’, various artists introduce us to a holistic mindset – they use their work to expose a spiritual connection with nature. After all, we are all connected as part of a greater, divine creation.

New Art
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. 

Nick Verstand in collaboration with wiwo.studio, onformative & Salvador Breed, ANIMA

Spiritual Urgency has been curated by Eliza Bordeaux of Stedelijk Museum Schiedam in collaboration with a team of external co-curators: Cathelijne Blok & Imaan van der Zwan (TittyMag), Qasim Arif (ILLM), and André Marques & Tim Wes (Together & Dedicated & (MuseumParX)).

“Artists are skilled at expressing and visualising the invisible and the intangible through their creativity. These works of art demonstrate just how relevant – even necessary – spirituality is.” – Eliza Bordeaux, curator of Spiritual Urgency.

Eliza Bordeaux
Spiritual Urgency has been curated by Eliza Bordeaux of Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, with input from various co-curators, her own personal research, and the museum’s knowledge of art history. Eliza Bordeaux is trained as an art photographer and is affiliated with the museum as curator of the New Art programme. For Spiritual Urgency, she collaborated with a team of external co-curators, each representing their own community.

Qasim Arif
Qasim Arif is a contemporary calligrapher, merging traditional Arabic calligraphy with influences from contemporary hip-hop and graffiti culture. He also specializes in branding, graphic design, and art direction, and works for various brands.

Cathelijne Blok and Imaan van der Zwan
Owners and founders of the creative agency and art platform TittyMag, which is dedicated to providing a space for art by women and other underrepresented groups. Under the TittyMag label, they publish articles, make podcasts, scout for talent, and organize events that explore the boundaries between visual arts, fashion, and feminism.

André Marques and Tim Wes
As founders of the production house Together & Dedicated and (Museum)ParX, the Rotterdam-based cultural entrepreneurs and makers are committed to forging connections between today’s creatives and providing an outlet for new sounds. They develop creative campaigns for fashion, cultural institutions, and music. They also organize events, exhibitions, and performances.

Participating artists
Asma Elbadawi, Alexander Nitzsche Cysne for Daily Paper, Alice Anderson, Alix Marie, Charley Toorop, Dennis Rudolph, Dr Mehmet Refii Kileci, Frans Stamkart, herman de vries, Johan Miedema, Jacoba van Heemskerck, Jennifer Tee, Jerrold Saija, Juhee Han, Kevin Osepa, Lotti van der Gaag, Marlou Fernanda, Naaz, Mastoor, Memo Akten, Nick Verstand, Sedrig Vervoert, Shertise Solano, Sophie Steengracht, Tim Wes, Tomáš Libertíny, Wassily Kandinsky, Yamuna Forzani, Yves Klein.

Thanks to
Schiedam Municipality, Ministery of Education, Culture, and Science (OCW).