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Grossmut begatte Mich

Pipilotti Rist

Solo exhibition

17 September – 2 October 2011
Vleeshal (Map)

Curator: Lorenzo Benedetti

Pipilotti Rist, 2011
Installation image | Grossmut begatte Mich | Pipilotti Rist

The Foundation for Visual Arts Middelburg / Vleeshal presents from its own collection, the work Grossmut begatte Mich by Pipilotti Rist. This work (previously shown in 2000) at the Vleeshal has been part of the collection SBKM / The Vleeshal since 1996 – the first institution to purchase work of Rist.

In Grossmut begatte Mich the Vleeshal turns into a projection screen. The typical Gothic niches and sculptures on the walls give relief to the projection. Grossmut begatte Mich (Generosity unites with me) is an earlier version of the video work Sip My Ocean (1996) by Pipilotti Rist. With this work, the artist used large screens instead of one or multiple monitors for the first time in her career, making work that blends into the architecture.

The images in Grossmut begatte Mich show a magical underwater world. At the artist herself sings the tune of Chris Isaac Wicked Game exchange paradise and chamois sweet lit display together. Surrounded by giant video projections drowning the spectator hurry along in the underwater world. Pipilotti Rist seems to encourage us to rock along on the love song. Over time, however, appear different household objects swirling slowly find their way to the bottom. A somewhat disconcerting feeling is aroused, but the idyllle maintained by the continued sway of the melancholic song. Until the moment when the adolescent singing turns into a hysterical frenzy, but quickly matured screaming "I do not wanna fall in love with you". The peaceful marine life is irreversibly impaired. The soft tune will be back but not as perfect as it was initially. The vehemence of Rist' screams continues to reverberate.

Pipilotti Rist creates the idea of a universally recognizable heartbreak, a former love of painful experiences and memories. Each individual is formed by it. They are simply the much needed building blocks for everyone's identity. The heartbreaking "I never thought I'd lose someone like you", alternates with the hopeful "I never tought I'd fall in love with someone like you". Rist shows a recognizable sadness, but also gives the feeling that you are not alone in the world.


Vleeshal is a unique center for contemporary art, not only because of its atypical exhibition space and exciting programming, but also because it has a collection. In the 1990s, under the impetus of then director Lex ter Braak, an ambitious collection of contemporary visual art was begun. This collection was intended for a newly envisioned museum in Middelburg, designed by Aldo and Hannie van Eyck. In 1995 it became clear that, unfortunately, there was insufficient political support for this museum. The impetus of collection building had therefore lost its possible context and visibility and encumbered Vleeshal. The collection had become a storage cost and management issue.

In 2005, the collection was given on a long-term loan to M HKA in Antwerp. M HKA was chosen because of the close historical ties between Middelburg and Antwerp, the museum's collection profile, and the fact that M HKA's director, Bart De Baere, was a member of the committee that purchased artworks for the yet-to-be-built museum in Middelburg in the 1990s.

The collection consists of two parts. One part includes national and local art from the BKR arrangement (the Dutch abbreviation BKR stands for Beeldende Kunstenaars Regeling, an arrangement, which from 1949 to 1987 provided artists with a temporary income in exchange for works of art or other artistic quid pro quo). The other part consists of artworks by international contemporary artists (including Jimmie Durham, Nedko Solakov, Suchan Kinoshita, Cameron Jamie, Pipilotti Rist, and Job Koelewijn).

There has been no active acquisition policy for years. The collection is expanded here and there with sporadic purchases and donations from artists who are part of the Vleeshal program.