Rooms of Now

Maurice van Es

Publication, Work



Van Es uses photography as a means to hold on to memories. He captures situations in a house that we normally do not pay attention to. A worn door knob, a football poster in an old children's room, a pile of clean laundry, a pattern in a bed sheet. Once recorded and collected in a book, these trivialities become valuable because they capture the presence of the people who are or were living there.

The artist started the project in 2012 and has since photographed more than 25 houses. On request of writer Arnon Grunberg, he photographed the house of his recently deceased mother.

What started to stand out in the houses I took pictures of, were all these different kinds of inventive solutions to problems. DIY inventions to make life at home a little easier. What I also find interesting about such still lifes, is that they refer to an action outside the picture. The photograph is then an entrance to the concentration, thought and action of the person.

– Maurice van Es

This artwork takes the form of a publication in a very limited edition. One copy is in the collection of Anja de Groene en Dick Anbeek and the other is housed in the Vleeshal Collection.

Published as part of


Rooms of Now is a project series in which an (inter)national artist is invited to create an artistic intervention in people's homes, in Middelburg. The title is borrowed from a photography project from the artist Maurice van Es, who realised the first edition of Rooms of Now. The series took place from 2019-2022.

Rooms of Now is the follow up of the public program So You Don't Get Lost in the Neighborhood.

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, with the working title Museum IX/13.

The collection concerns two blocks, on the one hand national and local art from the BKR scheme (the abbreviation BKR refers to the Dutch Artist Subsidy Scheme, unique in the world, which from 1949 until 1987 provided artists with a (temporary) income in exchange for artworks or other artistic compensations). On the other hand a start to a radically international collection of contemporary art, with a few large ensembles by a limited number of artists (including Jimmie Durham, Nedko Solakov, Suchan Kinoshita, Cameron Jamie, Pippilotti Rist and Job Koelewijn), but too few to be able to have a real impact without further collection development. The city of Middelburg decided not to build this museum and not to continue the collection. The impetus of developing a collection had thus lost its possible context and visibility and encumbered Vleeshal, for whom the collection had become a storage cost and management issue.

Given the close historical ties between Middelburg and Antwerp, M HKA's collection profile and the fact that Bart De Baere was a member of the advisory committee in the composition of the Vleeshal collection, it was given to M HKA on long-term loan. M HKA gave this collection a public existence by valorizing the artworks in its collection exhibition policy.

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.