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Sculptures were positioned on plinths made out of the same concrete masonry blocks as the pavilion walls. This created a sense of homogeneity rendering the architecture and its ‘inhabitants’ – the artworks – as one coherent installation or environment so to speak. A few plinths were left empty, as an invitation to visitors to take a seat themselves.

The scenography aimed to create the experience of an almost spontaneous encounter with the artworks on display. This was not only communicated through the spatial typology of streets, alleys and small piazzas, but it was also crucially achieved by a relatively high density of artworks gathered together in the narrow spaces which forced one to walk by the sculptures in close proximity. A drawing by Van Eyck shows room for up to 73 sculptures in and around the pavilion. Next to a range of contemporary works, among others by artist-friends of Van Eyck, such as Visser, Tajiri and Constant, there are also representatives of an older generation of avant-garde artists such as Arp, Noguchi and Giacometti. A special place was reserved for Brancusi: Sleeping Muse was encased in a transparent, circu- lar Perspex case set in a window in the concrete brick wall.

In 2006, the pavilion was reconstructed in the outdoor sculp- ture park of the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, just north of Arnhem. The roof was however materialised more durably. Whereas the historical pavilion had an improvised roof of translucent polyester sheets which acted as a velum protect- ing the interior spaces from direct sunlight, the contemporary version has a transparent covering fixed onto a galvanised steel structure.

Text Dirk van den Heuvel. First published in the catalogue accompanying the Art on Display exhibition.

Penelope Curtis, Dirk van den Heuvel
jo taillieu architecten
Goda Budvytyte
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
LEVS architecten, WDJARCHITECTEN, Hubert-Jan Henket

Art on Display 1949-69 is part of a series of exhibitions consisting of 1:1 models that focus on the specific qualities of the interior at the intersection of architecture and design.