Het Mauritshuis: Shifting Image – In Search of Johan Maurits
Change of perspective
Together with the Mauritshuis we created the concept for the new exhibition Shifting Image – In Search of Johan Maurits, on display from April 4 to July 7 2019 at the Mauritshuis. OPERA Amsterdam created the design, and Studio Louter also produced two projections and two interactive items.
The exhibition examines the perceptions of Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen (1604-1679) and his role in the Dutch colony in Brazil in the seventeenth century. Works from the Mauritshuis collection reflect on the museum’s builder and his history from various perspectives. The visitor experiences that there is not just one story and that history is subject to time and perspective.
At the beginning of 2018, a public discussion about colonialism and heritage exploded when the museum removed the replica of Johan Maurits’ bust from the foyer. A wall consisting of dozens of busts by Johan Maurits with projections depicts the recent riot. A house made out of sugar refers to the museum’s unambiguous nickname, the ‘sugar house’, which is said to have been built from the earnings of the sugar plantations. Through new descriptions of the exhibited objects, contemporary writers offer a new perspective on the collection of the Mauritshuis. A large projection wall shows biographical facts about Johan Maurits and his role in Dutch-Brazil. The amount of facts and perspectives challenges the visitor to form their own image and opinion.
The exhibition is the starting point of a scientific in-depth study in which the museum researches Johan Maurits’ role in Dutch-Brazil. Visitors can contribute to this research by indicating on a tablet which research questions they consider important.
“The Mauritshuis couldn’t have picked a better moment for this exhibition.”
Lotfi El Hamidi, NRC, 3 april 2019.