Liam Gillick, All-Imitate-Act

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

30 May – 23 June 2015

Solo exhibition

Liam Gillick, All-Imitate-Act (fragment), 2015.

For its 2015 edition the Holland Festival has, together with the Stedelijk Museum, invited British artist Liam Gillick to produce a new work on Amsterdam’s Museumplein. The Holland Festival, the leading international performing arts festival in the Netherlands, annually stages performances, concerts and events together with the Stedelijk Museum. This year, the festival and the museum will produce a work in the public space right in front of the museum. From May 30, visitors will be able to engage physically in the history of the Stedelijk Museum by participating in All-Imitate-Act.


Gillick is known for his art in the public domain. The meaning of his work is constantly redefined by the way the public use it. The title of All-Imitate-Act is based on a literal translation of the Greek origins of the word “pantomime”. The work consists of a series of large “head-in-the-hole” panels stretching right across the Museumplein. Instead of using typical fairground images, the figures that appear on the panels are derived from the graphic collection of the Stedelijk Museum. Using sources ranging from Malevich drawings to posters advertising hot chocolate - anyone who sticks their head through a hole becomes part of a work from the Stedelijk collection.


Many of the figures show costume designs by artists and designers from the early part of the twentieth century, thereby linking the performing arts of the festival with the collection of the museum. Anyone using the work will become a participant in the festival and complete a new work for the collection. The panels face away from the museum, framing the Stedelijk in the background. Because taking photographs is encouraged but selfies are impossible, Gillick also reflects on the selfie-culture of the present day.


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Liam Gillick (1964) studied fine art at Goldsmiths College, London and lives and works in New York. Gillick is part of the generation of artists who renewed the British art-scene in the late 80's. In the early 1990's he engaged with a group of artists outside of the UK and began a series of work that exposed the new ideological control systems that emerged at the interface of leisure, work and life. He exposed the dysfunctional aspects of the modernist legacy in works such as McNamara (1992 onwards), Erasmus is Late & Ibuka! (1995 onwards), Discussion Island/Big Conference Center (1997 onwards) and Construction of One (2005 onwards). Gillick has also produced a number of short films which address the construction of the contemporary artist as a cultural figure including Margin Time (2012), The Heavenly Lagoon (2013) and Hamilton: A Film by Liam Gillick (2014).


Gillick’s work has been a part of Documenta and the Biennales of Venice and Berlin. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Museum of Modern art in New York and Tate in London have hosted solo exhibitions of his work. His work is in numerous public collections including Tate, London; The Centre Pompidou in Paris; The Guggenheim Museum in New York and Bilbao; and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


We would also like to express ours thanks to the Albert Heijn Museumplein for contributing to the picnic.

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