Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, 1980s Today's Beginnings

Me at the Van Abbe Museum where the video featuring this image is being shown at the 1980s, Today’s Beginnings exhibition:

The 1980s. Today’s Beginnings?

This show explores the long 1980s from six European perspectives, examining the relevance of this transformative decade for today. This collaborative project comprises a diverse mix of artworks, music, TV, graphic and archival material, exploring a wide set of socio-political themes through the lens of culture. The different presentations and mediation programme present cultural production that took place against the mainstream, examining its role in moments of state structures in transformation. Culture was central in responding to or predicting deep societal shifts. As Europe is in the midst of a defining transition in terms of how it sees itself and its relationship to others, it is urgent to examine key moments in identity formation and self-organisation from the recent past.

1980s developments

The material presented draws from projects carried out by partners of the museum confederation L’Internationale alongside research undertaken by curators at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. Highlighting the reorientation between civil society and the state during the decade, this project aims to show the significance of developments in the 1980s for society today.

Talking Back. Counter Culture in the Netherlands
16.04 – 25.09.2016
Curator: Diana Franssen, Van Abbemuseum.

Talking Back examines Dutch counter culture in the 1980s through the squatters movement and their cultural spin-offs in artists initiatives with alternative attitudes to the art world. A group of artists increasingly employed video, sound and photography to subvert mass-media’s ‘manipulative’ patterns of representation. Other countercultural movements looked at the position of women and their role in these alternative networks, and activist groups. Though radical in the beginning, these micro histories also show the shift from an open-minded society to a more individual, closed society.


Catrien Ariëns, Hans Breder, Daniel Brun, Miguel-Ángel Cárdenas, Ulises Carrión, René Daniëls, DEDO-Harry Heyink, Sandra Derks, Jaap Drupsteen, David Garcia & Annie Wright, General Idea, Heiner Holtappels, Patricia Kaersenhout, Jouke Kleerebezem, Bertien van Manen, Raul Marroquin, Mariano Maturana, Joost Seelen, Servaas, Rob Scholte, Lydia Schouten, Sluik/Kurpershoek, Stansfield/Hooykaas, Moniek Toebosch.