21 Feb – Ed van der Elsken – Art and Artists

Ed van der Elsken produced iconic footage of Bewogen Beweging (Moving Movement) (1961) and Dylaby (1962), acclaimed exhibitions made by Stedelijk Museum director Sandberg in the final years of his career. An evening on art and artists’ documentaries with Margriet Schavemakers (Stedelijk Museum) and Rommy Albers (EYE).


To mark the tribute to photographer and filmmaker Ed van der Elsken in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, EYE on Art focuses on the art of the exhibition documentary and the artists’ portrait. Van der Elsken recorded the reactions of visitors to two now iconic exhibitions of the early sixties. He also filmed some of the participating artists (including Jean Tinguely) and Stedelijk Museum director Willem Sandberg.

Van der Elsken’s uncomplicated approach in expressive black-and-white vividly captures the artworks, the artists and the public and is still regarded as a model for documentary makers wanting to avoid a conservative and formal approach.

This edition of Eye on Art reflects on the backgrounds of the artists’ documentary, using van der Elsken’s portraits (and those by Karel Appel and Vali Meyers) and conversations. With introductions by Margriet Schavemaker (Manager Education, Interpretation and Publications, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam) and Rommy Albers, senior curator Dutch film at EYE Filmmuseum.

With special thanks to Anneke Hilhorst and Han Hogeland.


bewogen beweging (moving movement), Ed van der Elsken (NL 1961) 4′ An impression of the renowned exhibition Bewogen beweging (Moving Movement). The exhibition offered an international overview of kinetic (moving) art and included work by Jean Tinguely, Marcel Duchamp, Daniel Spoerri and Alexander Calder.

dylaby, Ed van der Elsken (NL 1962) 11′ Van der Elsken filmed visitors as they toured the exhibition Dylaby. Both children and adults are extremely outspoken in their appraisal of the extraordinary parade of functional objects. Van der Elsken also filmed Stedelijk Museum director Sandberg as he talked about the ‘dynamic labyrinth’ created by such artists as Robert Rauschenberg, Martial Raysse, Nikki de St. Phalle, Jean Tinguely and Daniel Spoerri.

death in the port jackson hotel, Ed van der Elsken (NL 1972) 37′ A film portrait of the eccentric Australian artist Vali Myers, who was also the protagonist of van der Elsken’s classic photo-novel Love on the Left Bank. Myers is shown working on her drawing ‘Death in the Port Jackson Hotel’.

karel appel, componist (karel appel, composer), Ed van der Elsken (NL 1961) 7′ Footage of Karel Appel compiling the soundtrack – including his Musique Barbare – for the filmed portrait which Jan Vrijman provided of the Dutch artist: De werkelijkheid van Karel Appel (The Reality of Karel Appel). The painter is also filmed in his New York studio.

drahtplastiken, Hans Cürlis (DE 1929) 7′Footage of Alexander Calder – who participated in the Moving Movement exhibition – as he is working on some of his mobiles; wire sculptures made of copper floating in space. Cürlis’ method of filming has little in common with that of van der Elsken, but is just as effective in bringing the artist’s work closer to us.

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