The 1980s. Today’s Beginnings? 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.
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. 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.
The project gives space to multiple narratives and voices from different European perspectives, beginning with counter culture in the Netherlands, the Slovenian collective NSK and black art form Great Britain. The configuration of the galleries will shift during the course of the exhibition; the presentation of NSK lasts until 26 June and from 2 July three new presentations developed by our partners in Istanbul, Barcelona, and Madrid will be added.