Freethinkers Space Continued

Jonas Staal



Collection: Collectie Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.

Jonas Staal is an artist whose practice is located at the intersection of art, democracy and propaganda. The Freethinkers’ Space was an exhibition space at the national parliament of The Netherlands in The Hague, created in 2008 by the conservative-liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the ultranationalist Freedom Party (PVV). Their claim was to offer a space for the work of artists who were affected by supposed “Islamic censorship”, as a result of the ‘political correctness’ of art institutions. Including works by artists such as Theo van Gogh, the Freethinkers’ Space sought to push politics into the contentious issues of censorship and freedom of expression under the conditions of the War on Terror and migration. The Freethinkers’ Space closed in 2010 when the VVD formed a government supported by the PVV, stating that freedom of expression could now be protected through their government. Following its closure, the liberal-democratic Democrats 66 and the green party GroenLinks requested to re-open the space, warning of the potential for right-wing censorship. For the project Freethinkers’ Space Continued, facilitated by Staal, they each curated their own exhibition and presented a Freethinkers’ Lecture at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, on the tensions between art and politics with regards to creative expression. GroenLinks and D66 extended the invitation to other political parties to create their own Freethinkers’ Space, and the Labour party PvdA responded to this call by creating a Freethinkers’ Space at the De Appel centre for contemporary art in Amsterdam. This maquette by Staal is a scale model documenting the exhibitions by GroenLinks, D66 and the PvdA, as well as the original Freethinkers’ Space of the VVD and PVV.

Media View all

Events View all

Ensembles View all