By Bas Hendrikx

Inge Meijer went to the archives of Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam for Still Life #1. When William Sandberg was director of this museum (1945 - 1963) all of a sudden plants started to appear in the museum. The plants adorned the rooms on their own or in small groups. They sometimes even had an entire wall to themselves or they stood right next to a work of art. What did Sandberg want to achieve? He was also the person who had the museum painted plain white to create an environment that was as neutral as possible for the art, so why the plants? His successor Edy de Wilde (1963 - 1985) kept up the tradition. Despite Inge Meijer’s research and questions to museum staff, they kept telling her that there was no such thing as a plant collection or a plant archive.

She discovered, however, that there had been one employee who had been very thorough and kept a record of the plants in all those years. Inge was given access to these records and she could figure out which plants were on display when and where thanks to slides documenting the exhibitions. Sometimes the plants were on their own, or you didn’t see a certain plant for a while, and then the plant appeared again on a different slide; larger and sometimes in the company of other plants. Inge Meijer selected 57 black-and-white slides and two full-colour slides for her installation, which presents an alternative view of the collection and the museum.