With these viewers in the Parallel Club, you discover what art is hidden behind the wall

Anyone who frequented Amsterdam Central Station will recognize the design: yellow viewers on the wall with art hidden behind them. The artist Matthijs Booij designed a successor to the work in the reception of the nightclub Parallel: Metroscope.

Malou Hart

“It’s my life’s work,” says Matthijs Booij (39) as he prepares Metroscope state. “At least the work of art where my whole life comes together.” He was tasked with giving the reception at the club Parallel in Tolhuistuin, a large gray room with rows of black cupboards, ‘a soul’. He created an exhibition space that is ‘bastard-proof’ against drunken clubbers, where changing artists can exhibit.

Booij, founder of the online gallery Patty Morgan, has long wanted to create something in honor of the artwork Underground from Siet Zuyderland. From 1980 to 2015, his viewing tube adorned the Amsterdam Central metro station. Through yellow glasses, subway travelers could look here at his hyper-realistic paintings of underground stations around the world. “As a child I always looked forward to going to Amsterdam to look through the binoculars,” says Booij.

Fascination with metro stations

“Zuyderland’s art has definitely shaped my worldview. There was no internet or social media back then to learn about the world. The painting of a subway station in Tokyo, for example, was all I knew about Japan. I have always wondered: what is happening above the earth? For Booij, the peepholes were the source of his fascination with metro stations. “The fact that you are underground with so many people, and there is no way around it. Audio and music sound different. It is a very strange experience of space and time.”

He built one at the front desk in Parallel replay of Zuyderland’s work – again yellow glasses on the wall, behind which artworks are hidden. He gave it a playful twist: the viewers are sometimes tilted, upside down and at different heights. The fittings are also not straight as in Zuyderland’s design, but curved and angular, and the diagonal light strips with place names are pink instead of blue.

Artists can take turns exhibiting in the display cases. Called to the first exhibition Post Future Absence Street Booij is close to his inspiration for Metroscope remained: behind most viewers are the original slides of Siet Zuyderland. His daughter Eva had a few works lying around, but a lot Undergroundpaintings were lost during the demolition. Of the eighteen works of art, five have been preserved, one of which has a light box and all, Booij made new diorama boxes for the other slides. Behind the one viewer stands Booij himself. Nightclub visitors also get the opportunity to exhibit: On one of the safe doors in the reception hall, there is a viewer with a lamp.

Plant seeds

The next exhibition in February will be put together by Sjoerd Martens and Upsammy – according to Booij real ‘underground’ artists. “We want in Metroscope especially providing a stage for progressive artists. Innovation often starts underground, and people first have to get used to it. Like house music; My parents hated it, but now they listen too. Often it only reaches the audience later.” Booij wants to show what the future holds with art. “Artists can plant seeds in these display cases.”

This is also what the name of the artwork refers to: to the underground means of transport, but also to the future. A metroscope is, among other things, an instrument to measure the fertility of the uterus, and thus take a look at future life. “This one too Metroscope gives the future, something that is difficult to measure, a face.”

He is happy with Tolhuistuin as a place for it Metroscope. Not only is it the same distance from the IJ as the original, but it also fits the atmosphere of the nightclub: “Parallel is quite underground. They provide a stage for new artists, and stimulating events are organized in Tolhuistuin.” He thinks it’s a more fun form of art to present than in a gallery or museum. “Here you get close to art without appreciating it as such. ” That’s what he liked so much about Zuyderland’s work; many people have looked through his peepholes without realizing that there was art behind it. “It had an effect of art without pretending to be art. I think so is stronger.”


One of the artworks in Metroscope.Sculpture Sophie Saddington

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