New Melancholy – Lidewij Edelkoort

After the reflection during the lockdown, we are left with a vast emptiness. Complementary emotions that arise therefrom lead to feelings of melancholy that will influence our culture. The double exhibition between Kazerne and Van Abbemuseum shows desolate work from the collection Edelkoort and the museums collection.

Book your time slot here (free entrance).



“After a period of reflection during the Covid-19 lockdown, people are left feeling a great void. It is clear that our behaviour in the last twenty years has threatened the planet, animals and humanity, and that over-production, over-consumption, overinformation and over-working have generated a lot of money for a small group of people. The pandemic has shown us that social injustice, racial division and ecological missteps are threatening to intensify, with possible consequences such as civil war and an economic crisis that could lead to a revolution. How to behave as a citizen?

Looking into the future seems useless for the time being, looking at the past makes little sense as well, and comprehending the status quo is almost impossible due to a cacophony of voices and opinions. The feeling of emptiness that arises is furthered by keeping social distance and digital communication, the sadness of saying goodbye to loved ones who die alone and students who have to graduate in isolation. The pleasure of being together and the inconvenience of confinement alternate in a game of cat and mouse. There is love and sorrow, there is loneliness and togetherness, people are sad and witty.

These complementary human emotions lead to a feeling of melancholy that will influence culture in the near future, sometimes even with sentimental manifestations. The search is on for the right word, the flawless note, the perfect dance step and the tastiest bread to express the beauty of everyday life. Aesthetics looks for almost romantic notions.

The duo exhibition in Van Abbemuseum and Kazerne around my design collection draws upon some desolate and lonely works from the permanent collection of the museum; these enter into dialogue with a selection of more abstract design pieces that all have an alienating character. Together these works convey a sense of melancholy; a melancholy carried by a sense of humour and taking distance from the subject. A concept that can be regarded as The New Melancholy.”

Lidewij Edelkoort, April 2020

Autumn 2020 — spring 2021


Lidewij Edelkoort

In collaboration with
Van Abbemuseum


As a forecaster, exhibition curator, publisher, educational specialist and humanitarian, Lidewij Edelkoort shares her vision on social cultural trends with strategists, designers and marketeers. Her voice is heard worldwide. She was one of the first in the world to speak out publicly about the opportunities of the pandemic, about the hope for a more sustainable world. Worldwide this resulted in a stream of admiration, criticism and interviews, such as her controversial performance in VPRO’s Tegenlicht and in Dezeen’s publication ‘Coronavirus offers a blank page for a new beginning’. Edelkoort was chairman of the board of directors at Design Academy Eindhoven and dean of Hybrid Design Studies at Parsons in New York. In 2020, Edelkoort launched the World Hope Forum: a platform to inspire the creative community and sustainably reform social systems.

1 exhibition, 2 locations

The double exhibition at Kazerne and Van Abbemuseum shows melancholic work from the Edelkoort’s and the museum’s collections, a melancholy carried by humor and distance of the subject. By bringing contemporary art and design together, the visitor encounters unexpected dialogues. Charles Esche: “New Melancholy doesn’t pretend to know what our lives will look like post-Covid-19. However, it does give space to the feeling of emptiness that currently frightens us, while simultaneously exploring and questioning this new space. The audience is taken on an emotional journey in which they don’t receive answers, but rather experiences that help grasp our current position, and find the way forward from there.”
The double exhibition is the first collaboration between Edelkoort, Van Abbemuseum and Kazerne, initiated by Kazerne’s creative director Annemoon Geurts. She has been fighting for years for the cultural recognition of design and the undeniable role that Edelkoort has had, not lastly for the city of Eindhoven. The museum will shift focus soon from primarily art towards art and design; with Eindhoven as home base, this step makes sense. 


Angéline Behr, Pieke Bergmans, Daan Brouwer, Daniel Costa, Léon de Lange, Richard Long, Allan McCollum, Elsa Molinard, Bram Vanderbeke, Jeroen Wand x Cor Unum, Oskar Zieta.


The exhibition New Melancholy can be seen at Van Abbemuseum until 6 December, at Kazerne until spring 2021. The locations are a stone’s throw away from each other, in the heart of Eindhoven.

Van Abbemuseum (Bilderdijklaan 10) is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. Check the website for the entrance fees.

Kazerne (Paradijslaan 2-8) is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 12 noon to 8 pm. Visitors can eat, drink and stay surrounded by the exhibition. Entrance and Wi-Fi free, guided tours on request.


Van Abbemuseum, Ruud Balk Fotografie, Brabant C, Cultuur Eindhoven, Charles Esche, Lidewij Edelkoort, Sooji Lee, Moon/en/co, Provincie Noord-Brabant, Philip Fimmano, Studio van der Zandt.