The group exhibition ‘When Things Are Beings’, is now on display in Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. It explores the inner power of objects in a variety of ways. With 24 projects, designers and artists show in their own unique way how the material and immaterial worlds are connected.

In 13 rooms, works make connections between ideas and objects, spirituality and materials or link social issues to tangible things. In the form of video, soundscape, textiles, assemblages, object design, jewelry, sculptures, photography, print, paintings and performance, they play with the question of whether “things” can have a soul. 

Some projects in the exhibition reference a spiritual world, while others connect complex and layered histories between people of different generations and different places in the world. For example, artist Seán Hannan presents an egg containing an Irish curse made especially for the Stedelijk, and media artist and designer Sondi plays with memories of her childhood home in Cameroon.


‘When Things Are Beings’ moves between the elusive appeal of abstract concepts and forms of spirituality that can be hidden in objects and sculptures. Design and art can enchant or captivate you in ways that cannot always be clearly explained or defined.

In FOLD, a mirror made of sandblasted glass, designer Sabine Marcelis explores material properties that initially escape direct observation by playing with depth and perception. Artists Amy Suo Wu & Elaine W. Ho created ‘radio SLUMBER’ an intimate space, with cosy fabrics and bed sheets, began as a series of informal gatherings. By sharing the broadcast material in the form of a soundscape, they invite you sit down, let your guards down, and to consider the political power of friendship.

The exhibition When Things Are Beings is part of the project series of the ‘Gemeentelijke Kunstaankopen’, which is organized biannually with financial support from the municipality of Amsterdam. Artists living and working in the Netherlands are invited to respond to an open call, followed by a jury selection and a group exhibition. Some of the work shown is purchased for the museum collection.   

You can experience the exhibition at Stedelijk until the 10th of April, 2023.