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Singer Laren, exhibition LA GRANDE BLEUE 
The 12th of  September the exhibition LA GRANDE BLEUE opened at Singer Laren. Soda provided the design for it.

LA GRANDE BLEUE will present around 70 paintings made by artists who travelled to the Mediterranean from the mid-19th century onwards to work there for a short or longer period of time. The focus will be on Dutch and Belgian artists such as Leo Gestel, Mommie Schwarz, Charley Toorop, Kees van Dongen, Isaac Israels, Wim Oepts, Geer van Velde, Théo Van Rysselberghe, Emile Claus and William Degouve de Nuncques. It will also tell visitors about the international context in which these artists operated with works by Gustave Courbet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Charles Manguin, Raoul Dufy, André Derain, Albert Marquet, Pierre Bonnard and Yves Klein, among others. The concluding feature consists of Miquel Barceló's monumental paintings that confront us face to face with the current drama of people crossing the Mediterranean.

For artists who undertook a trip to the Mediterranean around 1900, their stay often meant a period of isolation during which they could work freely with no pressure to sell. The intense light, sharp contours and bright colours of the Mediterranean coast had an undeniable impact on their development. Moreover, contact with local colleagues and travelling companions led to an exchange and a further urge to experiment with relatively new ways of painting such as impressionism, pointillism, cubism and fauvism. At the same time, the environment changed over the years: on the barren coast with its picturesque but also poor fishing villages, fashionable holiday resorts for the happy few emerged from the mid-19th century onwards. From the interwar period onwards, the 'Côte d'azur' subsequently turned into a favourite destination that would eventually culminate in mass tourism.

For the exhibition design, Soda pursued an abstract representation of the longing for the sea and the sense of infinity which manifests itself, among other things, in a subtle colour palette and carefully chosen sightlines. In the process, Soda worked intensively with the museum and graphic designer Esther Noyons. The abstract, minimalist approach is also reflected in the campaign image designed by Esther Noyons ( see the image of the the bottom on this page.

LA GRANDE BLEUE in Singer Laren: 12 September - 7 January.


In the entry hall, Soda postioned a more than 7-metre-long print that immediately catches the eye upon entering. The print is based on an 1857 photograph by Gustave Le Gray. Soda converted Le Gray's photo to negative, which changed the colours from sepia to blue.


Image above: Henri Manguin, Jeanne à l’ombrelle, Cavalière, 1906 (Kunsthalle, Bielefeld)
Image left, fragment: Kees van Dongen, Casino, Cannes, circa 193 (Singer Laren)


Design campaign image: Esther Noyons