Rijksmuseum/ The Rijksstudio Award


Warships in a Heavy Storm, a digital reworking by Tom Estes from a work in the Rijksmuseum for the Rijksstudio.


The question of The History of Art is problematic, not least because artistic activity is characterized by its antagonism towards stable temporality. It’s the business of the great sedentary assemblage of art institutions to establish settled lineages and well-ordered sequences, whereas artistic-processes attach themselves to coincidences, glitches and unforeseen consequences -breaks, twists and bends in time. For The Rijksstudio Award artist Tom Estes has re-interpreted a work from The Rijksmuseum as a short moving image. His work is a tribute based on Warships in a Heavy Storm, c. 1695  by Dutch Painter Ludolf Bakhuysen (1631-1708).

The Rijksstudio Award is inspired by the Rijksmuseum’s collection. As an artist, Estes is interested in the relationship of humans with machines. He sees the internet as a shaping conditions and a structuring paradox. Machines do many things for us, but they also do things to us and do things at us. At the core of this work is an attention to the flickering, fading definition of our lives as dictated by the computer monitor and the rapid reply of instant messaging. Here artist Tom Estes talks about his practice:

“There is a real Peter Pan Syndrome at play in my work and I suppose I would consider myself a carnival sideshow conceptualist, combining a bare-bones formal conceptualism with an eternally adolescent, DIY comic-prank approach. For me ‘fantasy’ and ‘illusion’ are not a contradiction of reality, but instead an integral part of our everyday lives. I have always leaned toward making work participatory or immersive in some way so while my practice is characterized by the mediums of photography, performance and installation, individual works can also be seen as part of a wider interdisciplinary project that incorporates innovative web conversations and social networks. I try to do this with wit and economy and by paraphrasing early Sci-fi and horror films and their associated ideological fictions in order to examine how dataflow from the virtual realm impacts on the significance and symbolism of real-world human senses. But in doing so, I have begun to generate unexpected questions about how art might be able to inscribe itself on the surface of reality.”

In regards to his work Warships in a Heavy Storm, a digital reworking for the Rijksmuseum’s  Rijksstudio Award Estes states:

” What I have managed to do is to create a sense of movement within an existing still image. The ground beneath your feet whips and churns like waves. The ominous clouds over head swirl in fury, the sea rolls while the sails billow and the flags flap madly in the wind…. it is almost as if you are looking at a film from the late 1600’s.”

Estes goes on to say:

“The internet is changing the structure of our brains and the structure of our planet in extraordinary ways, so quickly that we haven’t yet developed a proper vocabulary for it. Technological progress has accelerated to the point that the future is happening to us far faster than we could ever have anticipated. This new world is what Hans Ulrich Obrist calls extreme present, a time in which it feels impossible to maintain pace with the present, never mind to chart the future.  However, there is a process of retro-contamination in which the deep past finds itself already infected with the far future. In this Brave New World narratives are written and re-written, looping the past into the far future”

First prize for The Rijksstudio Award is 10,000 euro, the second 2,500 euro, and the third 1,500 euro. In addition, a people’s choice award of 1,000 euro is up for grabs. The finalists’ projects will be exhibited in one of the museum’s galleries for ten weeks following the reveal on 21 April 2017.



The Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede, Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael, c. 1668 – c. 1670 –  from the collection at the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to art and history in Amsterdam. It was founded in The Hague in 1800 and moved to Amsterdam in 1808. The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000, among which are some masterpieces by Rembrant, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer. The museum also has a small Asian collection, which is on display in the Asian pavilion.

The artwork for The Rijksstudio Award is judged by an international panel of experts.

  • Irma Boom, Director of Irma Boom Office
  • Tony Chambers, Editor-in-Chief at Wallpaper
  • Ingrid Chou, Associate Creative Director, The Museum of Modern Art
  • Taco Dibbits, General Director of the Rijksmuseum (Jury President)
  • Ute Thon, editor-in-chief ART – Das Kunstmagazin
  • Thomas Widdershoven, Creative Director at the Design Academy, Eindhoven



The Threatened Swan by Norwegian Wood for The Rijksstudio Award

Please e-mail any questions or comments about the Rijksstudio Award to: award@rijksmuseum.nl







About Art Selectronic

Art Selectronic is an artist-led initiative, that supports grass-roots contemporary art that remains unswayed by fashion, trends or the whims of government funding. The project involves ongoing research into the placing of contemporary art, it’s audiences and it’s relationship to the everyday. We place great emphasis on context. Our mission is to support new works of contemporary art and foster an audience from a wide range of backgrounds.
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