Who's Who at CIMAM with Jacqueline Grandjean

8 April 2024

Grandjean, Jacqueline
Jacqueline Grandjean

Get to know Jacqueline Grandjean, Director at Het Noordbrabants Museum (HNBM), 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands and CIMAM member since 2017.

How did you get started in the world of art curating, and what led you to dedicate your professional career to it?

The presentation of a 12th-century monk's head together with a work by Lucio Fontana intensely fascinated me. What happened in the interaction between these two artworks? Since then, I have continued to see and follow relationships between artworks across time.

Time is the essential element in my dedication to art.

What kind of narratives is your museum currently working on?

The museum is in transition. We are moving from mainstream programming to one with depth and attention to the world around us. In a pré-era, where uncertainties about the future prevail, we need art precisely to depict the unthinkable. Artists lead the way as contemporary prophets.

How would you define yourself as a museum director regarding governance and relationships with the institution's stakeholders?

People say I am a deeply ethical person. And it is true: I feel a great moral responsibility because museums move at the intersection of public & private, society & individuals. I think the ambition to be primarily a 'cultural entrepreneur' also has a pitfall. The beauty of our work is finding a balance, connecting and thinking less binary.

What are your most common working practices and research sources?

The museum is leading in the early period of Van Gogh and the life and work of Hieronymus Bosch. Impressionism and Surrealism. The challenge we face worldwide is how to deal with Western dominance in the art historical canon. In my practice, I experiment with ways to stretch it. Since 2021, I have been working on a PhD researching the inter-historical method of curating (Prof. Mieke Bal), where ancient art, modern, contemporary art are displayed side by side and intermixed. I am looking for those interhistorical museum presentations in which added value is created and the canon is indeed stretched.

Can you share with us a program from your museum that might inspire our community for its relevance and connection to people, communities, and context, or that is innovative in fostering accessibility and sharing with the public, or has reference to sustainability within the sector?

Since my work at the Oude Kerk Amsterdam, I understand how important listening is. Installing a red window (an artwork by Giorgio Andreotta Calò) caused commotion and resistance. We agreed to have the conversation about contemporary iconofury for ten years. In the Noordbrabants Museum we are currently talking to climate activists about how art and climate change intersect. It is a long-term conversation, as part of my idea of 'slow curating'.

Can you share the title of a book you have recently read and found inspiring for your professional work?

Cristiana Collu: Time is Out Of Joint

What was the last exhibition you attended, and how did it impact you?

Camden Art Center (London), The New Contemporaries. A show presenting young British artists, on the springboard of their careers. In a grim world, the show was full of hope, tech and visions for the future.

Can you share a song to be included in CIMAM's Spotify playlist?

Time for Us – Nicolas Jaar

Thank you, Jacqueline!