A large sculpture by Dutch artist Magali Reus is now on display at the LAM museum on the Keukenhof Estate in Lisse. The museum purchased the piece last summer at Art Basel, one of the world’s biggest contemporary art fairs. The artwork, almost half a metre tall, resembles a reused honey jar from French brand Bonne Maman. As always with Reus, the work is a profusion of detail and conveys many stories. “It just looks like an extremely beautiful sculpture at first glance”, explains museum director Sietske van Zanten. “Take a longer look, however, and you will notice that the everyday object is interlaced with deeper meanings.”
In 2015, Queen Maxima awarded Magali Reus (1981) the Prix de Rome, the oldest visual arts prize in the Netherlands. Reus lives and works in London. Her work is included in the collections of Tate London, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Lafayette in Paris and the Marieluise Hessel Collection of Contemporary Art in New York, among others.
AUTHENTIC FRENCH COUNTRY LIFE
With this artwork, Magali Reus plays on our longing for authentic products. Bonne Maman is a quintessential brand that capitalises on this sentiment. The industrially mass-produced jars of jam and honey appear to have come straight from a French grandmother’s larder, with elegant handwritten labels and red-and-white checked lids.
Magali Reus’ honey pot has been given a new lease of life — we all sometimes use old jars for storing nails, rubber bands or other small items. The XL honey pot at the LAM museum still contains some pink wall paint. An owner’s label has been stuck on the original Bonne Maman logo: Reus calls it “domestic graffiti”. The wonderfully artisanal honey pot from France has finally become truly authentic. A memento of someone in a certain time and place.
Magali Reus’ artwork is part of a larger series of Bonne Maman jars titled ‘Clementine’. The honey jar bears the subtitle ‘Bandit’, a reference to the honeybee’s stripes and the jar’s cracked glass.
JUST LIKE THE SUPERMARKET
The Magali Reus acquisition can now be admired as part of a fresh presentation at the LAM museum. Sietske van Zanten says, “The artwork is part of the new layout in our first gallery. This gallery is a nod to clever supermarket layouts where the customer enters near the fruit and vegetable section, then passes the meat, fish and bread before arriving at the shelves with processed products such as jam, honey and other treats. Supermarkets are designed to make us buy more. Our presentation prompts visitors to view the art with fresh eyes”.
The acquisition will be on display at the LAM museum during the coming months. In summer 2024, the work will be loaned to the Museum Kurhaus Kleve in Germany, which will exhibit a major retrospective of Magali Reus’ work.
A SIMPLY SPECIAL MUSEUM
With its international art collection dedicated to food and consumption, the LAM museum on the Keukenhof Estate in Lisse offers fresh perspectives on everyday activities like eating, drinking and shopping. Among the many other renowned artists with works on show are Yinka Shonibare, Kathleen Ryan, Itamar Gilboa, Raquel van Haver, Ron Mueck, Susan Philipsz and Michael Raedecker.