During Lorenzo Benedetti’s brief directorship of De Appel (2014-2015) he created an intriguing programme, in which the possibilities of exhibiting contemporary art were investigated in a radical manner. In Benedetti’s tactile presentations, the material exhibition spaces became an integral part of the artwork. Highlights included the installations of Michael Dean, which radically transformed the spaces of the Prins Hendrikkade into a total installation. With this exhibition, Michael Dean was nominated for the Turner Prize 2016. This exhibition also marked the start of a programme in which artists, through their works, almost literally put the traditional boundaries of art institutions into question.

International and national artists such as Michael Dean, Michael E. Smith, Melanie Gilligan, gerlach en koop and Saskia Noor van Imhoff were given the opportunity, through solo exhibitions and thus the whole building, to experiment with the full potential of contemporary art. With these uncompromising exhibitions, the discussion on the role of art and the art institute once again became an important starting point for De Appel, as it had been since the establishment of the institution by Wies Smals. This research was continued in the exhibition programme LocusSolus, in which young artists were invited to work with the archives of De Appel. In this way, the history of De Appel and thus the history of contemporary art were examined in the context of current events.

Benedetti’s curatorship was a bold reappraisal of the autonomy of art and showed a great interest in the history of both De Appel and exhibiting contemporary art. His uncompromising vision on curating made him a dedicated sparring partner of the artists whose work he presented. Under his directorship, De Appel grew into a place where artists and art lovers loved to come.

“In a few months, Benedetti brought De Appel back to the years at Prinseneiland, where Saskia Bos invited artist after artist to realize beautiful installations. These were simply not to be missed, and if you have seen them they still linger on in memory. Under Benedetti, the ever so awkward exhibition building on the Prins Hendrikkade blossomed into something of a genius loci, the building slowly got an exhibition soul and exhibition history. It again became a place that was not to be missed for art lovers.”

Ruyters, Witte Raaf, Opinion, 18.09.2015 in Metropolis M.