‘Eindhoven: a HipHop story’ in Van Abbemuseum

Van Abbemuseum shows the influence of hip hop on the identity of the city
Photo credit: Kas van Vliet/Studio040

Since the birth of hip hop it has had a place in Eindhoven. This movement emerged in the early 1980s and fit with the ‘do it yourself mentality’ and the innovative character of the local culture. Van Abbemuseum is devoting an exhibition to it.

Hip Hop came over from the United States and quickly gained a foothold in the ‘raw, industrial character’ of Eindhoven. Forty years later, Hip Hop has a place in mainstream culture. The experimental exhibition “Eindhoven: a HipHop story” shows the influence of this subculture on the identity of the city. The story is told from viewpoint of the community and the audience itself.

For Grndmxr CazOne (graffiti artist, breaker and DJ) HipHop is a feeling and a way of life. “You don’t do Hip Hop, you are it”. Since then, four generations of creative makers, including dancers, rappers and graffiti artists, have been taking part in building the Eindhoven of today. The defining role of Hip Hop is often underestimated, according to the artist. “Eindhoven: a hiphop story lets visitors experience how this scene became part of the DNA of Eindhoven.

Guest curators

Four guest curators curated the exhibition: Virgil ‘Skychief’ Dey (DJ and breaker), Stephan Cornelio Velema (breaker and filmmaker), Grndmxr CazOne (graffiti artist, breaker and DJ) and MC Melodee (rapper, entrepreneur and performer). Together with local artists from the Hip Hop scene, they represent the culture in the 040 region through multidisciplinary work such as video, audio and VR.

Velema: “Hip Hop has the power to transcend the individual and bring people together. Whether on the street or in a museum”. The subculture revolves around three important principles, which are also the starting point of the exhibition. Dey: “First of all, respect is the basis of the movement. In addition, self-expression and innovation are closely intertwined, something that often arises from the experience of oppression”.


Visitors to “Eindhoven: a HipHop story” enter a labyrinth. This design symbolises the world of subculture: there is not one beaten path that the makers take in this scene, more often it is a complex route that they have created themselves. The maze leads the public to the heart of the exhibition. That central meeting place symbolises the four elements of Hip Hop: DJing, MCing, breaking and graffiti.

In recent years, Hip Hop culture has become known to a wider audience and has been institutionalised by policymakers. Nevertheless, the Hip Hop scene is underrepresented in Van Abbemuseum. With the exhibition “Eindhoven: a HipHop story”, the museum is giving this street culture a bigger stage for the first time.

The exhibition starts on 21 June and can be seen until 8 December.

For more information: Eindhoven: a HipHop story (vanabbemuseum.nl)

Source: Studio040

Translated by: Bob

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