Exhibition: Atte Jongstra

Paths to paradise

13 Sep 2013
22 Mar 2015

Man has always dreamed of Paradise, whether that is Walhalla, Heaven, Elysium or whatever you may decide to call it. Paradise is the ideal, eternal world. But how does it actually look like? And how do you get there? Which paths should you follow? RMT asked writer Atte Jongstra to imagine Paradise through an all-encompassing selection of works from the museum collection, augmented by recent work from contemporary artists.



The complete human imagination

Paradise is in essence a product of the imagination. The exhibition begins with an overview of representations artists have made through the centuries of the heavenly life of man on the other side. But Paths to Paradise is not only about the final destination. It’s also about the journey, the paths that are taken to get there. On the basis of thought-provoking themes and combinations of artworks, the paths will be shown which visitors could follow to imagine their own Paradise. Paths to Paradise is an exhibition about the complete human imagination.


Guest curator Atte Jongstra will install Paths to Paradise according to the rules of neo-science. This branch of science studies imaginary questions, such as ‘what is the surface of God' of ‘the cross-wind sensitivity of the addition sum'. In relation to Paradise, Jongstra wonders how life – flora and fauna, time, salary levels and hygiene – would be like in Paradise. The result is an exhibition with sections such as ‘Eternity measurement', in which fine antique clocks and still lifes are shown, or the hygiene room with its medieval baptismal fount and wash-basins with self-portraits, where one can freshen up to increase one’s chances of getting into heaven.

Participating artists

Besides top artworks from the collection of RMT by Jacob van Ruisdael, Joos van Cleve, Thomas Gainsborough, Odilon Redon, Claude Monet, Carel Visser, Jan Brueghel, Peter Struycken and Jan Sluijters, there will be works from 'outside' on show by Barbara van Ittersum, Meinbert Gozewijn van Soest, Jan van der Pol, Carina Ellemers, Eliane Gerrits, Marlo Broekmans, Frank Van den Broeck, Roel van Timmeren, Rob van Betuw, Ronald van Tienhoven, Peter Zegveld, Riëtte Wanders, Joost van den Toorn, Annelies Wina Doom, Jannie Regnerus, Joris Geurts and Fredie Beckmans.

In conclusion

Perhaps we can conclude that Paradise is one gigantic thought-experiment. A construction which, parallel to visible reality, has been built since Man has been on earth. Paths to Paradise bears witness to that constant building and strives to get the visitor to make their own construction. The imagination is being put to work!

Paths to paradise

A novel by Atte Jongstra in twelve rooms.


Paths to Paradise has been made possible through the support of the Mondriaan Fund, Doen Foundation, Friends of Rijksmuseum Twenthe, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Overijssel Province and the City of Enschede.