Rijksakademie Open Studios 2023

Mikołaj Sobczak PL

  • 19
Second Floor

Sobczak’s practice combines painting, video and performance art. In his performative work – frequently in collaboration with Germany based artist Nicholas Grafia whose work is informed by his Filipino and African-American background – Sobczak employs avant-garde concepts of postwar Polish theatre (such as Tadeusz Kantor) for his contemporary concerns about queerness in a time of political radicalisation.

His paintings are equally invested with theatricality, complex figuration staged in dense tableaux, often based on the compositions of 19th century paintings, juxtaposed with popular culture subjects. Sobczak’s central project is to create contemporary history paintings by populating his paintings with representations of outstanding protagonist of LGBTQ activism, queer and emancipatory countercultural milieus and resistance movements, in imaginative company with provocatively phantasmic characters and creatures representing Sobczak’s genuine vision of transgressive utopia. Simultaneously, these new visionary communities are mirrored in the distorted images of an underworld of regressive and ambiguous political narrative depicted in mannerist and infernal mise-en-scenes. 

Text of an audio-visual drama for Rijksakademie Open Studios 2023

I dreamt of the fire that would finally be able to dry those canals until there is no drop left. Ships thrown ashore, boats stuck in barren estuaries. No more spices! No more pepper and cinnamon! We shall scatter all our turmeric until the winds sail it to its rightful home! It is not water that flows under our bridges but the capital, merchants, representatives, attachés, traders, slaves and masters, thousands and thousands of bodies at work. I dream of them floating outside my window. Bodies at work… Oh, and the vast desire that this flow makes possible. Latitudes and longitudes of passion spread across the globe, the whole divine geography of sex! Not limited to any town or village anymore but dissolved in this endless grid of squares and rectangles of lust projected on our daft maps. Oh, how can one not see that trade routes are in fact veins pumping up with blood? Holy, Holy, Holy corpus cavernosum – I salute thee!

My hometown is a hole. A hole, an opening, a crevice, a cavity. You see, in olden days, there were castles and moats around them. My hometown is a moat without a castle to encircle. A drilled canal of still standing waters protecting our most cherished secret – that there is no secret to guard. Where there’s a hole, there must be something to be inserted. We looked and looked until we found it. Endless supplies of goods coming in. Flows of plants and foods that the metabolism of our city digested into generational wealth. Oh, how I love you, my Amsterdam, my city with open pores and ports, my city that doesn’t exist anywhere outside its ships and planes and cars and trains, that is always in motion possible only because it is hollow. Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb! Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose smoke-stacks and antennae crown the cities! Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen!

And yet, the flames… How many times, by God, have I not longed to be able to assail the sun, snatch it out of the universe, make it general darkness, or use that star to burn the world? Oh, I would wish that my aberrations lead me like the lowest of creatures to the fate which befits their wantonness: for me the scaffold would be a throne of exquisite bliss! Flames, flames, flames…

The definite embargo. The embargo to end all embargos. The closure of all roads, the blockade of all transitions. Stop printing machines at once! Turn away from your lover! What a spectacle… And there he is. After the last bank has admitted it’s broke, and after the last government has resigned, and after the last container ship has sailed to its harbour only to turn out to have arrived completely empty handed, we hear the voice of the last narrator of our very own armageddon, our dear storyteller who we call affectionately Johannes of Patmos with the vocal range of a castrato, whose cold, reporterlike, matter-of-fact crowings stand in horrible contrast to the contents of his catastrophic message. There he is presenting our doom. „In pain you shall bring forth monthly mortgages, upon your belly you shall go turning poorer than your parents and grandparents. Cursed is the ground you will never afford, in toil you shall earn your pitiful wages. By the sweat of your face you shall eat your bread until your return to the circulation of capital, for out of it you were taken. You are a commodity and to commodity you shall return”.

– written by Aleksander Kmak –


Book of Genesis 3: 14–19
Gilles Deleuze, Coldness and Cruelty
Allen Ginsberg, The Howl
Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus


Open Studios 2023

  • Welcome to our annual Rijksakademie Open Studios. This year we have studio presentations by 48 artists, and alongside this, group presentations, collaborative projects, a film programme and a full programme of events, talks and performances. Together these show the extensive range of artistic propositions, positions, practices and ideas that are being developed at the Rijksakademie all year round.

    Our environment offers artists an expansive technical infrastructure and specialists that enables them to traverse different media, and gain intellectual input from artistic advisors and peers alike. This creates a unique site for artistic development and exchange, and a continual exploration of what art can be, do and mean from many different perspectives, forming new kinds of imaginaries, invention and engagement with matters at stake in the world today through practice.

    The artistic coordination of this Open Studios is in the hands of Metahaven, who are part of our group of artistic advisors. They have been in dialogue with the artists on the presentations.

  • There is no single unifying theme or frame to describe the work of the artists taking part in the 2023 Open Studios. There are proximities on the level of content, there are relationships between ways of being in an institution, and there are parallels in the usage of media and materialisation. Yet, what braids these resident artists together, in our view, is the sensibility they put to their work.

    At the 2023 Open Studios you will find art in the midst of its development, in the midst of its moment of becoming. Art that genuinely makes one feel, genuinely makes one think, genuinely makes one wonder. Art that is originating from many different experiences of, and ways of being in the world. The works are experiential on the one hand, and intimate on the other. Liveliness and joy, gravitas and determination abound, and oscillate.

    This year the studio presentations are joined by a group presentation, happening in two spaces. Many of the current resident artists share a work of theirs near a work of someone else. The baseline of this presentation was that all resident artists were invited to participate.

    The enthusiasm with which this group presentation came together says something about the conviviality shared by the residents, the organisation, and our fellow advisors.


    • Tickets: €10
    • Discount tickets: €5 (Student-, CJP-, or Amsterdam City Card – Blue Plaid)
    • Entrance free: Amsterdam City Card – Green Dot, Children aged up to 12 years

    Please bring your discount card with you to the entrance.

  • Please note: there will be no ticket sales at the door. Tickets can only be purchased online.

    If you would like to change or cancel your ticket, please reach out to openstudios@rijksakademie.nl

  • There is no cloakroom at the Rijksakademie. Handbags are allowed if they are smaller than A4. Unfortunately, there is no room for backpacks. A limited number of lockers is available at the entrance.

    It’s not allowed to bring food and drinks inside the building. There are different snacks and drinks available at the Rijksakademie courtyard, which you can enjoy there.

    Dogs are not allowed, with the exception of service dogs.

    For environmental reasons, we are not offering a printed map of the building. You can access our digital floor plan via the QR code that you can scan with your phone at the entrance. If you do prefer a printed version, you can download and print the map via our website (available from 31 May).

    This year artists are offering sound clips with short interviews. They can be accessed via the QR code on the artists' studio signs, by scanning the QR code with your phone. Do bring your earphones, if you would like to listen.

  • The Rijksakademie is located in the former Kavallerie-Kazerne, near the centre of Amsterdam. The building is situated next to the Muiderpoort, close to the Tropenmuseum and ARTIS and within easy reach of the NS stations.

    The Weesperplein Metro station is a 7-minute walk from the Rijksakademie. Tram 7, 14 and 19 stop in front of the door (Alexanderplein stop). Find more detailed directions at the bottom of our contact page.

    Please note that there is no possibility to park your car or bike on our premises.

    There is wheelchair access to the greater part of the building.

    If you need assistance during your visit, you can reach out to us at openstudios@rijksakademie.nl. We will then contact you about the possibilities of providing you with the appropriate support.

  • Important notice for people who will visit 2 June in the afternoon:

    It’s the 22 edition of KinderBeestFeest organised by ARTIS for children who a chronically ill. Therefor acces with public transport is limited between 16.00-18.00

    • Between 16:00 and 23:00, tram line 14 between Alexanderplein and Rembrandtplein will be diverted via Frederiksplein.
    • Between 16:00 and 23:00, Plantage Middenlaan, Plantage Kerklaan, Plantage Doklaan and Henri Polaklaan will be closed to all traffic, including cyclists.
    • Between 12.00 and 23.00, parking is prohibited on Plantage Middenlaan and Plantage Kerklaan. This parking ban concerns all parking spaces on both of these roads.


BarExitEntranceBarStart routeWC44*Martin Toloku14*Moe Satt35*Annelies Kamen to 2ndfloorWCLiftLockersABookshop43Hsu Che-Yu42Vince Donders32Yun Choi33Peng ZhangISocial Practice Workshop36Vibeke Mascini35Annelies Kamen46Susanne Khalil Yusef44Martin Toloku41Miloš Trakilović40Cihad Caner39Rossella Nisio34Selma Selman48Ai Ozaki45Tewa Barnosa47Lisette de Greeuw WC Liftvia groundfloorvia groundfloor31Reyhan LálCThe CinemaJChildren’s Studio38Vita Buivid37Jacky ConnollyBThe Venice Editions WCWCWCtogroundfloorLiftWC19Mikołaj Sobczak18Abul Hisham16Shaun Motsi17Fransix Tenda Lomba17*Fransix Tenda Lomba15*Fiona Lutjenhuis18*Abul Hisham19*Mikołaj Sobczak23**Timo Demollin15Fiona Lutjenhuis14Moe Satt13Katarina Jazbec12Ola Hassanain11Noor Abed10Zeynep Kayan8Zauri Matikashvili7Natalia Papaeva5Jota Mombaça4Amol K Patil3Karel van Laere2Kahee Jeong20Daniel VorthuysFGroup presentationEGroup presentation6eva susova9Peng Zuqiang1Juan Arturo García 6*eva susova24Mandy Franca22Danae Tapia30Agnes Waruguru28Rajyashri Goody27Benjamin Li25Ayşen Kaptanoğlu26Tom K Kemp25*Ayşen Kaptanoğlu23Timo Demollin21Winnie Herbstein26*Tom K KempDTalks GPerformances29Ali Eslami HPerformances
  • All artist presentations are numbered from 1–48 and form a route throughout the building. Follow the signage, and you won't miss a studio.

  • During Open Studios several resident artists also present films and video work outside of their studios. They will be presented in the Open Studios Film Programme at The Cinema (C on the map).

    The comprehensive performance programme mainly takes place in the Performance Spaces (G and H on the map), and in the artist’s studios. A few resident artists present a talk. These will take place in our daylight studio (D on the map). You can find a daily schedule at the entrance and online.

    Recent guest residents, Julia Janssen, Aram Lee, Woong Yong Kim and Taiki Sakpisit will contribute to the film, performance and talks programme.

  • On the Saturdays and Sundays from 12.00 to 17.00 children between 4 and 12 years old can get creative in the Children’s Studio (J on the map), hosted by NDSM Kinderatelier. Admission is free.

  • On the Saturdays and Sunday you can join a guided art mediation tour. The tours will depart from the central entrance area every hour, on the hour, and take about 45 minutes. Admission is free.

  • In the Social Practice Workshop, several presentations from the Rijksakademie’s social practice workshop are on view (I on the map).

  • In the Book & Gift shop (A on the map), publications and multiples by residents and alumni are for sale. Also, art bookstore San Serriffe offers a selection of their stock.

  • During Open Studios, the Rijksakademie presents ‘The Venice Editions’, with new work by Rijksakademie alumni Monira Al Qadiri, Simnikiwe Buhlungu, Mire Lee, Janis Rafa and Müge Yilmaz who participated in the main exhibition of the 59th Venice Biennale: ‘The Milk of Dreams’.

    This is the second set of artist editions which recognises the presence of Rijksakademie alumni in the international art field. All proceeds benefit the Artist Endowment Fund, which continues to provide the working budgets of current resident artists. Curated by Aveline de Bruin, the works are on view on location B.

    Interested? Please contact us for more information: edition@rijksakademie.nl

  • Rijksakademie Open Studios kicks off during Amsterdam Art Week that turns the capital into an international hub for art lovers, collectors, art professionals and promising and renowned artists.

    For five days, you get to know the latest developments in contemporary art at the more than 50 participating galleries, project spaces, museums and residencies. They will present a varied programme of exhibitions, performances, screenings, lectures and artists' talks.

    The 11th edition of Amsterdam Art Week will take place from 31 May to 4 June 2023.

  • A big thank you to our main partner Ammodo, Chateau Amsterdam, CoffeeClick, De Gijselaar-Hintzenfonds, Fonds 21, Jajem, Gravin van Bylandt Stichting, Hinderrust Fonds, Squaredcircle, Stokroos and Oedipus Brewing for making the Open Studios possible.

  • Our house rules apply to all visitors to the Rijksakademie during Open Studios.

    The Rijksakademie wants to be a safe place for everyone, regardless of gender identity, sexual preference, origin or religion. We therefore do not accept sexual harassment, annoying behaviour, aggression, racism or discrimination.

    Visitors should be in possession of a valid admission ticket.

    Visitors should make themselves aware of additional public announcements in and around the building.

    On the grounds of the Rijksakademie it is not allowed to:

    • Smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes inside the building,
    • Being under the influence of too much alcohol,
    • Possessing or using soft or hard drugs, or dealing in soft and hard drugs,
    • Possessing weapons, dangerous/sharp objects, nitrous oxide, or other objects or substances that may be a nuisance,
    • Committing theft or vandalism,
    • Use (professional) image or sound recording equipment for recordings for internet, radio and / or TV broadcasting purposes without prior permission,
    • Distributing flyers or other promotional material in and around the building without permission,
    • Taking glasses or bottles, with or without drinks, outside,
    • Bringing your own refreshments,
    • Bringing animals (with the exception of service animals).

    If the visitor violates the house rules and/or instructions of the Rijksakademie team in any way, the visitor may be denied (further) access to the Rijksakademie building, without the visitor being entitled to a refund of any fee.

    We ask you to be considerate of our neighbours when entering and leaving our building.

    We may in some cases make visual and/or sound recordings of our programmes and their visitors. When visiting the Rijksakademie, you grant us permission to make and distribute these recordings and waive portrait rights, without any compensation being due to us.

    We are only liable for damage (including loss and theft) or inflicted injury if this is a direct consequence of gross negligence on the part of the Rijksakademie and/or its team.

    The Rijksakademie is never liable for damage suffered as a result of force majeure on the part of the Rijksakademie.

    Any damage incurred will be recovered from the person responsible.

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