A Tale of a Tub opens under new directorship on 1 September 2019. We are pleased to announce that Julia Geerlings and Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk are our new director team. 

With the arrival of Lekkerkerk and Geerlings, the investigative and critical attitude of A Tale of a Tub is continued, where questions around the relationship between art and social developments take centre stage. Lekkerkerk and Geerlings have extensive experience as exhibition makers both at home and abroad. Julia Geerlings (1985, NL) focuses on forms of curating in which a direct relationship with the urban environment is central. Many of her projects take shape at unusual locations, such as churches (Oude Kerk, Amsterdam), a garage (Le Moins un, Paris), former military fortress (Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen) and a Gothic town hall (Vleeshal, Middelburg). Geerlings also brings her extensive experience in public programming. Like the performance programme Nachtelijke Dwalingen at Oude Kerk Amsterdam (2013-2016) and most recently, the video programme Vidéo Fatale (2018) at Mains d’Œuvres. For the past seven years, Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk (1988, NL) has worked as a curator and writer for The Office for Curating in Rotterdam. He has realised numerous exhibitions in which, particularly in recent years, themes such as climate change, post-humanism and the intertwining of culture and nature are viewed through the perspective of art. Between 2015 and 2016, Lekkerkerk was a Curatorial Fellow at TENT Rotterdam. From 2016 to 2019, he was Artistic Director of POPPOSITIONS in Brussels. Together, Geerlings en Lekkerkerk curated Almende, The Second Triennial of Beetsterzwaag, organised by Kunsthuis SYB in 2018. Lekkerkerk is looking forward to getting started in his own city, while Geerlings is looking forward to moving with her family to Rotterdam from her current residence in Paris.

Geerlings and Lekkerkerk: ‘We are very enthusiastic about our appointment as the new directors. Over the past five years, founders and directors Nathanja van Dijk and Suzanne Wallinga have worked with incredible dedication to establish the solid foundation for an internationally recognised exhibition and event programme, that is as keenly aware of new developments as it is engaging. We will continue to build on this programme and on A Tale of a Tub’s position as an art institution within Rotterdam, while not losing sight of its international focus. We are expanding the regular programming and will embed this further into the local context of the city and the residential area of Spangen. We look forward to working with artists and the dedicated team of A Tale of a Tub to realise our plans.’

Van Dijk and Wallinga: ‘What brought us together is our love for art and asking critical questions. Set in the beautiful bathhouse of the Justus van Effen complex, since 2014, we have curated exhibitions with the aim to engage our audience in contemporary developments within the arts and our current times. To achieve this we collaborated with artists from across the world to connect topics of international importance with the local, Dutch reality. From the outset, we felt very much included in Rotterdam’s cultural scene. We are very pleased to have an attentive audience following our projects. We are incredibly grateful for the support we have received from multiple funds and donors, enabling us to establish the institution and further realise our plans. Since 2017, A Tale of a Tub has been included in the Culture Plan of the Municipality of Rotterdam: a huge recognition. The recently awarded multi-year contribution from the Mondriaan Fund enables A Tale of a Tub to realise our broader ambitions and our plans to strengthen the institution’s role within the neighbourhood. With the appointment of Niekolaas and Julia, we pass on A Tale of a Tub in an excellent way. We very much look forward to their programming plans! Our sense of loyalty and involvement with A Tale of a Tub remains ongoing.’

On behalf of the Supervisory Board, Inge van der Vlies asserts that the founding team has made a success story of A Tale of a Tub, and has full confidence that the continuity of this is guaranteed by the appointment of Lekkerkerk and Geerlings. ‘The management of A Tale of a Tub is making steady development. Carolyn Drake Kandiyoti and Fleur van Muiswinkel collaborated with the current directorship in establishing the name and fame of A Tale of a Tub, together with a substantial team of employees and, not least, its volunteers who have been working with the institution over the years. The great merit of A Tale of a Tub so far is to offer solid grounds for experimentation in the arts and the promotion of international exchange. This is always founded on socially relevant concerns. Focus is given to themes that go beyond the topic of the day. In this way, A Tale of a Tub not only makes a relevant contribution to the current, international art discourse, but has also earned its own place within the Rotterdam landscape. We look forward to working with the new directors, and expect that we will, again, often be surprised by the enormous achievements of this strong-minded organisation.’

Julia Geerlings (1985, NL) is an independent curator and writer based in Amsterdam and Paris. Her curatorial work focuses on the presentation of contemporary art in unusual locations, such as a medieval church, canal house, brutalist church, garage, shop window and a former WWI military fort. Her curatorial practice has been influenced by the notions of ‘context responsive curating,’ in which the location and context (social, economic and political aspects) are considered. 

She organized the performance program Nachtelijke Dwalingen at Oude Kerk Amsterdam (2013-2016) and exhibitions at Kunsthuis SYB in Beetsterzwaag (Almende – The Second Triennial of Beetsterzwaag, 2018), Mains d’Œuvres in Paris (Vidéo Fatale, 2018), Thkio Ppalies in Nicosia (Communicating Vessels, 2017), Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen (The Prophecy of Bees en Bedazzle, 2016), Le Moinsun in Paris (Axis Mundi, art as a healing tool, 2015), After Hours in Sèvres (L’Eau à la bouche, 2015) and the graduation exhibitions of HKU Graphic Design since 2016. She was a curator-in-residence at Rupert in Vilnius, Across Residencies in Nice, The International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York, Mains d’Œuvres in Saint-Ouen, and soon at Cité des Art (Atelier Holsboer) in Paris. Momentarily she works, among other functions, as a guest tutor for HKU, as advisor for Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, as committee member of the CBK Research and Development Grant, and as guest curator for De Vleeshal Middelburg and CAPA – Centre d’arts plastiques d’Aubervilliers. 

In the past seven years Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk (1988, NL) has worked as a Curator and Writer for The Office for Curating in Rotterdam. Additionally he has maintained different institutional affiliations, as TENT Curatorial Fellow (2015-2016) in Rotterdam, and as the Artistic Director of POPPOSITIONS (2016-2019) in Brussels. Central to Lekkerkerk’s curatorial work are social and political discourses revolving around daily living and working practices, cultural norms, and ideologies. He particularly focuses on debates concerning the Anthropocene, ecology and climate, post-humanism, and the increasing entanglement between nature and culture. Lekkerkerk recently published The Standard Book of Noun-Verb Exhibition Grammar (Onomatopee, 2018), a publication regarding the exhibition as an ecological assemblage. In 2012 he received the inaugural Demergon Curatorial Award, and in 2014 he was the beneficiary of the Akbank Sanat International Curator Competition. 

Recent projects and exhibitions curated and organized by Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk are the eighth edition of POPPOSITIONS entitled Capital of Woke (2019) at Centre Tour à Plomp, Brussels; the group exhibition Archipelago – A Problem (On Exactitude in Science) (2018) at Tlön Projects, The Hague; the group exhibition Almende – The Second Triennial of Beetsterzwaag (2018) for Kunsthuis SYB, Beetsterzwaag, in collaboration with Julia Geerlings; the seventh edition of POPPOSITIONS entitled In Watermelon Sugar (2018) at Former Atelier Coppens, Brussels; a parcours of sculptural works and installations for the Open Air section at Art Rotterdam 2018; the group exhibition Psychosculptural Aesthetics (2017) at Rianne Groen, Rotterdam; the solo exhibition Elements of Peaceful Engagement (2017) with Marlena Kudlicka at Zak|Branicka, Berlin; the duo exhibition Homestead of Dilution (2017) with Domenico Mangano and Marieke van Rooy at Nomas, Rome; the sixth edition of POPPOSITIONS entitled Don’t Agonize, Organize! (2017) at ING Art Center, Brussels. 

foto by Kelly-Ann van Stevenick

A Tale of a Tub 

Justus van Effenstraat 44

3027 TK Rotterdam


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