The story of the collection

The LIMA collection is a reflection of the turbulent history of media art. In addition to the now defunct Netherlands Media Art Institute’s collection (NIMk), LIMA houses the collections of other institutions including the Lijnbaan Center, MonteVideo, Time Based Arts and de Appel. This practice of combining well-known and lesser known talent from the 1970’s along with the varied genres of performance art, media installations and video art ensures the collection’s surprising diversity.

In the early 1970’s, renowned artists like Bill Viola, Nam June Paik and Gary Hill began working with video. Their work and the works of several internationally known Dutch artists like Marinus Boezem, Jan van Munster and Pieter Engels who also experimented briefly with the medium in the 1970’s, became part of the MonteVideo collection in the germinal stage. Well before the first established institutions began collecting video art, various small-scale centers emerged at different locations around the Netherlands. These by and for artist centers provided facilities and helped to promote the use of video. The earliest examples of this were Agora Studios in Maastricht, the Lijnbaan Center in Rotterdam and individuals such as artists Miguel-Ángel Cárdenas and Jack Moore in Amsterdam. Cardenas and Moore also made their cameras available to other artists. Many of the works made in this early period of Dutch video art, remained obscure and did not surface until the 1990’s. When the works did resurface, some surprising discoveries were made including work from Dennis Oppenheim, Terry Fox, Wim Gijzen, Nan Hoover and Tajiri.


Movement in Light, Nan Hoover, 1976, 3'57''

De Appel’s enormously rich collection of performance registrations on video has significantly expanded LIMA’s collection. De Appel flourished in the 1970’s as one of the most progressive international sites for performance art. This institution’s collection contained unique works by Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Gina Pane, Carolee Schneemann and others. In addition to the registration of events in her own gallery, Wies Smals, the founder of de Appel, also built a collection of international video art enabling the Dutch public to become acquainted with what was happening world wide. Her collection included work by Douglas Davis, Ulrike Rosenbach, Joan Jonas and Alison Knowles.

In the early 1980’s, with de Appel as its base of operations, an association for video artists was established which later became known as the Time Based Arts Foundation. The collection of this artist association included works by artists based in the Netherlands at the time: Abramovic/Ulay, Stansfield/Hooykaas, Ben d’Armagnac, Christine Chiffrun and Lydia Schouten plus work by international artists such as Mona Hatoum and General Idea. Time Based Arts maintained an active collection policy in which any artist who worked with video could attempt to have his or her work included in the collection. As it grew, the collection became exceedingly diverse and represented a substantial overview of the various uses of video in the visual arts. Right up until the 1990’s, Time Based Arts played an important role in the collection, distribution and support of video art until eventually merging, under pressure from the Amsterdam City Council, with MonteVideo in 1994.


Test Tube, General Idea, 1979, 28'08''

The video gallery of MonteVideo was founded by René Coelho in 1978. In establishing MonteVideo, Coelho laid the groundwork for the Netherlands Media Art Institute (NIMk/MonteVideo/Time Based Art). MonteVideo specialised in electronic art and more specifically in video art and media installations that pushed the boundaries of the creative possibilities and technical qualities of the medium itself. An important impetus and inspiration for establishing the institution was the work of Dutch video pioneer Livinus van de Bundt. Bundt was subsequently the first artist to have work exhibited in the gallery. The Vasulkas, Bert Schutter, Peter Bogers, Matthew Schlanger and many others soon followed. In addition to the works that were meant to be shown in the gallery, MonteVideo started actively collecting and distributing works of some highly prominent artists. Gary Hill, Shelly Silver and Gabor Body are but a few artists who were actively represented and who had works affiliated with MonteVideo.


Electromagnetic Objects, Woody Vasulka, 1975 - 2006, 33'58''

Current collections and activities

Up until the end of 2012 NIMk played an important role in the production, collection, distribution and preservation of media art. Due to budget cuts, NIMk had to close its doors on the 1st of January 2013. From that day on LIMA became the international platform for sustainable access to media art. Experts from the former Netherlands Media Art Institute dedicated to providing continued, long-term access to works of media art, established the independent foundation LIMA.

The LIMA distribution collection is an amalgamation of a selection of more recent video works and installations encompassing the various abovementioned collections. Presently, the collection consists of a balance between international and national artists. In terms of content, the collection focuses on major themes within media art: works that comment upon (mass) communication and (mass) media, (performance) registrations, medium-specific works and narrative video art.

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