Public opening: July 6, 19:00 – 22:00
General opening hours: Daily from 10:00 – 17:00 (closed Mondays)
Events program: read below
Music: / central.disko
Drinks:  Nieuwe Café

With works by: Isabella Fiorante, Ruth Gonzalez, Andreas Höfert, Daniël De Jong, Maya Kumari, Blise Orr, Pascale Ritter, Paulina Sycha, Julia Woch, Miriam Zanzinger

Anything that is alive cannot be in the gallery space features the graduation works of designers from the Master Interior Architecture: Research + Design program at the Piet Zwart Institute. The title of the exhibition is humorously derived from the building guidelines of Nieuwe Instituut, which regulate the use of live uncontained materials in gallery exhibitions, as a protective measure for the archives and exhibition spaces below. The exhibition becomes a mediator that explores the subtleties of the threshold between alive and non-alive. These works transform the gallery space into one in which everything inside is allowed to shift, change, rot, or regrow with time. In doing so, Anything that is alive cannot be in the gallery space asks what is given the agency of being alive?

The projects in the exhibition dismantle fixed and biased systems present in socio-cultural conditions. The research that supports the works dissects separations and unequal distributions through themes of disembodiment, labour, commodity, power, agency, food and land rights, and access, which are not separate from racism, sexism, and capitalist and colonialist infrastructures. Through the use of archival materials, empirical research, interviews, personal narratives, and spatial experiments, the works aim to challenge normative institutions and social infrastructures —designing spaces that exist beyond established frameworks.

Integrated into the exhibition is a small library of books, articles, and assorted readings written by the featured designers as well as external authors that relate to themes explored in the works. As a research-driven course, the library brings essential insight into the extensive investigations and explorations behind the design interventions being showcased.

Events Program:
A parallel component of the exhibition is a series of designer-led workshops that bring another layer of understanding to the works and research showcased in Anything that is alive cannot be in the gallery space. The schedule of events is listed below.

Friday, 7 July 2023
11:00  – 12:00 – Collective performance with Ruth Gonzalez
A guided improvisation with a focus on the movement of the head when being held by someone else.
What to bring: Comfortable clothes to move freely in.
Meeting point: Nieuwe Instituut Garden
13:00 – 13:30 – Adding to the database: Audio Tour with Blise Orr

Experience how archiving in relation to the natural world is changing and take a breath with others to experience a ‘collective moment’
What to bring:  Mobile device and headphones
Meeting point: Nieuwe Instituut Garden beside the library
*An audio device can be provided in limited supply so please sign up via a confirmation email to

Saturday, 8 July 2023
13:00 – 14:30 – Collective Sewing Workshop with Paulina Sycha
Meeting point: Gallery 3, third corridor

Sunday, 9 July 2023
13:00 – 14:30 – Collective Sewing Workshop with Paulina Sycha
Meeting point – Gallery 3, third corridor

Image: Moving image by Paulina Sycha & Daniël de Jong. Typeface: Fungal (2022) by Raphaël Bastide
Photography: Chiara Catalina