New exhibition in Museum Hilversum breaks the cliché image of China

Ruben Terlou presents contemporary China with his exhibition Dwars door China. He shows how the Chinese arm themselves against the loss brought by modernization and how they go along with the opportunities offered. From 31 March to 27 May, Museum Hilversum will be completely dedicated to the latest work by the award-winning documentary photographer Terlou. At the same time, the videos The Massage is the Medium and A Call by the Chinese artist Yin Aiwen are shown in the project hall.

Today’s China

In addition to futuristic metropolises, China also includes special historical heritage and age-old traditions. A country with many views and cultures, but also a country that is changing rapidly. Terlou who is praised a lot for his TV documentary series Through the heart of China, also captured the country with his photo camera. ‘In the exhibition Dwars door China, with images in which people stand central, I want to give an impression of the developments in today’s China,’ says Terlou.


Terlou approaches China in a personal way, he speaks the Chinese language and is curious about what the Chinese think, feel and experience. His artistic talent lies in his ability to penetrate to the core. ‘He has his own style of photographing’, says museum director Stef van Breugel. ‘In his photography he searches for compositions of people and landscapes that can be compared to film scenes. Sometimes as in a spectacle to show us the development and sometimes he brings his camera close to the people.’ In the exhibition he breaks through the cliché image that we usually have of China. He leaves the judgement of the progress of modern China or the price paid for it to the public.

Video art

In addition to the images of Terlou that have not been shown before, two video installations by the Chinese artist Yin Aiwen can be seen in the project hall of the museum.
The Canadian professor and philosopher Marshall McLuhan claimed ‘the medium is the massage’. As an extension of man the medium comforts you, it convinces you, manipulates you, controls you. The situation is now reversed – under the spell of the medium, man has become the extension of the machine. The ‘Massage is the Medium’ (按摩 即 媒介) invites you to a reverse experience.
The impressive short film A Call (呼叫 中心) is a letter to an impossible love. It questions our current struggles with love and tries to give a ‘solution’.


Location and opening time

The exhibition was developed in collaboration with CinemAsia, Sony and VPRO and is open every day from 11:00 to 17:00 from 31 March to 27 May.
With the exception of 1st Easter Day, on 1 April the museum is open from 12: 00-16: 00.

Museum Hilversum, Kerkbrink 6 in Hilversum
Closed on: Kingsday (27 April) and first Pentecost (20 May)
Entrance: Museum card Free | Adult € 6,00 | From 12 till 18 years € 3,30 | Children up to 11 years Free | Senior 65+ € 5,00 | CJP/CKV € 3,30

Ruben Terlou

Ruben Terlou studied Mandarin in China and Medicine at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Before, during and after his studies he was active as a photographer, especially in China and Afghanistan. With his series he won several prizes at the Silver Camera and in 2016 he received the Prize for Innovative Photojournalism. Since 2016, Terlou is a board member of CinemAsia.

Yin Aiwen

Yin Aiwen is a designer, writer, filmmaker and curator. From her work she focuses on how technology and politics influence designs that lead to new ways to shape our social environment and private life. She received her Master Design in 2013 at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam and her Bachelor’s at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology. Afterwards she was a researcher at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow and The Recalibrated Institute in South Florida. Since 2015 she has been giving guest lectures at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.