Cyprus – A Dynamic Island

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, 2019

About the exhibition design

CyprusA Dynamic Island tells the story of an island with over 12,000 years of history and culture.
It was one of the most important hubs of ancient cultures in the Mediterranean. Thanks to its strategic location, the island has been at the center of constant movements of people, sovereigns, religions and exchanges of goods.

This dynamic scenario takes place on the background of the perennial nature of the island, brilliantly captured by photographer Natascha Libbert for the exhibition, where visitors can stroll through the timeless landscape. Mounted on coulisse-like, curved walls, inspired by photo studio and theater, the landscape photography as backdrop for the ancient objects works magically. The round shape suggests endlessness, the illusion of landscape. Cleverly bypassing the cliché of touristic pictures, there is no horizon or blue sky: the photographs are of an abstract beauty, fitting the curved shape and the scale of the exhibition walls and guiding the visitor through themes and spheres within the space. They inevitably infuse the viewer with ideas of power, prosperity, sanctity, devotion, purity, fertility, playfulness, creativity and productivity that all belong to the dynamic Cypriot culture. Film projections on the backside of showcases create gently moving settings for the artworks.

Hinting at scenes with bright Mediterranean daylight all exhibition elements are held strictly white, enhancing both the colorful objects and the imagery. The architectural and photographic dynamism of the space is being further amplified by a multilayered spatial arrangement of various exhibition texts.
In CyprusA Dynamic Island, the compelling combination of photographic imagery and archeological collection puts the objects in the context of their origin and shows the exceptional beauty of Cypriot art. A constantly changing spatial setup along the visitors’ routing with the powerful yet spiritual calm and timelessness of the imagery make for an exciting and mesmerizing experience.
The exhibition was rewarded with the highest visitors’ appreciation (9.2) the museum had ever received.

Exhibition guides


Cyprus – Eiland in beweging / A Dynamic Island
Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden

11 October 2019 – 15 March 2020

Spatial design Archetypisch, Amsterdam
Graphic design Kathrin Hero, Amsterdam
Art photography Natascha Libbert, Amsterdam

Concept and selection Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Department of Antiquities, Cyprus
Construction Fiction Factory
Audiovisuals Menno Schrap
Printing Riwi Collotype, Watjeziet
Print Guides Selfprint
Photos documentation Natascha Libbert, Rob Overmeer, Kathrin Hero