Have you ever heard of pilgrim badges? They are centuries-old pewter brooches depicting a variety of subjects: from the religious to the obscene, including penises and vaginas with wings, beards and legs. In the Middle Ages these inexpensive, mass-produced badges were worn by all levels of society in Western Europe. What did the wearers want to communicate? And what relevance does this almost-forgotten visual culture have for us today? We will be looking for answers to these questions during the exhibition with the help of social media.

Zeeland’s clay

Pilgrim badges, hundreds of which have been assembled for this exhibition, are found in Zeeland in surprisingly large numbers. This is no coincidence: Zeeland’s clay provides an excellent environment for the preservation of the metal from which these badges were made.

The artists

In Sign of the Times we will compare medieval and contemporary ways of communicating with images. Today images can be reproduced and spread via the internet with mindboggling speed. Specially for the exhibition, three artists who work with new media - Dennis de Bel, Roel Roscam Abbing and Constant Dullaart – will establish new connections between mediaeval and contemporary visual culture.

This exhibition has been realised in partnership with Kunera, the research group devoted to medieval badges at the Radboud University in Nijmegen.