Leaves and a feather dancing in the wind, flowers in bloom, and a girl performing a handstand: the works of Marijke van Warmerdam explore simple things in a remarkable way. Born in 1959, Van Warmerdam lives and works in Amsterdam and Karlsruhe. She constructs images and uses photographic and filming techniques in a way that opens up unexpected perspectives and accentuates the quiet beauty of small things.
The artist is best known for her short, looped recordings. The Kunsthalle will be showing some of her well-known films such as Handstand (1992), Skytypers (1997), and Couple (2010) as projections. Alongside her videos and films, the artist will also be exhibiting sculptures and film stills printed on canvas and partially painted with acrylics.
Van Warmerdam does not tell stories in her work. Instead, she relies on the visual power of her motifs: a falling drop of milk that slowly dissipates in a glass of water in Dream Machine (2006), or the autumn leaves carried along by light gusts of wind through an abandoned industrial landscape in Wind (2010).
Combining sound with autonomous sculpture is a new approach for the artist. Until now, she has mainly relied on the symbiosis between sound and title to produce powerful pictures. But the architecture of the spaces where her works are placed also serve as inspiration – for example in “New balls, please!”, a work specially created for this exhibition, a zigzag front and vibrating windows interact with the hugely expansive window frontage in the Kunsthalle’s Seitenlichtsaal.
By freeing commonplace objects from their everyday context, Van Warmerdam reveals unusual ways of seeing and experiencing the world. The endlessly repeating looped films have a hypnotic effect. Van Warmerdam’s works evoke multiple layers of reality and lead us to the boundary between dreams and the real world. With a veneer of lightness, her works include subtle interventions like tilts, twists, turns and reflections that present us with new ways of seeing. These often minimal changes ultimately encourage us to move through the world a little more attentively, with our eyes a little wider open.
The exhibition and catalogue have been produced in cooperation with Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.