Touch, Rise and Fall
Plywood Dwelling (in collaboration with Marjoleine Boonstra)
Dutch artist Aernout Mik returns to The Project for his third solo exhibition—his second in the New York gallery. Concurrent with his solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Mik will exhibit two multi-channel video installations. Characterized by their elaborate architectural structures and surreal content, the works display a profound and unforgettable presence. Devoid of linear narrative structure, the people that populate Mik’s bizarre psycho-dramas either act out a series of mundane actions such as walking, talking, and sleeping, or display extreme emotional states; often there is no real interaction between the individuals—each acts independently of the other as if in a vacuum. The actions are scripted within the close confines of the set and recorded within the strict framing and movement of the camera; slow tracking shots supply context and distance while close-ups provide detail and a more intense relationship with the image. The absence of any plot development, climax, or conclusion frustrates comprehension and compels viewers to question their own patterns of social behavior and sense of reality.
First exhibited in Prospect.1, the New Orleans Biennial in 2008, Touch, Rise and Fall (2008) is a two-channel video installation that examines the operations happening in and around the airport security check point. A continous cycle of degrading and upgrading of goods and people. Images of individuals shopping are juxtaposed with meticulous luggage searches, while fatigued passengers in the waiting areas are contrasted with rowdy security staff on their break. A sense of helplessness and desperation, as well as the dwindling of authoritarian control, looms over this scene. Plywood Dwelling (2009), which was made in collaboration with Marjoleine Boonstra, is an eight-channel video installation that was filmed in the sleeping quarters of a small Chinese factory. Carefully monitoring the events happening in the corridor and adjacent bedrooms which are constructed out of unfinished plywood, the individuals intermingle without any privacy. Moving through empty corridors and crowded rooms, Mik and Boonstra contemplate how the human body subsists in its architectural environment. This project was realized with financial support from the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam.