Aernout Mik – Flock

April 12 - May 18, 2003
Curator: Richard Julin

Aernout Mik

Born 1962 in the Netherlands

Flock, 2002
video installation

The titles of Aernout Mik’s works are descriptive, stating a fact without providing further clues. A Small Group Falling, Float, Garage and 3 Laughing and 4 Crying are some examples. The work Flock consists of two projections, showing a group of people in an indefinable room. Among the people, there are also some goats, one of which turns out to be a robot. The participants in the film appear to be waiting for someone, or something. They speak on the telephone, fall asleep, and become agitated. The scene may give rise to associations to images of refugee camps. The atmosphere is characterized by a passive presence in a no man’s land. The content of Aernout Mik’s films can be described as circumstances in which we are unsure of what is taking place and why the characters have been placed in the present situation.

Mik rearranges the spaces in which he shows his video projections, often by making small adjustments that change the character of the room. The characters on the screen are nearly life-size. Mik creates a relationship between them and the viewer, and between the actual environment and the depicted one, thus juxtaposing them.

A recurring theme in Mik’s films is silence, and the looped format. The scenery is often reminiscent of stage design. In his works, soil falls from above, rooms are filled with polystyrene or bubbles, floors shake, objects fly from nowhere, and interiors fall apart. The viewer follows the course of events, which resembles a game with unfamiliar rules. The logic of the action remains incomprehensible. Frédéric Paul writes under the title “Confusing sensations” in conjunction with the 2001 Venice Biennale: “What Mik’s works shows us are physical or emotional states, i.e. sensations or feelings, rather than sequences ordered by a linear narrative.” and Paul comments on Mik “…he’s an observer of human behavior. The uniform, the mannequin, the robot, these are his researcher tools.”

Aernout Mik is one of the young Dutch artists of today who has received most attention. He lives and works in Amsterdam and Berlin. In 1997 he participated in the Venice Biennale, and in 2000 he had a solo exhibition at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. During this year he has had and will have solo exhibitions at Haus der Kunst, Munich, The Project, Los Angeles, Pori Art Museum, Finland, Frac Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France. In Sweden he has previously been shown at Galleri Index, Stockholm. The work Flock is part of the Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall collection.

All quotes from Paul, Frédéric, Confusing sensations in Post-Nature Nine Dutch Artists, Biennale di Venezia 2001, ed. Jaap Guldemond & Marente Bloemheuvel, Stedelijk van Abbemuseum Eindhoven (the Netherlands, 2001)

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