4 PM, 28/02/10, Mediamatic: Bardot Proviant Klub Exhibition, Amsterdam,
It is cold and rainy.
I park my bike against one of the glass showcases.
Photo frames with pictures of people, who’s characteristic features I never seen before, catch my attention. Who are they and why are they here, in these little rooms of glass?
I realised it is part of an art exhibition.
When I enter the exhibition space, a peculiar and indefinable smell strikes me. Cooked meat and human sweat…
The exhibition space is big, I guess 160 m². No carpet on the floor, but a hard, cold and raw surface.
The lighting is bright and makes me squeeze my eyes. It gives the space a cold blue-violet glow.
When I look around, I notice that the walls are covered with huge landscape-images from a cold and icy country. On these walls are some small white digital flat-screens. It fits colour-wise perfectly, partly because they beam this bluish light.
Visitors stand in front of the small screens. It looks as if they are frozen. But they are mesmerized by the sounds they hear from the headphones, which are attached to the screens.
I am experiencing the silence, but I do not feel uncomfortable. I feel excited, and hope for a surprise.
When I walk further, I almost stumble over white massive rectangular rocks. In this surrounding they have a resemblance to snow blocks. In fact they are made out of styrofoam and stone. When I reach the middle of the space, a construction is made of these same stony blocks of snow, in a way that Eskimos build an igloo. Coming closer, I see a large white square table, surrounded by transparent curtains. Despite the soft white pillows around the table I do not feel invited to sit down. It looks like they are reserved for a more selected group of people, who would discuss all kinds of mysterious issues, not intended for my ears.
I continue my exploration and observe these huge white posters hanging everywhere, from the ceiling to the floor, covering my field of vision. Text is printed on these posters, in this recognizable Georgia type font. I must manoeuvre to continue walking along, until I reach a wall, forcing me to turn around, and go back.
When I turn around, I am confronted with big colourful portraits on the back of the posters.
I feel intimidated. The portraits are watching me from an air of authority. I get goosebumps. Perhaps because they all hold a gun combined with pictures of dogs. Not the kind of dog we know as loving pets, but ferocious wolf-like dogs. I have to pass close to the poster to reach the exit. Now the big wallpapers also look more imposing and frightening. I suddenly feel very empty, and can imagine how it must feel to live in this environment where nature dominates.
These people, I previously looked upon as strangers, gave a self-styled identity through this
exhibition space, by filling the room with pictures of themselves and their environment,
personal stories and texts.
I walk out, grab my bike, and enjoy the rain.
Text & image by Marieke Bijster