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AERNOUT MIK
A SWARM OF TWO


3 – 31 JULY 2020

Aernout Mik trained as a sculptor, yet soon turned to complex video installations allowing for a more physical interaction between the viewers and his fictional reconstruction of plausible socio-political events, as if the sculpture unfolded into a live situation. From financial crashes to terrorist attacks and nuclear disasters, Mik focuses on the outburst of a crisis, and how the upending of the outer world produces power shifts among competitive groups of people, breaking the supposedly solid edifice of our society. Embracing a quasi-documentary approach, each artwork is imbued with an air of menace and, contrary to most cinematic experience, does not provide resolution. Rather, the emotionally charged narrative emphasizes latent ambiguities, juxtaposing a normal system and its distinct opposite, and explores the liminal space between action and stagnation, where contradictory behaviors conjure a possible paralysis. Furthermore, there is no psychological access to the characters and the storyline does not follow a chronology. What makes it even more labyrinthine, besides an obvious matter of repetition, are the fragmented viewpoints that allude to the presence of security cameras or witnesses like media reporters and the visitors themselves. The outcome is surreal, but hypnotic and fairly convincing, causing unease. Mik reveals how each advancement of civilization is accompanied by a downside, and ultimately will reaffirm the cyclical nature of human existence.



A swarm of two (2017) follows two pairs of police officers walking the beat on a shopping street of an anonymous town at night, when all is closed and no one is around. They wear anti-riot uniforms, and they represent an ordinary viewing experience in public spaces since the decision of most European governments few years ago to extend security in response to increasing terrorist attacks. Yet their behavior is all but reassuring, and the absence of sound contributes to amplifying the sense of absurdity and incoherence of their restless performance. As the two-channeled video progresses, their identity and behavior are not tuned anymore, as if Aernout Mik was trying to expose the gap between reality and expectation, but also the two-sided relationship between security and violence. At the beginning, the policemen patrol the street, crawl against a wall and shelter behind a garbage can, exercising strict control on each other and over their own bodies. Until a sense of chaos kicks in, and they act like protesters, homeless people, even lovers, while showing alarming signs of post traumatic-stress disorder. Their cry of pain cannot be heard, but it penetrates the scene. All of a sudden, the promise of protection that justified their presence and surveillance feels very fragile.




Aernout Mik
A Swarm of Two
2017
2 channel video installation, 27’ 38’’
Courtesy the artist and carlier I gebauer, Berlin / Madrid

THE EYE OF THE STORM – USER MANUAL


The Eye of the Storm is Blitz’s first online exhibition featuring videos and films by seven international artists and collectives invited to rethink and share their artworks in response to changes due to the pandemic. 

In the physical galleries the rule is always the same: time follows space. A display is created based on the physical space, and the time of the visit will be reliant on the visitors’ attention span for the different artworks, and determined by the viewing conditions provided. For our first online exhibition, we have decided to prioritise time, whereby the artworks will be experienced in a sequence that collectively draws the viewer inward to a full coherence of the project.

From 3rd June one artwork is available monthly until December, when the last work will be revealed and all previously shown works made equally available. The exhibition will close at the end of the year, a symbolic date because that is when a collective attitude towards contemplating what we are leaving behind emerges, together with a confidence for new beginnings. Wherever we will be then, as we take it day by day in respect of fast-changing regulations, we hope that The Eye of the Storm will provide food for thought as we progress into the unknown.


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