This major exhibition by Dutch artist Marijke van Warmerdam included photography, sculpture and film. Famous for her short films depicting strange and inexplicably wonderful moments, van Warmerdam makes work that offers a kind of magic – a pancake masquerading as the moon, a beach ball thrown into a moonlit wood and a gentle breeze wafting through a summer meadow.
The exhibition title, First drop, takes its name from an artwork involving a white cotton cloud, hung above the viewer’s head, from which emerges a glass sphere, like a raindrop poised between two states, permanently suspended on the brink of falling. With this simple artistic gesture, almost cartoon-like, van Warmerdam evokes a wealth of emotional responses, ranging from sheer funniness to melancholy.
Dream Machine, a new film commissioned for this exhibition, shows a glass of water slowly diluted with milk. As the drops of white are gradually introduced, patterns are formed, starting as long strands and bursting into small clouds until eventually the glass becomes opaque. As the film loops, the fluid resumes its clarity and the process begins again. This repetitive intertwining of two different substances is beautiful, entrancing, transporting the viewer away from an everyday here and now.
Another new film Wake up!, shows a sun drenched view of mountainous scenery, seemingly untouched by human presence. In the foreground, wild grass and flowers sway the wind and white butterflies occasionally flit by. Suddenly from the left hand side of the screen, a sheet of water comes crashing in. This is the ‘wake up!’ It is short and sharp but ultimately ineffectual as the water disappears into the undergrowth to leave the landscape unchanged.
This exhibition was organised in collaboration with The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh and was supported by Camera Rentals, the Mondriaan Foundation, Henry Moore Foundation and Cineco.
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Ikon is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and Birmingham City Council.
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