Marijke van Warmerdam. Then, now, and then
Detail of the city of Rome from a bird's eye view. On the left edge of the picture you can see a dove sitting in the foreground with its wings spread.
Sat, October 29, 2022 - Sun, February 05, 2023

With short film loops that pay homage to the beauty of simple movements and spontaneous action in everyday life (»Art can give life a twist, and vice versa«), Dutch video and media artist Marijke van Warmerdarm first gained international attention at the 1995 Venice Biennale.

In her work Van Warmerdam (*1959, the Netherlands) does not tell stories, but relies on the visual power of the motif: a hat dancing in the wind, a drop of milk slowly dissolving in a glass of water, a girl doing a handstand or a red suitcase sliding down a snowy mountain. Although she uses a variety of media including photography, sculpture, and sound installations, she is best known for her short, looped films.

Under the title »Then, now, and then«, the ZKM | Karlsruhe is showing fourteen new films by the artist, which were made in 2017 during a guest residency in Rome and subsequent visits to the Italian capital. Films in which van Warmerdarm captures life on the streets: People jogging, in traffic, shopping.... And, of course, lovers. Together they form a series that links the present, the past and the future.

The films show how the dynamism of the Baroque lives on in today’s Rome. Distance and proximity, visibility and invisibility, movement and rotation alternate. Whether with camera work, light, editing - each film finds its own way to make the restless eddies of the Baroque visible.

Presented in a continuous loop, the sounds of the city are just as striking as the moving images. The soundtrack acts as a link between the fourteen films and invites the visitors to engage with different stimuli between the screens and sculptural elements - as if they were drifting from place to place in a city.    

Additional to the film installation a new work called »Timeline« is presented. A long screen print on paper connects the films in a more graphic way. The work refers to history, the Roman period in the middle of the present time in which leisure and tourism are dominant. Every new period in history gradually but inevitably closes a previous one. The work was created at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe, commissioned by ZKM I Karlsruhe.

»Then, now, and then« is almost a retrospective, as numerous themes and motifs from earlier works are revisited in new guises. With a keen eye for abstract pictorial qualities, van Warmerdam celebrates chance, that secret order that has made everyday life on city streets so colorful for centuries.

Marijke van Warmerdam teaches at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam and has been a professor at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe since 2004. In addition to the Venice Biennale, Marijke van Warmerdam has participated in numerous international exhibitions, including the Sydney, Berlin and Gwangju Biennials, and documenta X. She has had major solo exhibitions at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the ICA in Boston, MAC in Marseille and The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. A retrospective of her work has been shown at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto and the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf.

While providing mentorship to young artists she draws on her experience with the dynamics between sculpture, film, and photography. Her sculptural approach is characteristic of her work, a seamless follow-through from her beginnings as a sculptor.

The exhibition »Then, now, and then« will be accompanied by a publication, designed by Mevis & Van Deursen. In the publication the sixteen films that capture Rome in a compelling tribute to this unique city of cinema by artist Marijke van Warmerdam, are accompanied by sixteen short notes by Dominic van den Boogerd.

The exhibition is part of the program series »Female Perspectives« dedicated to female positions in Media Art. The artists are Soun-Gui Kim, Marijke van Warmerdam, Analívia Cordeiro and Ulrike Rosenbach.


Andreas Arndt

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

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