The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
For the work 'Circle' by the Dutch artist Marijke van Warmerdam, there is a film projector set up on a rotating plateau in the middle of a darkened room. The image that is projected slides along the walls of the room and shows a large group of people in a circle on a square in a North African town. The recording was made by moving the camera around the circle from the middle. As the projector is also rotating, the group of people appears on the walls of the exhibition gallery exactly as the people were standing around the camera. The visitor can imagine that he is in the middle of the circle. His shadow interrupts the image on the wall when the shaft of light passes by. The film, which lasts 45 seconds, is shown as a loop.
In 'Circle' the visitor himself has central place and is literally in the middle of the work. Furthermore, he feels that he is being watched by the people in the circle. The fact that the film was recorded in North Africa gives western Europeans the idea that they are strangers in the situation themselves, but at the same time they are aware of the fact that they are in a museum looking at a projection. The projector can be seen and heard. The image of the circle is never complete; part of it is constantly appearing and disappearing. As the gallery is not round, the projection is not always in focus and sometimes a part of the image is drawn along the ground. In 'Circle' Marijke van Warmerdam uses the various possibilities provided by the medium of film in the visual arts. She records a particular place in a documentary-like way and affects the viewer psychologically, drawing attention to the fact that film is an illusion.
Marijke van Warmerdam’s work is difficult to categorize. She has made films, videos, objects, installation, stickers and photographs. She usually uses an everyday object like a paper bag, a child cycling or someone under the shower, something which is not eye-catching, as the starting point for a work. Sometimes she puts the viewer on the wrong track with a small intervention into an everyday event, or sometimes she manages to turn a casual event into an intense experience. The ordinary becomes extraordinary, the extraordinary is ordinary again. She often makes use of a loop in her films, giving the work an indeterminate duration. The visitor can become fascinated by the endless duration of an activity which he does not usually think about.
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