Silvia Martes - Public Solitude

Silvia Martes, winnaar Theodora Niemeijer Prijs 2021. Foto: Ilse van Loon
Silvia Martes. Foto: Koos Breukel
Schets Public Solitude, Silvia Martes.
Schets Public Solitude, Silvia Martes.

Silvia Martes Public Solitude

09/04/2022 - 09/10/2022
Winner Theodora Niemeijer Prijs 2021

From April 9 to October 9 2022, visual artist and multi-talent Silvia Martes will exhibit her work Public Solitude at the Van Abbemuseum. Inspired by the Covid-19 period, with Public Solitude Martes explores the conflict between isolation and exposure in the form of a glass house.

Movie set

In The Eye, an oval patio in the Van Abbemuseum, Martes will build a film set comprising a glass house. The first month of the project is dedicated to construction and production design; safely sheltered between the walls of the museum, a house is created. However, privacy is difficult to find in a home that largely consists of windows. Everything is on display: from the first screw being drilled to the quality of the bedlinen.

Short film

When the house is finished, every four weeks characters are filmed in it. The actors ignore the visitors and focus their attention solely on the fictional world they immerse themselves in. The story revolves around Mildred, a young woman quarantined during the information age. Ultimately, these shots form a short film called Public Solitude.

Public loneliness

Theater maker Konstantin Stanislavski would call Mildred's condition "public loneliness": the ability to behave as one would behave in private, despite being closely watched while doing so, or: "alone in public."

Silvia Martes


Silvia Martes (Eindhoven, 1985) studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Amsterdam (Bachelor Fine Arts, Audiovisual) from 2009 to 2013. Her film She that comes from the green forest, on a Tuesday was nominated for the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Fine Arts Award-graduation prize. From January 2019 to May 2021, she was Artist in Residence at the Rijksakademie Amsterdam.

Theodora Niemeijer Prize 2021

On September 27 2021, Silvia Martes won the Theodora Niemeijer Prize 2021. In the Van Abbemuseum, president of the jury Hedy d'Ancona presented her with this only Dutch visual art prize especially for female artists. Other nominees were Razia Barsatie & Marjet Zwaans and Buhlezwe Siwani. Read more about the Theodora Niemeijer Prize. 
From the jury report:

“The jury is impressed by the artist's observations regarding forms of isolation and usage of social media during the pandemic. The project is multi-layered. Martes wants to transform The Eye into a liveable theatre set in which she can explore themes such as isolation, loneliness and surveillance. The narrative is interesting and stimulates curiosity of how the story of the main character is going to develop.”

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