Silvia Martes - To Enclose

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 To Enclose

22/04/2022 - 09/10/2022

Experiment on isolation and exposure

Please note: To Enclose will be developed in the coming months in The Eye. This fall, it will reach full development and until then no performances will take place.


Silvia Martes’ project To Enclose reflects on the first wave of the pandemic, when social distancing and self-isolation for the benefit of public good was still a novel concept for many. Feelings of loneliness resulting from this isolation, stand in contrast with the broadcasting of our private lives online, in order to find the feeling of connection from which we were deprived.


In The Eye, an oval patio in the Van Abbemuseum, Martes holds a six-month residency. Martes will build a set in which, over the course of the project, rehearsals and incidental performances take place. These will eventually culminate in a filmic work that will be presented during the finnisage on 2 October 2022. As a museum visitor, you can view the process: from set construction to film recordings, during which the script is developed on the spot. Sometimes you can witness actors on set, at other times you will find the decor uninhabited.


The set for To Enclose depicts a fictional world that includes the home of Mildred, a young woman who is quarantined during the information age. The setting produces with what theater director Konstantin Stanislavski has described as ‘public solitude’: the ability to behave as one would in private, despite being closely surveilled. Mildred is then, ‘alone in public.’


In the setting of To Enclose, the glass wall of The Eye functions as a so-called ‘fourth wall’, a concept taken from the world of theater. As a museum visitor, you can see events on the set that are invisible to the characters in the patio. The Eye thus becomes a sanctuary in which artist Martes is given space for an improvisation that takes shape over the course of six months.

Silvia Martes

Silvia Martes (Eindhoven, 1985) attended the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Amsterdam (Bachelor Fine Arts, Audiovisual) from September 2009 to July 2013. She was nominated for the Prix de Rome 2021. She was an artist in residence at the Rijksakademie Amsterdam 2019-2021.

Theodora Niemeijer Prize 2021

On September 27, 2021, Silvia Martes won the Theodora Niemeijer Prize 2021. In the Van Abbemuseum, jury chairman Hedy d'Ancona presented her with this unique Dutch visual art prize honoring woman artists. 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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