Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam announce Aernout Mik: Communitas

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam present Aernout Mik: Communitas a survey exhibition of the work of Dutch artist Aernout Mik, on view May 4–August 25, 2013. It will be Mik’s first major solo exhibition in the Netherlands since 2000. The artist is designing a site-specific installation for the Stedelijk and creates a new work that will be shown for the first time in this exhibition.

Aernout Mik, Shifting Sitting II, 2011. Three-channel video installation, digital video. Courtesy carlier | gebauer, Berlin. Photo: Florian Braun.

Aernout Mik, Shifting Sitting II, 2011. Three-channel video installation, digital video. Courtesy carlier | gebauer, Berlin. Photo: Florian Braun.

Aernout Mik (b. 1962, Groningen) is widely recognized as one of the most important contemporary Dutch artists working today. Educated as a sculptor, Mik has combined architecture, performance, and social commentary in a distinctive, twenty-five-year career that occupies an influential place in the history of art. His work is widely exhibited internationally; his last major survey was presented at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2009.

Communitas will offer an overview of Mik’s distinctive oeuvre over the past dozen years with a selection of thirteen video installations, all created from 1999 to 2013. It will occupy the vast exhibition space on the lower level of the Stedelijk’s new wing, for which the artist has designed a dynamic architectural environment for his video projections.

Aernout Mik offers an incisive perspective on the psycho-social state of society today. He references current political and social themes such as economic recession, global crises, and social revolt, exploring their portrayal in the media.

One of the highlights of Communitas is Shifting Sitting (2011), which was produced in conjunction with the Stedelijk Museum especially for this exhibition, with partners Jeu de Paume in Paris and Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany. The work centers on the figure of Italian former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the legal proceedings brought against him for alleged corruption. Communitas (2010), filmed at the Palace for Culture and Science in Warsaw, is another key work in the show. As in many of Mik’s videos, viewers see a group of individuals come together; here, they attempt to organize themselves into a political entity—with revolutionary zeal.

The Stedelijk Museum is pleased to announce that Aernout Mik’s new work Tongues and Assistants will be on view for the first time in the exhibition. In contrast to most of Mik’s other works, Tongues and Assistants was not staged, but rather filmed live by the artist during a service at a Pentecostal church in Brazil. The work relates to staged video installations by Mik, such as Shifting Sitting and Communitas, in which people trying to assemble in large groups is the subject. The video installation Tongues and Assistants will include a live element.

The architectural staging of Mik’s video works enables the viewer to enter into a physical relationship with the projected scenes. This mode of presentation applies to both his Middlemen (2001) and Park (2002), and to large-scale, complex works such as Osmosis and Excess (2005) and touch, rise and fall (2008). Mik not only stages the action, he also creates works based on “found footage” culled from the archives of international press agencies. The exhibition Communitas traces the connection between a documentary work such as Raw Footage (2006) and the wholly staged video Training Ground (2006), both works that reveal disparate expressions of violence, aggression, and social tension. Various forms of performance, theater, and documentary strategies make up the threads that run through the exhibition.

The exhibition is accompanied by the publication of an English-language, full-color catalogue, produced jointly by the Stedelijk, Museum Folkwang, and the publishing company Steidl.

Communitas is jointly organized by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Jeu de Paume, Paris and Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany, where it was presented in 2011 and 2012. The exhibition is sponsored by Koninklijke Ahold N.V. Several works in the exhibition were realized with the support of the Mondriaan Fund. The work Shifting Sitting was realized with the support of the three museums and contributions from the Mondriaan Fund, the Netherlands Film Fund, and the European Cultural Foundation.

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Museumplein 10
Amsterdam, the Netherlands