The Measure of our Traveling Feet
Curators: Laura Mudde and Claire van Els
The exhibition The Measure of our Traveling Feet focused on the social and cultural significance of migration. What does the world beyond the border have to offer? In which ways does travel change the past and alter identities? Paulien Oltheten documented her journey on current and historical routes from eastern and central Europe to the west. Shilpa Gupta immersed visitors in the confusion that is typical of arrival in an unfamiliar environment, while Mounira Al Solh intimately captured migrants’ stories.
Large numbers of migrants are risking their lives in order to enter Europe. We see images of small boats afloat at sea, men in helmets and a deluge of drowned refugees. We hear about illegal settlements, desperate families and ruthless smugglers. The journeys of these refugees stand in stark contrast to the free movement of inhabitants of the European Union. While the world seems within arm’s reach to Europeans because of the euro, the open borders and the cheap airline tickets, the continent is becoming a closed fortress from the outside. Discussions revolve around migration, social inequality and the moving of feet that has always been part and parcel of these issues.
The exhibition title derives from a poem by the Irish poet W.B. Yeats (1865-1939) about the changing rhythm of life in modern England during the Industrial Revolution. How does the flow of refugees accelerate today’s pace, and how does it relate to the routes we ourselves traverse?
Francis Alÿs, Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan, Tudor Bratu, Mircea Cantor, Juliana Cerqueira Leite, Shilpa Gupta, Roza El-Hassan, Paulien Oltheten, Wouter Osterholt & Ingrid Hapke, Société Réaliste, Mounira Al Solh, Zsófia Szemző and World Service Authority®.
Laura Mudde (1985, NL) studied art history and philosophy at the University of Amsterdam. As an independent curator and project coordinator she is active at the intersection of art and society. She works for Stichting Het Instituut, an organisation that guides artists and designers in thinking about spatial and social issues, ABN AMRO’s art collection and ArtEZ Hogeschool van de Kunsten. Previously she worked as an assistant curator on the art manifestations ‘Ja natuurlijk, hoe kunst de wereld redt’ (Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, 2013) and ‘Niet Normaal’ (Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, 2009/10).
Claire van Els (1986, NL) is an art historian and currently works as junior curator at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. In recent years, Van Els has been active as an independent curator, working as an assistant curator on an exhibition by Melvin Moti as part of the ABN AMRO Art Prize 2015 in the Hermitage Amsterdam. In 2013, together with Hendrik Folkerts, she won the VBCN OPEN for young curators of the Dutch Association of Corporate Collections. Previously, she worked as assistant curator on the retrospective exhibition Mike Kelley (2012-2013) and the exhibition Jo Baer: In the Land of the Giants (2013) at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.
In collaboration with Stichting de Vrolijkheid, the Tapijntuin and het Kunstfront, Marres presented an extensive educational program for young people between the ages of 14 and 20 as part of the exhibition The Measure of our Traveling Feet. In this program young people were challenged to actively think about the theme of the exhibition. On several occasions the group met. During these meetings they were supported by the educational team and artists.
During Bruis Festival, Marres and the Toneelacademie Maastricht presented a workshop on body language and sign language for Maastricht residents, Limburgers, Dutch, foreigners, refugees and anyone who wants to know how to make someone happy, angry, caring, anxious, in love and young with a single gesture in different cultures.
The workshop was given on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 September 2016 following the theme of The Measure of our Traveling Feet.
The Art of Impact and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.
The work of Mounira Al Sohl is supported by the Mondriaan Fund. The work of Tudor Bratu is made possible thanks to Mondriaan Fund and mister A.A. van der Helm. And the work of Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan and Tudor Bratu is supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute in Brussels.
The work of Wouter Osterholt and Ingrid Hapke is made possible by Stichting Jezuïetenberg, FlexForm, Paleopixels, BeamSystems and Sjors Bindels.
Special thanks to ACAX, Agency for Contemporay Art Exchange in Budapest, Hungary.