Curators: Gijs Frieling and Valentijn Byvanck
Europe 2017. Are we dancing on a volcano? Are renewed nationalism, xenophobia, the distrust of politics and democracy, the arrival of refugees, and economic insecurity preparing us for a terrible meltdown? It is well possible. This should give us hope for this project, since the best art is produced on the verge of despair, when civilizations crumble and we’re about to shift into a new world order.
Marres Maastricht produced a spectacular mural about Europe by nineteen artists who have painted all rooms, corridors, the stairwell, floors and ceilings of the historic Marres House. The Painted Bird depicted a series of beautiful and frightening environments. Like a high-tech clone supermarket, the last surviving piece of primeval forest, a Berlin love and hippie fest space, a spider portrait corridor, a new life festival in the year 2050. But also paintings of Charlemagne, the shisha girls, PJ Harvey and the Romanovs, the naked sages. A soundtrack led visitors from room to room, from dream to nightmare.
The artists Frank and Kim Koolen David Bots developed a comprehensive soundtrack with personal commentary voice, music and sound effects. The soundtrack was part of the exhibition and can be listened to online.
Artists Gijs Frieling and Aukje Dekker gave a Training the Senses session on the intersection between painting and the sensory experience. Painting is such an obvious visual phenomenon that we rarely experience it as a call to sensory action. We don’t smell the paint, touch or lick it. We don’t allow our bodies to follow the brushstrokes. Paintings are thus radically emancipated from bodily movement or broad sensory perception. Why is that?
Marie Aly, Cian Yu Bai, Bonno van Doorn, Kim David Bots, Gijs Frieling, Natasja Kensmil, Klaas Kloosterboer, Mirthe Klück, Frank Koolen, Fiona Lutje House, Charlott Markus, Kalle Mattsson, Jan van de Pavert, Tanja Ritterbex, Sam Samiee, Charlotte Schleiffert, Derk Thijs, Sarah Verbeek, Helen Verhoeven, Evi Vingerling and Job Wouters.
Publication The Painted Bird
The Painted Bird, a book with beautiful and terrifying impressions of Europe. Based on letters between Gijs Frieling, the participating artists, and curator Valentijn Byvanck, this book provides insight into the ideas and considerations that underlie this collaborative work of art. The Painted Bird is available in the online shop.
For the realization of the exhibition Marres organised a successful crowdfunding campaign together with platform Voordekunst. 148 people contributed and raised a total amount of 28,691 euros.
During the Summer Marres hosted the program Marres Movements, a series of performances created for, and building on, the ongoing exhibition The Painted Bird: Dreams and Nightmares of Europe. The program added moving bodies and musical performances to the landscape of wall paintings and a soundtrack, transforming them into a massive stage set for performance, dance and music. Find the full program and all the aftermovies on this page.
On the last day of the exhibition, Marres invited the public to help paint the colossal painting The Painted Bird white. The 12 rooms were opened to lusty money launderers, greasers, lovers of squat white, good friends and wrong fans of Marres. With absurd painting assignments, cold beer and snacks in the garden, a singing DJ and an in memoriam: The Painted Bird is no more.