For the theatrical exhibition The Floor is Lava, artist duo Sander Breure and Witte van Hulzen populated Marres
with sculptures and molded portraits of people in everyday environments. Made from different materials, clay, cloth, wood, the figures have expressive faces, but are otherwise sketchily composed with stick legs, half torsos and loosely hanging pieces of cloth.
The faces seem mask-like, unrelated to the bodies that support them. They lean against a wall, sit on makeshift chairs, queue at a ticket office, or wait on a platform for a train to arrive at the station. They are actors in search of a play, as much as they are compositions of identity, that fictional moment of stasis in a world that is constantly on the move. The premise here is that people always play a role, different in every situation, with specific character traits and body language.
The title derives from a childrens game in which on command the players immediately have to get their feet off the floor and freeze in a certain position, as if they have been turned into statues. The liquid floor in the game suggests the added meaning of a world that is beyond our control, of shared values that are dissipating, and a future that has become uncertain. The figures inhabit the stage that is left when all that is solid has melted into air.
The exhibition The Floor is Lava is accompanied by a booklet that will be presented in May 2019.
Sander Breure and Witte van Hulzen both live and work in Amsterdam. Breure graduated from the Royal Conservatory, The Hague, and Van Hulzen graduated from ArtEZ in Arnhem. Their multidisciplinary work is based on research about body language and its interpretation. Their work has been shown in solo and group presentations at home and abroad, including at MACBA Barcelona and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam in 2018, Centraal Museum Utrecht in 2017, Contour 7, the biennial for the moving image, Mechelen in 2015 and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 2014. They have been artists in residence at CCA Zamek Ujazdowski Warsaw in 2015, at the Foundation of the Arts NYFA New York in 2012, at Hangar Barcelona, 2010 and Platform Garanti, Istanbul in 2009. In 2016 and 2017, they took part in the residency programme of the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam. Their work was awarded the Charlotte Köhlerprize in 2018, first prize at the Seoul New Media Festival in 2016, the René Coelho Prize and the TENT Academy Award in 2009. They are represented by tegenboschvanvreden, Amsterdam.
The Floor is Lava is part of the series of immersive exhibits at Marres, previous instalments of which included Winter Anti Depression Show (2014), Levi van Veluw: The Relativity of Matte r (2015) The Painted Bird (2017) and Drea ming Awake (2018).