Archive for the ‘martijnhendriks’ Category

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Dialectics in February by Martijn Hendriks consists of two elements:

1. An inverted royal blue flag with a circular hole cut-out of the middle.

2.  A piece of the flag placed on the ground directly below the hole.

As one digs deeper into the work, one understands that the flag from which the hole has been cut is, in fact, the European Union flag.

The power of the work, then, is the erasure of the flag’s power: a European Union whose only rallying cry is that the entire notion of the “European Union” is literally empty—nothing.

Self-annihilating ideas such as this have been explored by artists before, but the use of the flag is particularly effective as the flag–as a symbol of symbolism–short-circuits all meaning directly back onto itself; its impotency becomes—as a flag to literally wave for itself.

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Untitled (The Birds without the birds) by Martijn Hendriks is an ongoing performance in which Hendriks digitally removes every image of a bird from every frame of the film The Birds.

By taking the birds out of the film, Hendriks suggests that  terror is psychological.

Terror is Tippy Hedren—the icy blonde with everything in control–being mercilessly stalked by her own fear of losing this control.

A key to the project is that Hendriks digital elimination of the birds is not seamless, but rather highly present.  There are sort of digital scars that foreground the fact that something has been taken out.

Also, he didn’t remove the birds from a single frame of the film (which he could accomplish in a day), but rather performs his removal of the birds from every frame of the film in which a bird appears—a performance he has been continually working through since 2007.

He writes:

…I’ve realized that I like this performative dimension best when it introduces a kind of questionable or unproductive element, so that I really need to believe in something to go through with it. Making an art work is also about believing in something enough to follow it through, to stick with it even when that something lacks all credibility or value.


If the work was a one-liner dashed off quickly or with a tool that did it automatically, it would be less meaningful and I wouldn’t want to follow it.

But I do find it an idea worth following because of this performative element and the sheer, absurd labor of it all.

It’s the time implied in the work that makes it beautiful.