Harrie de Kroon, 1978, 23'43''

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Mother is the registration of twenty performances, which were recorded on video with no audience present. The scenes follow each other at a high tempo, which makes this video very dynamic. In many of the acts, De Kroon plays with the viewer’s expectations by omitting the natural causality. The tape begins with a scene that has a lot in common with Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. However, here the two hands are holding each other in a firm grip, until one tears itself loose from the other. Apart from everyday objects, De Kroon also deploys his own body to give shape to processes. In another scene, too, De Kroon uses his body as a medium. With his hands against his face, palms turned outwards, he is seated in a position that, due to the outward-turned palms looks like the posture of prayer.
De Kroon also made more conceptual work. He describes one such scene as follows: 'I am sitting at a small table on which an empty half ball is lying. Three times in succession I blow against this small ball, and wait for it to stop wobbling. Then I use my forefinger to feel the emptiness of the ball, without actually touching it.' In the video registration of this performance, the following can be seen: The half ball on the table is moving violently to and fro. (The viewer cannot see that it is being blown about; the artist is out of view, and there is no sound.) It stops moving as soon as a hand touches it. As soon as the hand disappears from view, it starts wiggling again. The cause of the wiggling remains a mystery, and when a movement is expected – namely, upon touch – here too, De Kroon manipulates the laws of nature. He is in control, and makes sure that the viewer cannot take anything for granted. In another scene, De Kroon is leafing through a book full of pictures of Formula I racing cars, at the same time making car noises with his voice. In this simple way, he brings the picture book to life. Only when De Kroon has a coughing fit does the book change back into being just a book. Another example is the more often presented act in which De Kroon holds a sieve in one hand, and pours water into it. As soon as the water touches the sieve, you can hear someone screaming. The effect is shocking; he once again has managed to confuse the viewer.


  • Date: 1978
  • Length: 23'43''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: conceptual, performance (artwork genre)
  • Keywords: body, perception, process