On the Lake
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At dawn, four small ‘islands’ floating on a lake are moving slowly towards an indefinite other side. Music can be heard in the distance. Only after some time does it dawn on the viewer that surely, underneath these round roofs of foliage there has to be something that propels them. Heads? Slowly the thought emerges that these might be a small group of swimmers. But why in this way, and whereto?
Together with a number of other works, On The Lake is part of a larger project by Kooijmans – The Fish Pond Song – which among other things refers to a painting by Hieronymus Bosch. Bosch’ Garden of Earthly Delight came about in a time of religious conflict in the Netherlands, between ‘believers’ and so-called ‘non-believers’, and comments on variou… Biblical motifs and profane matters. In the 21st century, we are experiencing our own variation on such clashes between convictions, small fallacies or extreme misconceptions. Belief, disbelief and superstition play a very important role in Kooijmans’ series. Not only does he - very serenely - represent their ambiguity, as in fairy tales and miracles, but also the ensuing inner conflict and the both misleading and trivial wars caused by them.
These are certainly not swimmers on their way to a barbecue site. Soldiers, perhaps, traversing a danger zone. The sounds from afar could be caused by an abstract enemy. Although a staged war is difficult to win and the other side will perhaps not be reached, these images also allow for hope, in the form of a remarkable small miracle: suddenly a naked ‘infant’ steps into view and totters over the surface of the water between the waders, in the opposite direction.
Netherlands Media Art Institute, Esma Moukhtar Read more...