In between bare, white walls with no tales to tell, an intimate space presents itself: a bed. A bed in a gallery. A nest in the white cube. Intimacy, vulnerability and deceleration assert themselves in a room that usually revolves around speed, change, and consumption. What happens at the intersection of these two kinds of space, these objects that inhabit and surround each other? And how do the artist, the audience and the gallery owner relate to this field of tension? In SLEEP WITH ME, artist Marijn Bax interrogates the ways in which people navigate the realms of intimacy and commerce, the private and the public. And she asks how our need for self-representation takes shape on – and is shaped by – social media.
Regarding the often highly intimate self-representation that abounds on social media like Instagram, Bax found herself confronted with her own role as an artist showcasing work in a gallery. That role, too, revolves around displaying oneself, claiming attention, and trying to reach an audience. Feeling increasing wonder as well as resistance, she scrolled past thousands and thousands of images entitled #nude, #halfnude, #me, #body, and so on. She printed those images and studied the history and philosophy of self-representation. The act of representing ourselves seems to become more and more obsessive and even narcissistic as billions of selfies are produced and posted on a daily basis. The
highest goal: to seduce ‘followers’.Using crayon and clay to reshape and reform the fast bodies from the web, Bax returned the images to the objects that they really are – objects of our own making.
The work of in-situ artist Marijn Bax originates in and from the actual, physical locations in which it can be viewed. These are man-made spaces, entered, occupied and exited by people. In what ways, Bax wants to know, do place and space shape our experiences? How do they influence our perceptions, feelings and beliefs? And what does it mean for your experience and role as a viewer if you need to make an effort in order to view a work, if the work demands your physical relocation and if your presence changes the work itself? With her in-situ art, Bax leaves the immediate and the omnipresent for what they are, and focuses instead on the local, the slow, and the specific. In order to experience SLEEP WITH ME, you need to go to bed with it – literally. Marijn Bax (1981), http://marijnbax.com Relationships between people and between people and the spaces that surround them are a recurrent theme in Marijn Bax’s oeuvre. Her work is often site-specific: the physical walls of the places in which she works serve as a frame for the examination of the various mental, emotional and physical boundaries around and among people. Bax is fascinated by the relationship between a person and his or her ‘walls’, or borders – a relationship that's shaped differently depending on time and place. At the crossroads of past and present, where particular rules and truths arise, Bax creates experiences that challenge her audience to enter into a one-on-one relationship with the subject-matter and the space at hand. Other recurrent themes are truth, perception, elusiveness, time and place, private and public, and memory.