‘Zeitgeist’, as the defining spirit of an era, is one of those few German phrases that are also known in the English-speaking world. Marc Bijl, who lives and works in Berlin, chose it as the title for his exhibition in which he shows new works that address our current cultural climate of information overload, and in which too many sources are undermining our view on truth and facts. The political black and white thinking of Bijl’s earlier works and the symbolic search for structure seems to have completely vanished in these ‘times of blurry conflicts’, as Bijl describes them. Furthermore, his distinctive gloomy style has given way to bright colours and an often sleek, and industrial finish. The new works do however remain ominous, as if the use of sweet colours is only meant as an additional smoke curtain for the multitude of disinformation that guides our current society and lifestyle.
The exhibition includes a range of new paintings that are made with an industrial powder coating technique, in which the lacquer is burnt directly into the aluminium. For these works, Bijl uses images from daily news reports of important events or the deaths of celebrities and modifies them to become almost unrecognizable. After Dark, for example, is a blurred version of one of the last photos of Prince, taken in his own club ‘After Dark’. Others, such as Brussels and Chicago, are based on news images of terrorist attacks and shootings. This ongoing series of blurry images converted from existing media photos represents Bijl’s perspective on the slowly dissolving boundaries between fact and fiction. As Bijl further explains: ‘The abstract and haziness symbolize looking away, hypocrisy and refusing to see things clearly: a new political movement’. Within the exhibition, this is further expressed through the Fake Manifest, that addresses the volatile character of online statements, and the site specific installation The Diffusion Politics, that literally puts its surroundings in a new light. The works combined are an active attempt to broach automated opinions, photos and news
feeds through social media and criticize their negative influence and dangerous effects on
our perception, on reality and on group dynamics.
Marc Bijl (NL, 1970) has had solo exhibitions at institutions worldwide, including the Groninger Museum (2012); Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2009); DA2, Salamanca (2009); Gem Museum, Den Haag (2005); and Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2002), among others. Bijl has participated in significant group exhibitions including those held at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Groninger Museum, Cobra Museum, Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin, Kunstmuseum St Gallen, Fridericianum Kassel, Kunstmuseum Bonn, and MUSAC, Castilla y Leon. The artist’s work is held in numerous public collections internationally, including Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Collection MUSAC, Castilla y Leon; Frac, Nord, Pas de Calais; Collection HVCCA, New York; Collection Kunstmuseum Stuttgart; Collection Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Groninger Museum; KRC Collection, The Netherlands; and Daskapopoulos Collection, Greece, among others.
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