Inside a concrete bunker – built, originally, to provide people with shelter and physical protection – Marijn Bax examines the relationships and boundaries between the mind, the body, and multiple-meter-thick walls. What happens to a person who, for whatever reason, becomes isolated from the rest of the world? Bax is fascinated by the connections between our mental states and the time and space in which we find ourselves – and also, by the ways in which echoes from the past reverberate in the present.  

-       2000 kilograms of clay

-       12 hands

-       5 cameras

-       4 concrete walls

-       1 ceiling

-       1 dancer

-       1 double bass player

Touch of Stone is based on an improvisational performance with Maria Demandt (dance) and Lucas Dols (double bass) in a site-specific installation, which resulted in a video-installation, ceramic objects, a poem and photographic works.

A body and a mind: in short, a human being. A species that distinguishes itself by its capacity to think, or so Western philosophy informs us. The mind controls the body. Or perhaps the body carries the mind. Either way, this duality, which dates back to Plato, keeps coming back to haunt us in guises that are ever evolving, and ever more extreme. The other day, Marijn Bax saw a child's drawing that neatly summarized the way we see ourselves. There it was, on a simple green sheet of paper: a giant circle, with a few sprinkles on top for hair, and a few strokes below for a body. 

When a child falls down, we comfort it with a hug and a kiss on the painful spot; when it’s scared, we calm it down with an embrace or a caress. These are loving measures, physical measures. In his controversial 1986 essay Discourse on Decadence, the author Ango Sakaguchi writes: ‘We fall because we are human, it is only because we live that we fall.’ As adults, we equate falling with failure: and pain and fear are signs of weakness. We are ashamed of it, or hide it as fast as we can. Why have we substituted the physical comforts that marked our childhoods for medication, medication that allows us to get back up quickly, and without the help of another person? What is the relationship between our mental states and pain? What is the physical effect of a pill that promises to protect you mind? And is being alone the same as being strong?  

My work is concerned with the ways in which our mental state relates to the human-built space. Through physical interventions – installation, performance, audio – as well as text, Bax creates video installations, audio tours, photographs and books that engage not only her audience’s minds, but their bodies as well. 

This project is generous suported

by AFK Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst

and stichting Stokroos

trailer video intallation 


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