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Aernout Mik: Double Bind / Threshold Barriers at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

July 7–October 3, 2022

Two video installations by Aernout Mik are on display in a solo exhibition at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. The Dutch artist creates stressful scenarios and tracks the behavior and interaction of groups in precarious social conditions through his choreographed video works. His piece Threshold Barriers (2022), which was created specifically for the exhibition, is on view in addition to Double Bind (2018). At the Schirn, the two videos engage in conversation about the ideas and dynamics of safety and threat, power and impotence in public space.

Dr. Sebastian Baden, director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, notes: “In a haunting presentation at the Schirn, Aernout Mik probes the often conflictual encounter between society and state power, citizens and police. Institutionalized structures of authority and security, their failure or validity, are repeatedly up for debate against the backdrop of recent events. Mik is presenting his new video work Threshold Barriers for the first time and thus enables Schirn visitors to gain an illuminating perspective on social and democratic power structures and processes by means of art.”

Mik’s made-up situations alternate between documentary and performance, simultaneously feeling familiar and unsettling. The multichannel works do not adhere to a rigid narrative structure; rather, isolated fragments are mixed together to provide an ethereal staging. The movies make reference to images and stories of recent events that have entered the public awareness as a result of their media coverage, such as anti-terror measures in major European cities, global protests, or police violence against demonstrators.

“Aernout Mik’s videos are highly revealing. With scenarios that can at first be classified quickly, in which confusing events take place, he disrupts habits of seeing and experiential values in a subtle way. His works interrogate social systems and their power structures and imagine new possibilities of classification. The two large-format video installations that are juxtaposed with one another in the Schirn immerse viewers in Mik’s fictions and also confront them with their own positions. We are thus immediately prompted to think critically about social and societal paradigms,” emphasizes Katharina Dohm, curator of the exhibition.

The City of Frankfurt am Main, the SCHIRN ZEITGENOSSEN, and the Mondriaan Fund all provided funding for the exhibition Aernout Mik: Double Bind / Threshold Barriers.

A multilingual edition of a catalog compiled by Katharina Dohm has been released, with a foreword written by Dr. Sebastian Baden, the new director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, and contributions by Katharina Dohm and Daniel Loick.

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
60311 Frankfurt am Main
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