Constantly changing ritual

“Surrender completely to your obsessions, you don’t have anything better” – Jan Svankmajer

In 2018, Wessel Verrijt (who works and lives in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, 1992) graduated with the “Parade of the Autonomous”. Like a funfair, he travels from place to place with his provisional works. The journey between the different locations and the process of dismantling is a ritual component of a larger narrative.

Verrijt considers every new location as a phase to discover new materials, make installations and performances with a film as a final project. In the film, he emphasizes the narrative that underlies the stage and the work. He creates scenes: installations made up of scenery, protagonists and props, where an action takes place in a period of time.

Since the Lockdown, he’s been working on a series of films as environmental collages. In which the outdoor space is the domain for his interventions, to confront the work with reality. Similar to Don Quixote, who was a wandering knight who projected his visions on people and windmills. In his work Verrijt creates his own mythical stories and rituals.

Since May 2020, the Mondriaan Fund has awarded him with the Stipendium for Emerging Artists. Last June he presented a new installation at, at the Geeraard de Duivelsteen (Gent, BE). (More info about recent and current projects see CV)

More information about the current workproces:

Environmental collages during Quarantaine

Since the Lockdown I have been working on a series of environmental collages. In which I see the outdoor space as my domain. I like to compare it with Don Quixote, he was a wandering knight who projected his visions on people and windmills in the outdoors. I use the outdoor space as a domain for my interventions and I want to confronts my work with reality. 

I look for locations where the context can be molded. Locations that in combination with the work become mysterious and timeless. Like a large pile of sand that, with the right framing, can resembles a true mountain top and a scene in a forest takes on a narrative character. I get my inspiration mostly from films, like The Wicker Man (1973, Robin Hardy), Midsommar (2019, Ari Aster), Holy Mountain (1973, Alejandro Jodorowsky) and Underground (1995, Emir Kusturica). I try to make the impression that it’s a shot from a movie scene, and that there happened something before and after the shot you see.

Every project, for me, is a response to the previous project. So I worked before the environmental collages on a large installation of wood and iron. This installation was so big and heavy that it became difficult to do fast and impulsive things with it. Now I wanted to use light and easy material to be flexible in making fast presentations wherever I want. So I started collecting cardboard, and light materials like fabric.

Also I decided to make presentations outside, and since I don’t have a truck and only a bicycle, I used my bicycle as a frame of reference, everything had to be movable with that bicycle. I like to use conditions as inspiration instead of obstructions. So I have a small cargo bike and you can transport more than you would think. Besides, almost every time I blocked the whole streets on my way to the location. 

What returns a lot in the serie are people with masks. Sometimes you can see hands and feet, but people are swallowed by the work. There is also always a dominant installation in the middle, as the leader with his slaves carrying banners around him.

The narrative in my work is often about an antagonist, an opposer who goes to battle, but is primarily in conflict with himself: I am fascinated by failures. For example, in summer of 2019 I have worked on “De Processie”, a procession of medieval figures who entered the village of Baarle and the center of Nijmegen as uninvited guests.

On the one hand combative with shields, swords and armor; on the other hand, crumbly and clumsy of cardboard and old tennis rockets. A big part of this inspiration comes from the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. I love people who want to be something, and firmly believe in it. Like the knights in that film who pretend to ride a horse by knocking coconut halves together.

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