Militant Bourgeois


Image: Militant Bourgeois

Militant Bourgeois, wall painting, 2006
Two words – typeset in modified Gill Sans, widely spaced and reversed out, in pink, of a rectangle – are painted on a white gallery wall using black acrylic paint. The two i’s of the first word MILITANT, and the i of BOURGEOIS are absent – each being replaced by half-rest music notes. These notes have no musical value – since they do not sit on a stave – though their changing vertical heights would indicate a rise, followed by a fall, in pitch.

Militant Bourgeois an Existentialist Retreat
Airbrush on paper, framed. 70 × 100 cm.
Artist’s impression of the possibility of a retreat which is not far removed from a centre of artistic production such as Amsterdam – though spartan enough in design to provoke existentialist thoughts.

Image: Militant Bourgeois, an Existentialist Retreat, airbrush painting on paper, 2006

Militant Bourgeois
Wood-burning stove. Painted iron and steel.
Ø 130 × 400 cm.

The iron wood-burning stove is intended as the only non-utilitarian object in the existentialist retreat. The design of its ten ladder-like chimneys was suggested, in conversation, by Dutch patron Jan Six – when asked what might accentuate the existential experience of the artists’ stay in the retreat – and is representative of the multiple choices one is surely faced with in life.

Additionally, the forms of the stove’s many chimneys resemble the elaborate stitching of the fastening of the cape of Dhr. Six’s forebear, portrayed in the free brushstrokes of Rembrandt’s 1654 Jan Six - a portrait of the artist’s patron pulling on his gloves prior to conducting his affairs in the outside world.

Militant Bourgeois an Existentialist Retreat
2006 Mini dv.
Contemporary patron Jan Six is portrayed by an actor as a man of means. He takes the viewer (by way of a self-reflex- ive declaration of his involvement in the film’s production) through an account of the existential experience induced in the presence of his ancestor’s portrait. Philosopher, writer and academic Nina Power was commissioned to write the exis- tentialist narrative, subsequently developed into a film script in a collaboration between the artist and Will Bradley.

Aigrettes with Ostrich Feathers
Airbrush on paper. 100 × 70 cm.
Airbrush drawings of objects from the Six Collection, employed in the film in moments of a transition in the Militant Bourgeois’ narrator’s state of mind.

Militant Bourgeois
Wall painting. 900 × 330 cm.
A trompe l’œil wall painting was made – as part of the exhibition Militant Bourgeois at Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam – of posters flyposted on a painted concrete siding, announcing residency periods between September and November.

Militant Bourgeois an Existentialist Retreat
Offset printed poster. 119 × 175 cm.
Same design is printed for a poster campaign, and hung througout Amsterdam. The response ensures a fully-booked retreat, with residents Pedro Bakker, Lotte Noordermeer, Lucy Nooren, Rachel Kruithof, A. Sobral Soares, Kaleb de Groot, Lawrence Bailey, Joris Lindhout, Ingrid Jejina, Claas Wernicke, Anja Sijben, Sema Bekirovic, Niels Vis and Karin Schwartz.

Image: Militant Bourgeois, an Existentialist Retreat, In situ: Sloterdijk,  Amsterdam, 2006

Militant Bourgeois an Existentialist Retreat
Adapted Portakabin, wood-burning stove.
500 × 300 × 250 cm.
Portakabin, painted black with white window frames, located on a concrete island on Transformatorweg – at the approach to the A10 ring-road – Westpoort, Amsterdam. The space is equipped with gas cooking-stove, wood-burning stove, table, stool, bed, washbasin and toilet – giving local artists the opportunity to remove them- selves for a contemplative period in this spartan location, where they are asked to confront the truth of the human condition and their own commitment to their vocation.

Militant Bourgeois, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 2006 (solo); Zes, Marc Foxx, Los Angeles, 2007; Militant Bourgeois, International Project Space, Birmingham, 2007 (solo); The Rock & The Judge, Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam, 2008 (solo); If It Didn’t Exist You’d Have to Invent It, The Showroom, London, 2006; Precarity and the Butter Tower, ctrl Gallery, Houston, 2010; REC.OLLECTION, rec, annex to Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2006 (solo)

Militant Bourgeois, an Existentialist Retreat was commissioned by Stedelijk Musuem Bureau Amsterdam