Sculptures, installations and interventions, performative and like graffiti: these are the artistic media Marc Bijl is dealing with. Intelligent, provocative and subversively he interacts social and political issues. His major focus lies on political events, the perception and association of social structures, social systems of rules and the public space and again and again their symbolic occurrence.

The symbol, the logo and the label are his potential targets and his artistic tools. He likes to upset, relocate and re-connote their superficial image and their mythmaking – always aiming at a critical analysis of the social conditions of the society. And here he avails himself of a variety of significant domains of our everyday life like national identity, religion, industry, capital, advertisement and the art world. For instance, when he placed the Nike symbol made out of concrete on exactly that sport field at Berlin Alexanderplatz sponsored by this said company and thus made all playful sportive activity impossible. Or in 2000 during the European Soccer Championship when he produced orange color coated bricks endued with the Nike slogan Just do it for the “potentially violent hooligan”, which he then offered for sale to collectors in his gallery.

Surrounded by a rather depressing aura are the sculptural works of Marc Bijl, which he has covered with tar. With La Revoluzione Siamo Noi (2001) he relates to Lara Croft, the virtual protagonist of the computer game series Tomb Raider which has already become an icon. Lifelike, made out of polyester, but covered with this black dripping compound she had to give up her vivid youthfulness and sex appeal and turned into a scary mutant-like appearance. The four large letters of the sculpture Porn (2002) refer to an icon of the recent art history, namely Love from Robert Indiana and the later adaption Aids from General Idea. With Porn Marc Bijl does not only pick up an apparently rigid taboo subject but is creating a new label, a new tag for the contemporary zeitgeist and the perversity of political and social processes. With Dark Symbolism (2003) he follows the context of national symbols when he tars an eagle made out of plaster and therewith reverses his attributes immortality, courage, vision and power into ridiculousness, like the metamorphosis of a heraldic character.

Most rigorous and powerful, already in the choice of the material, is his new series Fundamentality (2007-2008) where he puts major focus on control and the influence of religion and capital. He constructs crosses from steel and concrete, metallic coated bars and steel rods, so that the recipient truly confronts the heaviness of this topic in these installations. Just recently he installed Fundamentality V (2008) in the Dutch Tilburg, where he placed a gigantic pile of cubes out of construction blocks immersing in a spotlight directly in front of a church, referring to Sol LeWitts minimal constructivism.
More and more Marc Bijl shows his concentration on abstract forms and the involved referral to modern art history in his recent two dimensional works and graffiti in which he also relates to the geometrical language of shapes of Piet Mondrian. When abstraction was supposed to lead Mondrian to the “nature of all things“, Bijl rather sees the actual social wish for structure and orderliness in it.

And all this constantly confronts us with his almost unimposing minimal interventions, his quite simple performances or graffiti interventions, his paroles and protests, which do not differ very much from the wall messages of others but somehow share the same fate, to be of short life. Like it happened during his visit in Kassel in 2002 when he, as a quasi illegal participant in documenta 11 sprayed the word TERROR on each of the six columns of the Fridericianum portal. The very next morning all the letters were gone and the audience – still shocked from September 11th 2001 – could visit the exhibition without worrying.
This is Marc Bijls way of infiltrating and emphasizing the actual conditions and deficiencies of a society. But he doesn’t see himself as an activist, but– and that is self evident – as an artist. Politics is fiction, art is real.
Marc Bijl is also the bassist of the Rotterdam gothic band Götterdämmerung.

Bio Marc Bijl

Marc Bijl was born in 1970 in Leerdam, Netherlands. He studied at the Royal Academy of Art & Design in s’Hertogenbosch and at the Rennie Macintosh School of Art in Glasgow. In 2001 and 2002 he was grant holder at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. During this time he had the solo show Pom (2002) in Bethanien and Make them doubt (2002) at the project room K&S in Berlin. Besides all the interventions in public spaces and the so-called symbolic actions Marc Bijl has participated in various international group shows such as Manifesta 4 (2002) in Frankfurt, Nation (2003) at the Frankfurter Kunstverein, 20/20 Vision (2004) at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Hit & Run (2004) at Platform Garanti in Istanbul, On Patrol (2005) at De Appel in Amsterdam, the touring exhibition Populism (2005), Youth of Today (2006) at the Frankfurter Schirn, Dark (2006) at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and I Love My Scene: Scene 2 (2006) at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York. To his latest solo shows belong Afterhours (2006) at the Cosmic Galerie in Paris and Indy Structures (2006) at The Breeder in Athens. From 2001 until 2002 Marc Bijl, Jeroen Jongeleen and Erik van Lieshout have
organized the Les 33 Artclub, a bar project in Rotterdam and since 1995 Marc Bijl is bassist in the Band Götterdämmerung.

Marc Bijl lives and works in Berlin.


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