The room and film installations of Aernout Mik (b.1962) create intense situations that trace the behavior and interaction of groups in oft-unstable social contexts. With his choreographed video works, the Dutch artist touches on sociopsychological structures and staged spaces that reflect the position of the individual in contradictory or dysfunctional systems. The Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is presenting Aernout Mik’s video installation “Double Bind” (2018), as well as the work “Threshold Barriers” (2022), which was conceived specially for the exhibition. Both works pursue the notions and dynamics of security and threat, power and powerlessness in public space and enter into dialogue with each other at the Schirn.
In “Double Bind”, the artist addresses the presence of armed units from the national security apparatus. They move around the city in apparent isolation and without direct contact to passersby. “Threshold Barriers”, by contrast, shows an incident in which society and state power, citizens and police, engage in direct contact, with the traditional structures of authority and security having lost their validity. Mik’s fictitious scenarios move between documentation and performance, seeming familiar and disconcerting at the same time. They reference pictures and narratives of current events like the anti-terror measures in large European cities, as well as international protests and police violence against demonstrators, which have become a part of the collective consciousness as a result of their dissemination in the media.