The work of Marijke van Warmerdam is concerned essentially with the movement, endlessly back and forth, between polar opposites. Gravity is foiled by weightlessness, colour by black-and-white, ‘good days’ by ‘bad days’, and so on. Through the embodiment of such duality in her artistic gestures she maintains a certain edginess, a tension that is not conducive simply to meditation or somnolence.
Two new films by van Warmerdam, shown in this exhibition at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, exemplify her insistence on the consideration of contrasts. Dream Machine starts with a drinking glass of water, following the introduction of drops of milk and their close-up dilution, while Wake Up! presents a landscape, untouched by human presence, hit by a sudden gush of water, introduced from the left-hand side of the screen.