22.06.2018 - 16.09.2018

Esther Kokmeijer – Solid, Liquid, Vapour

On Thursday 21 June, TENT opens Esther Kokmeijer’s first major solo exhibition, which is entirely dedicated to water. The chapters Vapour, Solid, and Liquid, the three states that water can assume, comprise the exhibition’s starting points. Through existing and new work – including an igloo made of air conditioners and a rain chapel made of salt – Kokmeijer introduces us to her fascination with the paradoxical ways humans relate to the natural environment.

Vapour (clouds)
China recently announced it would create clouds on a massive scale to provide rain for an area three times the size of Spain. China may be taking weather modification to a new extreme, but it is a widespread phenomenon – from traditional rain ceremonies to the hail cannon, which is used in the Netherlands by farmers and festival organisations in an effort to master the weather. In a new work, Airgloo (a collaboration with Henrik Jan Haarink), an igloo made of air conditioners, Kokmeijer playfully demonstrates how attempts to control the climate in one place simultaneously affect other parts of the planet.

Solid (ice)
Kokmeijer juxtaposes the worldwide phenomenon of weather manipulation with the combined efforts of the world’s countries to protect one place against the impact of humans: Antarctica. Kokmeijer made a series of works about this continent, which does not belong to any nation. Visitors to Antartica are forbidden to leave any trace of their presence or take away its floating polar ice. Using washed-up glass collected during her travels to Antarctica, Kokmeijer depicts the paradox of attempting to safeguard one part of the world from global ecological changes.

Liquid (water)
In recent months, Kokmeijer travelled to the Marshall Islands to investigate an entirely different relationship to the natural environment. In this region, which is under threat from the rising sea level and has a long history of Western interference, Kokmeijer worked with grassroots organisations, canoe builders, and scientists. They readopt the traditional knowledge with which people of the Pacific have made the ocean their habitat, and revive this expertise as a tool to bring about a more sustainable future. Inspired by the ingenious canoes and the technique of ‘wave navigation’, Kokmeijer created a new experiential work based on learning to feel and listen to the natural environment.

Solid, Liquid, Vapour presents a powerful image of our planet as a closed system, whereby slight changes in one place can precipitate positive or negative effects elsewhere. The fluttering butterflies in this exhibition are a poetic reference to this butterfly effect.

About Esther Kokmeijer
Esther Kokmeijer’s (Brantgum, 1977) artistic practice primarily focuses on the relationship between humans and nature. Her work often arises during the travels she makes, where the journey itself is an integral part of the work. She also works as an expedition photographer on a ship that sails to the North Pole in the summer and the South Pole in the winter. The dialogue with biologists, oceanographers, and anthropologists has become increasingly important to her work.

Solid, Liquid, Vapour was realised with the support of the Mondriaan Fund, the Research & Development scheme of CBK Rotterdam, Verbeke Foundation and Nederlandse Zouthandel. Project partners include architect Henrik Jan Haarink; Elmar C. Fuchs, programme manager at Wetsus Center of Sustainable Water Technology; oceanographer Gerbrant van Vledder; Alson Kelon of the Waan Aelõñ in Majel-programme, Marshall Islands; Dustin Langidrik of Okeanos, Marshall Islands; Stefan Grob of the Silent Hail Canon; Sence of Place, Holwerd; and Theater Rotterdam’s Club Imagine.