Mother and Child

Mother and Child 2021

Digitized 16mm color film in loop (5:29”), 2 maple wood boxes 41×26 cm, soap, myrrh oil

This diptych consists of a film and a soap hand. The hand belongs to the artist’s mother, made of soap, smelling of myrrh. Myrrh is a bitter gum resin that refers in the Bible to the suffering of Christ. On the film you see how two hands wash themselves with this hand of soap. The artist washed with it daily and filmed the different stages of deformation. You see that the soap hand is becoming smoother and more vulnerable. Ultimately, the ends of the fingers are very thin; a finger even breaks off.

In Mother and Child, associations with love and care can be felt, as well as more complex feelings such as suffering and dependence. Washing with mother’s soap hand can be seen as a purification ritual, from the desire to be able to wash away pain.

Made possible by: Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Mondriaanfonds

Installation photos: Gert Jan van Rooij