Sunless Sleepless Action
Sophie Bates & Matheline Marmy

01.08.2021 – 25.08.2021

On the 1 August 2021, artists Sophie Bates and Matheline Marmy entered our space and started developing an exhibition and a public program.

Instead of casting actors and a lucid script, they followed a nebulous set of actions, pursuing an abstract and experiential journey through the shadow of the Night, in or near the dark Rotterdam. A filmic composition ultimately unfolded from their crepuscular stay.

Une nuit de façon hollandaise

Everything sits/stands/holds as if awaiting the disappearance of light and I mean all light, which is, in fact, wishful thinking. This state of absence (of light) is a relief felt by everyone and everything. An adolescent boy—his alist poise revealing drunken bravery—cycles past us and into the dark. Indeed, relief is granted only by the hole you dig or the house you occupy, anything else will do the half job. To find peace you need to be consumed. Noah swallowed by the whale, imagine the terrible peace.

My nose allows me to breathe and smell for the first time in months—it’s allergy season. Bales of hay appear randomly framed by signs promoting McDonald’s and a scene that could be a promo shot of dutch suburbia fantasy. The sweet scent of the grass will soon ripen to an even sweeter stench of decaying-summer-matter. Reserved chirping and channeled murmuring here, sassy squeaking and roaring there, amplify the odorless odor of vodka rising from the warm asphalt. For a second it tickles our enterprise. Shards of glass frame the dark fleck, which we gather around: We trash it in front of Basic fit and move on (soberly).

I flash my torch and suddenly the darkness materializes in the form of hundreds of thousands of legs and arms and feelers and whatnot, all eager to appear in the spotlight while shushing it shut. Is it hidden intention? A passage we pass, the most soothing I saw, draws a picture which proves my initial statement wrong. Under the rippling sound of an artificial, descending waterway and against bright LED-lit lanterns webs and WEBS of spider craft extend in triangular shape and thick as candy floss. The absence of darkness does redound to somebody’s benefit.

The longer I walk, the more I get the feeling a preconceived windshield is supposed to protect me from touchy-feely-ness. My presence gets amplified, visually and audibly and what does not be-long is kept grounded at reachable distance. Yet I long to be consumed by what is beyond my preconceived windshield. I belong there, not here, my intuition tells me. For I feel relieved when the terror of reading is suspended. It is the night’s gift.

I look at the digital destination panel and even though I’m sure I cannot read, I know a bus will take me home in 4 minutes time.

Text by Jakob Forster

All images courtesy of the artists and Rib

20.08.2021, 17:00–21:00

Exhibition with screening, readings & night walks

21.–25.08.2021, 14:00–17:00 (weekend) and by appointment (weekday). For appointment, please call Sophie Bates on +31 6 33445803.

Sunless Sleepless Action is supported by Stichting Droom en Daad.

Sophie Bates (1993) graduated with a Master in Fine Art from the Piet Zwart Institute (NL) and holds a Bachelor in Fine Art from Newcastle University (UK), 2016.

Matheline Marmy
(1993) completed her Master of Fine Arts degree at the Piet Zwart Institute (NL) in 2019 and holds a Bachelor in Photography at ECAL (CH), 2016.