Rini Hurkmans
video works
1999 – 2002

My Grandfather's Mutes

My Grandfather's Mutes (fragment 0:59)

video installation
dimensions variable
7:00, sound

My Grandfather's Mutes is based on the iconoclasm of the 16th century, that raged in the Low Countries, as a reaction of the Dutch Protestants against the terrors of the Spanish Catholic Inquisition. The Protestants' rage was directed against the excesses of the rich imagery of the Catholic Church.

Between 1933 and 1936 the choir stalls in the Grote Kerk or the Church of Our Lady in the Dutch city of Breda, damaged in the 16th century, were restored. The artist's grandfather took part in the restoration program. The faces were to such an extent damaged that the traces of the iconoclasm could not be undone through restoration. In this video the artist shows these silent, brutally damaged wooden faces, not as a documentary, but as a representation of the dramatic impact of the images, by magnifying and manipulating them. These 'found' images become as it were a natural part of the artist's domain of the 'mute', and are at once very much linked with her personal history.