Picture a scenic cycling route along a Dutch river: cows grazing in the fields, sparrows gliding through a blue sky, boats passing ever so slowly. Everything is as restful as can be, which makes our landscape so easily undervalued. Flat for miles, covered either in grass or with industries. To rediscover the beauty of the Netherlands, Bel places short statements in our landscape. Meaningless statements, loosely translated in for example Alright and That’s It: statements which are used continuously in extremely different situations. We all associate differently with these statements, making our experiences unique. The statements attempt to make you see the landscape as if you’d never been there before. Ultimately, their goal is to spark a conversation between the spectator and their surroundings.
I make (among other things) performances, TV shows, educational projects, books, drawings, installations, tours, videos and events. The format morphs as it goes through different structures. My work often has a humourous approach. I believe the power of humour is in recognition and alienation. It connects, cheers you up and provides new insights. By working together with people from different backgrounds or by letting my audience participate, I activate a social interaction. With this interaction I try to bring the spectator out of their comfort zone and broaden their perspective on the world.
I am a multi-disciplinary artist based in Rotterdam (NL). My work has been shown in Boijmans van Beuningen, TENT and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and I have done projects for the Dutch television broadcaster NTR and theatre festival de Parade.www.maartenbel.nl