Inside Poolside (installation)

[Nederlandse versie]

Hotel Maria Kapel, Hoorn
1 August – 13 September 2020
with accompanying public programme

As part of the summer programme Inside Poolside at Hotel Maria Kapel, artist Rik Dijkhuizen has developed a new work that reflects on the swimming pools of our lives, both physically and mentally. The work, a swimming pool of 4 by 7 meters in the centuries-old exhibition space, is the result of research trajectory and brings together various references in a narrative installation that ‘is not entirely out of this world, but feels strangely familiar’.

Says Dijkhuizen: “My installation Inside Poolside reflects on the idea that water carries matter, meaning and memory, and distributes positivity and negativity through our bodies and across time and space. Our bodies and beings are more watery and fluid and less static and isolated than we tend to think. Water already brings us pleasure and respite; we feel nurtured by taking a shower, we feel connected by immersing our body in a river, we overcome failure by taking a plunge – we can almost taste happiness in a glass of water. Pools are places where we come together, like water, with water, through water. What if we build watery communities – like pools? The installation I have made is meant to be a communal oasis of (collective) wellbeing, caring and togetherness, somewhere between memory and fiction.”

Be like water
Inside Poolside is an installation of a shallow but otherwise fully functioning swimming pool of 4 by 7 meters in the exhibition space of Hotel Maria Kapel. It is the result of a research trajectory that brings together a host of references, like water philosophy and Masaru Emoto’s book The Hidden Messages in Water. The writer claims that water remembers, carries and distributes positive and negative influences in its particles. While speculative, the theory is an evoking attempt at thinking materially with water. The essay Hydrofeminism: Or, On Becoming a Body of Water by Astrida Neimanis reminds us that water itself runs through all of our bodies and landscapes, connects us across time and space: ‘We are all bodies of water’.

A pool in a chapel
We come together at swimming pools to play, to feel our bodies and those of others, to rest, to gossip, to illicitly gaze, to check in with ourselves or check out of the stress of everyday life. Pools are places of communing and of exposure, of vulnerability and sheer joy, where we enjoy endless summer days, melting ice creams and the cool sting of chlorinated water on sun-kissed skin. We all have memories of pools.

Brightly coloured and inviting, Inside Poolside invites the audience to commune, to dip their feet, to chill by the pool, to reflect, and to interact with the water. As such, the work aims to establish a local hydrology of collective embodiment, wellbeing and shared happiness. It thinks of pools as models for utopian communities in which water is an extra dimension that we all share and where we come together, like water, with water, through water.

Opening and public programme
At the opening on 31 July (16.00-21.00), attendees gathered to sing around the water with a collective choir session of Kanye West’s song Water (chorus). The installation Inside Poolside sets the stage for a summer programme, a.o. a synchronised swimming workshop in IJselmeer, a video work and a series of photo works. More information: www.hotelmariakapel.nl.

Photography: Bart Treuren

The exhibition and summer programme Inside Poolside is kindly supported by Mondriaan FondsGemeente Hoorn and Stichting de Hoorn.