Marc Bijl

Marc Bijl - Vane

Marc Bijil, Prayer of the Ignorant, 2003

Marc Bijl’s work appears to be infused with social and political zeal, leaving the viewer in a state of perplexed anxiety. His sculptures, installations and interventions take social issues and their superficial image or myth as their starting point. His wall graffiti is barely distinguishable from genuine subversive political slogans. But, as Bijl states: ‘Politics are fiction, art is real’. Taking icons from recent art history and mixing them with countercultural movements such as punk, gothic and anarchism, Bijl explores how these political statements function through, not only their content, but also their formal appearance. Bijl appropriates the poem by Multatuli, Prayer of the Ignorant, published in 1860. Multatuli inspired emancipatory movements such as freethinkers, socialists and anarchists.

In Bijl’s installation the sentences are spray-painted on walls from floor to ceiling. The words encourage us to evaluate the society we live in and to think about an alternative. In the middle of the space a tower of crates filled with Molotov cocktails emits the heavy smell of petrol that both incites and questions the transgression of our ethical values.

Bijl’s practice has strong parallels with Colin Wilson’s book, The Outsider (1956): ‘The Outsider’s case against society is very clear. All men and women have these dangerous, unnameable impulses, yet they keep up a pretence, to themselves, to others; their respectability, their philosophy, their religion, are all attempts to gloss over, to make look civilized and rational, something that is savage, unorganised, irrational. He is an outsider because he stands for truth’.