Probe 6
Probe 6 | October 2010

Berndnaut Smilde  Nimbus


Berndnaut is fascinated by anything in between. Corridors and clouds, not yet there and not yet solid. What if a sculpture were to be nothing but thin air, smoke or scent? Would we discuss the merits of one cloud over the other or would we just shut up in awe.

How different was it to work in the space of Probe compared to other exhibition spaces?

BS:  I usually make a maquette of the space I’m going to work in. A maquette helps me to control and visualize an idea. It provides a clear overview.  Probe itself is a model space, and worked for me in the same way: The manner of working is very direct and functional, and being so close to the subject changes the conception of materials and reality. The space is being emphasized. You create an ideal situation and therefore I think the model can stand for an idea.

Working in Probe provides an additional point of view to exhibition making and that is an almost god-like position in which you have control over everything. I think it is similar to why people like model-train-landscaping. It’s having total power.

What did you want to create in Probe?

BS:  I imagined walking into a museum hall with just empty walls. The place even looked deserted. On the one hand I wanted to create an ominous situation. You could see the cloud as a sign of misfortune. You could also read it as an element out of the Dutch landscape paintings in a physical form in a classical museum hall. At the same time I wanted to make (for once) a very clear image, an almost cliché and cartoon like visualisation of having bad luck: “Indeed, there nothing here and bullocks, it’s starting to rain!”

What obstacles did you run into?

The idea I had was going to be an ephemeral work. It would only exist as a photo. I thought this would work very well with the idea of Probe, as the exhibitions only exist in the form of documentation. I didn’t realize there is in fact a very physical aspect about Probe’s presentation. The 9 different perspectives of documentation make it possible for the spectator to wander around the space and create the opportunity of visiting the exhibition. Therefore with every shoot we had to make a new cloud and keep in account approximately the same lighting and position to create the illusion of physically walking through the space.