MIND WANDERING MIND
Marieke Folkers

Mind Wandering Mind explores the course of mental processes and the way emotions move through the body. The exhibition is not only about looking, but also about touching, smelling, moving. You enter a rich inner world full of colour, fragrance and form. Hard and soft lines, heavy and light materials, changing sculptures and a multitude of colours activate all your senses.

Using this guide, you can explore the exhibition in a variety of ways: read the text about the background of Mind Wandering Mind, reflect on the questions posed, conduct interactions with the artworks, and draw or write down your findings. This way you not only get an impression of the exhibition, but you also experience for yourself how your senses connect and shape your experience of the world around you.

Your brain processes all the stimuli your senses receive. This neurological response is accompanied by a physical response, for example, high or low breathing, tense or relaxed muscles, a fast or quiet heart rate. This is where expressions like “a knot in your stomach” and “a lump in your throat” come from. Oftentimes, you feel a physical sensation before you can put a feeling into words. Unconsciously, you start linking these sensations to emotions. For example, you experience some colours and sounds as soothing and others as compelling, and you find one taste or smell pleasant and another repulsive.

Look for about 1 minute at a work that appeals to you. What emotion does it evoke, where do you feel it in your body?

This is an important element in Maike Hemmers’ work. She is interested in how feeling expres themselves in bodily sensations. She experiments with colours, textiles and filling materials in her fabric sculptures. These are filled with organic material, such as sheep’s wool, grape seeds or cherry pits, each with its own subtle scent. Whereas the “Mind Sculptures (after Rosemary Mayer)” look fragile, due to the satin and soft padding, the “Playforms” are robust. They are attached to straps and vary in weight. These sculptures, created in collaboration with Atelier MdP, are made specifically for use. You can wear them, lie against them, sit on them or attach them to each other. You may take the time to experience how your body relates to the material, how the different surfaces, fillings and weights feel different.

Use the “Playforms” on the ground floor and try out different interactions. What differences do you feel? Move one or more of these fabric sculptures. How does your experience of the works and of the space change? Why did you choose THIS change?

Sometimes a sensory stimulus becomes linked to an intense positive or negative event. A smell, colour, touch, sound or taste can bring you back to that moment. It can also (unconsciously) evoke the emotion you felt strongly in that moment. This principle is a recurring theme in Abul Hisham’s work. In one particular part of the exhibition, he uses scent. Smell is one of the strongest stimuli that trigger memories. With “Rib” on the first floor, he invites you, with specific incense from his homeland India, to focus on the experience in the moment and the associations it evokes.

What does the scent in this space remind you of? How do you think the fragrance relates to the colour and shape of the carved drawings in the wood?

With the constant interplay between sensory, physical and emotional responses, you give meaning to the world around you. This interaction also provides your orientation. Orientation is about becoming familiar with and in a space. This happens from your body. After all, your body is always here. Your perception of the world depends on what you do and can do with your body. Disorientation, on the other hand, results from a glitch or interruption between the body and the environment. This can be physical, but also mental. Memories, recognition and desires form an expectation together. Hence, the way you connect with the world around you, how you orient yourself, depends on your physical capabilities as well as your expectations.

Orientation is often influenced by what you are already familiar with. Your body and mind follow, consciously or unconsciously, familiar patterns. However, by continuing to do so, the pattern wears down further. This applies literally, but also neurobiologically. The more often a sensory stimulus, physical sensation or emotion is linked to an event, the stronger the neurological connection in your brain. Habits and thought patterns are created by repeating thoughts, norms and actions, and persist because of this repetition. Unconsciously, then, we continue familiar paths, in the outer world but also in our inner world.

Did you think out your route through the exhibition in advance or did you go through instinctively in the moment? Try doing the opposite as well.

The pine beams of “Whirling Wind and the Falling Pillars” and “Rib” cut through space like rigid lines to block your path. Abul Hisham carves drawings of all kinds of shapes, animals and people into these. It is not only a representation of his own inner world, but also of a more collective consciousness. He invites you to unravel the symbols. These symbols may be mythological, religious or political, but your interpretation is shaped by your own background.

The beams are a poetic counterpart to the soft lines of the ropes and bands that carry Maike Hemmers’ work. For “Moon River (Frank Ocean),” “Open Heart 2,” “Fruit Trees (of marjolin and line)” and “Draping, Stitching, Tethering (places I’ve been last summer) “* she used natural materials to dye the textiles with. She picked the raw materials for this herself. This means that the colour will fade over time with exposure to light.

The colours in Maike Hemmers’ work will fade and Abul Hisham’s wall drawings will eventually be repainted. What feeling does this evoke in you?

Mind Wandering Mind shows how your senses each take in the world in their own way and merge together to form a new whole that defines your experience. Abul Hisham and Maike Hemmers are both engaged in mental and physical processes in very different ways. Bringing these two artists together results in an exploration of the continuous interaction between body, mind and environment. Your perception echoes throughout your body in response to your environment in this particular moment. Your emotions move through you, often through familiar paths, but constantly seeking new orientations.

You experienced Mind Wandering Mind by using different senses. How do you translate your walk through the exhibition into a drawing? What impressions stuck with you the most and what thoughts, emotions and memories did they evoke? We invite you to craft your own artwork in the common room on the ground floor. You can hang your drawing there for inspiration for other visitors.

*The alder supports for “Draping, Stitching, Tethering (places I’ve been last summer)” were made in collaboration with Olga Micińska