Captivating, incisive, ironic, honest, camp and vocally flawless. This is how a musical performance by the Belgian artist Marijke de Roover (1990) could be characterized. At the HISK (Hoger Instituut voor Schone Kunsten) in Ghent, she has developed her own distinct variety of performance and video art in recent years. De Roover’s works are musical bricolages: constructions in which the artist allows elements having very diverse origins to interact with each other and thus cause the material, in its new context, to assume unexpected connotations. She makes free use of opera, musicals, Disney productions, romcoms and karaoke and relies on feminist/queer theory as well.
In early October 2019, during Frieze Week in London, Marijke de Roover’s animated performance Live, Laugh, Limerence had its debut at an evening organized by the David Roberts Art Foundation. In front of a large audience at the Ministry of Sound nightclub, she proved herself to be an irresistible stage personality. Dressed in a cloud of pink tulle and spotlit by an array of floodlights, she masterfully interspersed her own lines with musical quotes from European and American pop culture. Throughout this, she shared with the audience very personal experiences in love and displayed a subtle sense of perspective on herself.
The script of Live, Laugh, Limerence moreover serves as the basis for De Roover’s new installation A realistic portrayal of someone using love as an escapist drug, created especially for De Pont.
This (video) installation will be shown, in conjunction with two live performances, as part of De Pont’s new project series WOOL. In A realistic portrayal… De Roover undermines, with musicality and a touch of irony, institutionalized notions about love. Her eye focuses on mainstream culture – films, pop songs, videos – and how love is portrayed and sung about in this. Love, that is to say, between a man and a woman, a boy and a girl. For despite the success of an occasional Hollywood film or television series based on a gay or lesbian theme, in popular culture the course of love sticks to well-worn heterosexual paths. In De Roover’s universe love does not comply with social and cultural norms, roles and patterns of expectation, but it does manifest itself in many forms of queerness. Dominant ideas about male/female relationships, motherhood, sexual identity and reproduction race by and are cleverly written off by way of quotes from musicals, opera and films.
Museum De Pont, Wilhelminapark 1, Tilburg, the Netherlands