The unbearable rigidity of the manikin

Dutch utilitarianism and Limburgian negligence have eradicated the industrial landscape of the mining region.

In a counter move, families of mineworkers have kept and preserved the objects connected with the work in the mines, for generations. The helmet, the lamp, the shoes, the hand towel, the token, the laundry bag, the watch, the work jacket, and the flask have all become icons. The collectors go a step further. In dozens of private museums, in sheds, in garages and in basements, these icons are brought together and put proudly on display. With his mannequin tableaux, Patrick Bolk refers lovingly to these practices of saving, collecting and exhibiting. In his wry installation, this folkloristic idiom gets subtly turned against itself.

Gently mocking, the tableaux make the limitations of the countermovement tangible, reference painful aspects of the mining past which one would rather conceal, criticise the official remembrance culture that the folklore does not know how to transcend. Dolls don't dance.