Benjamin Verhoeven, Somebody was trying to kill somebody else, 2014 (still). Collectie Mu.ZEE

The collection exhibition “Blow-Up!” is constructed around the classic film of the same name by Michelangelo Antonioni, which offers a reflection on the medium of film. A fragment of the movie [HS1] was appropriated and reworked by video artist Benjamin Verhoeven, whose work plays a central role in the exhibition and forms part of the Mu.ZEE collection. Like the other artworks in the selection, Verhoeven’s video focuses on the material or medium from which it is constructed.

The protagonist of ‘Blow-Up’ is a photographer who secretly captures two lovers in a park. An enlargement of one of his photos – a blow-up in other words – reveals a man pointing a gun at the couple in the picture. This disconcerting image tells the photographer more than he could have grasped with his naked eye. After all, he hadn’t seen the man with the gun in real life, but discovered him by enlarging the photograph. This story is a metaphor for the way in which cinema works. A film is created from a sequence of images that, using specific angles and sophisticated framing and rhythm, are captured and edited. The viewer’s gaze is guided and seduced and he or she is presented with the maker’s desired narrative. The blow-up makes the viewer aware of their voyeuristic position, thereby bringing the effects of the filmic medium to the fore. Benjamin Verhoeven makes a similar reflection in ‘Somebody was trying to kill somebody else’ (2014), which he made by scanning a scene from ‘Blow-Up’ and converting it back to video. In so doing, he created a fragmented version of the film that emphasises such cinematic characteristics as the camera angles and the actors’ movements. In addition to the mental references to cinema contained in ‘Blow-Up’, Verhoeven also makes a physical analysis of a film.

‘Blow-Up’ includes work by various artists who, like Michelangelo Antonioni, offer a reflection on the disciplines with which they work. The selected artworks shed new light on their materials and, just like a blow-up, they magnify the properties of a medium. Two-dimensional artworks, such as paintings and drawings, delight in playing with the creation of depth and hybrid forms arise between photography, animation and video through the development or rupture of a storyline.