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Aernout Mik: Refraction

Jun 28–Sep 25, 2005


Aernout Mik
Refraction, 2005
Color video installation
Dimensions variable
Collection of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Hammer Museum of Art, Los Angeles; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Dutch artist Aernout Mik is known throughout Europe for his video installations that stage fictional scenes rooted in reality, producing a dreamy uncertainty about what is really happening. Mik combines filmmaking and sculptural installation into surreal, often semi-apocalyptic scenarios. Refraction depicts the moments after a supposed accident, with a traffic jam visible behind the wreck. Though police, ambulances, and first aid workers stand in shock, no victims are visible. The video continuously shifts between simultaneous shots of onlookers and wreckage, revealing details and wider views. The footage is divided into three scenes which are separately projected onto screens. The overall effect jars with what one might expect in reality, charging the viewing space.

This installation is the second in a series of projects jointly developed by and presented at the MCA; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, with the purpose of stimulating the creation of new work by artists not yet well-known or widely exhibited in the United States. Aernout Mik was born in the Netherlands in 1962 and currently lives and works in Amsterdam. The MCA’s presentation is coordinated by Pamela Alper Associate Curator Dominic Molon.


Aernout Mik: Refraction is part of the Three M Project, a series of commissioned works organized and presented by the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Generous support for the series has been provided by the Peter Norton Family Foundation and the American Center Foundation. Aernout Mik: Refraction also received support from the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam, and The Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.

Air transportation is provided by American Airlines, the official airline of the Museum of Contemporary Art.