World premiered in Rotterdam IFF 2012, THE LIVING ROOM is a video installation existing both as a three-channel and a single channel version, screened both in film festivals and the museum/gallery circuit. It is a non-narrative piece that shows in an absurd fashion and a deliberate slow pace how our representation of reality is actually a construction. No longer protected from the outside by the thin sheets of glass, the vacuum of the room is broken by the destructive invasion of an oak tree. Being both realistic and absurd, the confrontation between the two raises questions about the meaning and symbolism of the tree and of the private domain within the Western culture.
The Dutch visual artist RODERICK HIETBRINK received his BFA from the Art Academy St. Joost in Breda and his MFA from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. In January 2011 he started his two-year residency at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam. Hietbrink's audiovisual installations and photography fuse elements of architecture and the cinematic, drawing on the history of film, modernism and urban landscapes. His work frequently introduces external or foreign elements into everyday scenarios, challenging the perceptions of his audience and highlighting processes of interpretation. His work is shown in solo and group exhibitions at prestigious venues like Centre Pompidou, Paris; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Artspace, Sydney etc.
Rotterdam 2012 / Hamburg ISFF 2012 / Vienna Independent Shorts 2012
“I'm fascinated by the idea that the interior of a living room is a representation of the outside world. On different levels, we remind ourselves about this vast world beyond the glass window. Tropical florae are turned into potted plants, souvenirs from exotic countries decorate our cupboards. Furniture made of bamboo, stuffed animals and a landscape painting, all these elements allow us to create our own viable world. Behind the glass, it's safe to dream about the outside, about the wild. To me the oak tree represents this duality between the cultivated and the wild. In the Netherlands the tree has turned into an ornament and wilderness has turned into a concept. At the same time, there's a longing to feel connected to it. With THE LIVING ROOM I am trying to raise questions about this 'nostalgic' need.” (RODERICK HIETBRINK)
“The fixed camera stresses the stillness of the room and its artificiality. In its slow-paced destructive path, the oak sweeps over the furniture, wrecking the frail, synthetic balance of the interior. The clash of natural and man-made living environment poses the question of what is man’s natural habitat. One would think it’s our perfectly designed homes, with hip, conveyor-belt furniture, but that is just a truth man built for himself, as he did his entire reality. The short works as a plea to break out of our constructed reality and change our lifestyles.” (Diana Mereoiu, BIEFF 2012)