Matthijs Uivel studied at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and the Royal Academy Antwerp, in Belgium. He combines photography and archival material through research, crystallising them into fictional documents. Isolation and Disconnection are central themes in his works, taking inspiration from Counterculture, Lonerism music and French Existentialist literature.
Wanting to better understand the forceful disconnection from reality through shell shock, Matthijs started researching various therapies conducted on soldiers returning from the trenches of WWI. “Imagine soldiers from WWI, with various degrees of hysterical dysfunctions being treated with music, drawing flowers and set to dance to mend physical routines as well overcoming mental isolation…” He has visited the Flemish and French war sites, forests that still bear the scars of where millions of men have died. He has also dived deep into the archives of war hospitals and has looked for early experimental treatments such as ergotherapy – a type of treatment that uses dancing, movement and drawing.
Dancing Notes, his series of photographs and found materials, revisits some of the war sites in Belgium and France but also includes maps of Edinburgh, ’dancing notes’ of movement, ball booklets in which these men noted their dancing partners for the evening, tunnels and remnants of bunkers. The project is about isolation and detachment from reality, and the road to reconnection through social interaction and the art of movement.
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