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How Life Mimics Art and Art Mimics Life

29 November 2014

In conversation with Vincent W.J. van Gerwen Oei, Artist Xue Mu will screen and discuss a performance that was shown at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in November 2013, entitled, “Portrait 2: IJbert Verweij_IJbert Verweij”. IJbert Verweij, actor and expressive dancer, was called on by Mu to perform his autobiography on the stage of the Stedelijk Museum. Mu anticipated that the institutional environment would blend Verweij’s real-life anecdotes in order to confuse the boundary between the audience’s perception of truth and fiction. 
Title: How Art Mimics Life and Life Mimics Art: Tangential Practices that influence art 

The performance of Verweij’s life story highlights the overarching theme of struggling with various forms of authority, leading to the dramatic internal experience of desire and fear, resistance and contemplation. Following an open structure, the performance ends in a climax of expressive dance. 

While the narrative is determined by the autobiography of IJbert Verweij, Xue Mu, the artist, is presented as ‘auteur’, controlling the presentation from a distance. The piece undeniably bears the artist’s aesthetic signature. 

Mu started with the idea of her favourite symbol, the sphere, representative of completeness and perfection. The circle was applied in the performance as a conceptual map and metaphor indicating the psychological strength in Verweij’s attempt to reveal his life story devoid of compromise. ‘… It is like the attempt to hand draw a perfect circle.’ 

Besides screening and talking about her work, the artist will also discuss her signature on the work, her other performance and visual art works, and her research and work process. 


Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei is a philologist who operates in a wide variety of fields including political art practices, contemporary poetry, philosophy, and Nubian studies. Although based in Tirana, Albania, Van Gerven Oei is currently a visiting lecturer at Tembusu College, National University of Singapore, teaching a seminar on art and social change.



29 November 2014 4:30pm 


This is related to the artist's solo exhibition, A Childish Nothingness, at Yeo Workshop from 21 November 2014 - 11 January 2015. For more information, refer to the exhibition page 

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