Miriam Kongstad at HET Hem / Zaandam, Netherlands

Miriam Kongstad / The Onset of Fever

curated by Suzanne van de Ven

29 October - 1 December 2020


Warmperserij 1

1505 RL Zaandam

The Netherlands

Photography by Fan Liao

In the morning you woke up and you opened your eyes. You opened your eyes and it felt as if you were in the wrong house. A house without doors, without emergency exits. You reluctantly touched the walls of the house, and the walls felt soft. The walls felt soft as skin, the walls felt sharp and the walls felt thin, and you realised the walls were, indeed, the skin of your very own tiny, tender breasts.

The Onset Of Fever by Miriam Kongstad could be approached as a poetic reflection on pain. A reflection sparked by the artist’s own experience with body dysmorphic disorder and chronic illnesses. Just like birth and death being inseparable conditions of human life, pain seems to call for care and pleasure, even in its most basic form. 

A butcher isn’t merely brutally chopping meat. A butcher likewise neatly arranges nutrition to be consumed, while carrying out a job most people would prefer not to do. A surgeon isn’t solely saving lives. A surgeon, like a butcher, sharply cuts through meat, muscles, and tendons, while separating the wanted from the unwanted. If pain comes hand in hand with pleasure, does brutality and vitality then walk side by side too?