Video installation, loop, 2019

On each of Weevers’ panels we see a child, an infant, in a short loop. It is naked and vulnerable.

The three panels are perfectly and poignantly connected by the moving song of a young woman.

Music: David Dramm

Anikó Ouweneel-Tóth

Words from Anikó Ouweneel-Tóth

Cultural historian, art curator and cofounder of the national Platform Church and Art.


Weightlessly floating in space surrounded by hollow darkness. The conscious knowledge that your soul is innocent and vulnerable, longing for contact but alone and forgotten, is an evocative universal fear. These are my associations while watching the first seconds of Arent Weevers’ video installation Triptych. He elaborates further on this chilling image and creates an enigmatic story in his own tranquil manner.

The installation is set up as an altar piece, recognizable in the Christian visual tradition around the globe. We face three screens, each of them showing a different naked baby boy. Moving in slow motion at least one of them seems to try to relate, to reach out to the others. The cosmic scene is carried by a soothing breath, a life-giving song of an invisible mother, who is omnipresent through her voice. As if we can hear the soundless harmony of the spheres. It resonates with a timeless human yearning, strangely ancient and modern at the same time. It contains an enchanting, occasionally rather alienating echo as well as the sound of instruments. The melody is sometimes painful and distant, sometimes playful and embracing, yet always comforting as it signifies that they are not alone. It could be the sound of an angel or the Creator himself, humming lovingly, touching the soul, watching, caring and nourishing as close as can be. From heart to heart.

The music with its repetitions and slight shifts has a wondrous connection to the movements of the infants. As if the mother sings the babies alive, sustains them with a new lively intensity every time the cyclical repetition with slight differences commences. They seem to respond to her and she responds to their movements and informs their story.

The triptych reference to the retable alludes to the life of Jesus Christ. An altar is always a place of sacrifice. That little baby had the potential of defeating death by the power of living for others, the Other. This mystical link is amplified when the video is watched in this context: ‘A gesture of sadness and abandonment suddenly becomes a gesture of blessing. Reaching out for comfort becomes a gesture of surrender. Its childlike expression shows wondrous gradations of seeing, not seeing and seeing inwardly’ (art historian Joost de Wal).

The little boy in the middle seems to be the one struggling to establish connection, crying out for the others. There is an apparent choreography in the synchronicity of their movements, in the rhythm of how they change from black and white to color, and in the way the music weaves it all together. That is, if you have the chance to watch the video carefully.

The sequence of the infants turning into color, the way they gesture, appear and disappear, seems to suggest that the one in the middle struggles painfully in order that they all become colorful, ‘alive,’ connected living souls. Only when that is accomplished, he is at ease and remains in color. A journey from lifelessness to life.  Somewhere there is a moment when all goes black, just after the infant in the middle stretches his arms in a crucifixion-like position (shown in the still above). Then the loop begins again and close to the end all three appear in color.

A state of despair transforms into consciousness, into existence. Light and color make the desolate place warmer. Hope for connection makes it less lonely. By means of relating ancient symbols and music to personal experiences of the viewer, this symbolic and allusive piece of art can heighten one’s awareness and make the spectator perhaps a little more alive.”

Do you know that this artwork…

Is exhibited at:

  • LOOP Barcelona – Fair 2019, Premiere, Almanac Barcelona | Spain, November 19 – 21, 2019
  • Art Stations of the Cross, Grote of Lebuinuskerk | Great or Lebuinuschurch, Deventer | The Netherlands, February 28 – April 12, 2020
  • Vestingval Elburg, Museum Elburg, Elburg | The Netherlands, May, 2023
  • Coming soon: solo, Westerkerk, Amsterdam | The Netherlands, August 2024