Syzygy Collective | Body Tide | WARP #10
Syzygy Collective, Reworked image Body Tide, 2023. Original image by Jente Waerzeggers
We welcome you in the comfort of our intimate sphere. In the midst of the softest draperies, where the most brilliant jewelry, a soothing brush and flowery scents await you. (Syzygy, 2023)
Named after syzygy, a term signifying the alignment or convergence of planets, the art collective formed by Mireille Tap and Brieke Drost stands for sisterhood and mutual support. Working under principles of interacting, sharing and exchanging, Syzygy commits to building collaborative projects with art workers of similar values to highlight collective responsibility and visibility over an individual path.
Part of Acts of Care
Expanding on the collaboration with the Off the Grid / Cas-co, in Leuven, as a part of our joined program Acts of Care: Solidarity and Empowerment, SEA Foundation will host an adaptation of the work Body Tide, developed during their residency at Cas-co. For SEA Foundation, SYZYGY will translate the installation and adapt its scenographic elements in conjunction with the solidarity screening event VAEFE edition II, part of our current fold #07 on Solidarity.
For Mireille and Brieke, solidarity is reflected in the urge to contribute to a more inclusive and open art field. Coming from different generations and stages in their artistic practice, they seek to establish a non-hierarchical, process-based approach based on care and vulnerability to defy the expanding logic of competition. In an art world of growing inequalities, Syzygy aims at creating opportunities and a fertile ground for artists to engage, co-create and reach a wider audience; towards the weaving of a radical system of support.
Bodies in flux
Syzygy Collective’s latest project, Body Tide, forms a space of feminine and queer familiarity meant to foster a common ground for meaningful encounters. The conceptual space created through its scenography unravels within the physical to explore the body as a place of transformation, experimenting with expressions, contradictions and shifts.
Body Tide was developed during a three-month residency at Cas-co, Leuven. A roofless, door-less room within the art space hosted the project. Within the space, designed to resemble a boudoir, a variety of practices came to play: paintings, installations, performance and reading; colors, fabrics, papers and lights. The exhibition opening featured Reading my Panties, a performance by Lu Lin, dealing with the ways in which our underwear connects us with our bodies and identities. Body Tide participating artists included Lu Lin, Kinke Kooi, Doris Boerman, Natasja Mabesoone, Tom Hallet, Joseph Thabang Palframan, Günbike Erdemir, Sibylle Eimermacher, Brieke Drost and Mireille Tap.
The intimate environment influenced the performative aspects of ‘being present’ for artists and audience. Embodying reflections on our physical being, the works unraveled a mosaic of topics ranging from body identity, the political and ecological body to femininity and everydayness. Syzygy describes this format as representative of the ‘prelude’ character Body Tide assumes as a work-in-progress and a starting point for formulating questions and further exploring.
How do other people perceive me?
How do I fit in my body?
Can clothing be a gendered signifier of shame or liberation?
What do plants and human bodies have in common?
How is my identity formed?
Aesthetics of Intimacy
‘as bodies of water we leak and seethe, our borders always vulnerable to rupture and renegotiation’
(Neimanis, 2017, p. 2)
Intimacy is positioned at the core of Body Tide; a starting and end point. Being empathetic to our own body and the bodies surrounding us is proposed as a practice of radical care towards our fluid, always-in-transformation nature.
For Syzygy, this process starts from the frame set for their collaboration. Brieke and Mireille focus on connecting by sharing emotions in a relationship that is as professional as it is personal. They open up to being vulnerable and to the sharing of frustrations and difficulties. They act under the same principle towards and with the artists they invite to co-create by fostering an atmosphere of comfort. A nurturing and safe environment for inspiration and collective experimentation expands to how the audience experiences the artworks.
The duo works in a personal and intuitive way not only in building an ecosystem of care among artists and audience but in the creation process itself. Layers and textures were constantly added to Body Tide during the residency. From the choice of space and set up to coming across materials, fabrics and textures, Syzygy followed a spontaneous manner of creating a whole, piece by piece. This intimate way of working intrinsically connects to dialogues of empathy towards body and identity, to suggest a re-imagining of social constructs, labor conditions and artistic practices.
Syzygy collective bio
Syzygy is the in-flux artist collective of Mireille Tap and Brieke Drost. The collective represents different generations joining forces to claim their position as female art professionals. Syzygy advocates for intuitive, gentle, vulnerable strength and it embraces solidarity. For each project, the collective invites one or more artists to collaborate with thus the composition of the collective varies each project. Brieke and Mireille share a focus on the tactility of materials that entices the viewer to come closer an inviting gesture that is an essential part of their approach.
*Syzygy was initiated by Brieke Drost, Sibylle Eimermacher and Mireille Tap.
The exhibition is part of WARP, a series of vitrine exhibitions which were activated in 2020. These exhibitions now also follow the SEA Foundation’s folds on art and sustainability, currently researching fold #07 on Solidarity. The WARP series aims to stimulate artistic research and present the adaptations of the works made by regional artists or artists with regional connections.