Europe, are we dancing on a volcano again? Are renewed nationalism, xenophobia, the distrust of politics and democracy, the arrival of refugees, and economic insecurity preparing us for a terrible meltdown? It is well possible. It should give us hope for this project, since the best art is produced on the verge of despair, when civilizations crumble and we’re about to shift into a new world order.

This book chronicles the creation of The Painted Bird, a colossal, collaborative mural painting in Marres, House for Contemporary Culture in Maastricht, (NL). Made by 19 artists, the painting covers the entire interior of the monumental Marres villa, with beautiful and frightening impressions of Europe, including a high tech supermarket, the last remnant of a natural forest, a virtual detention room and a new life festival in the year 2050.

Combining letters written by Gijs Frieling, the artists, and curator Valentijn Byvanck with stunning photography capturing the work in progress as well as the finished work, the book serves as a souvenir for this collaborative art work, in which the future of Europe is contemplated and engineered by means of brushstrokes, paint, sound waves, and stories. At the same time, it constitutes a passionate appeal to view Europe as the site of a new collective imagination.

The Painted Bird – Dreams and Nightmares of Europe
Directed by: Gijs Frieling
Edited by: Valentijn Byvanck
Photographed by: Charlott Markus
Book design by: Kalle Mattsson
In cooperation with Marres, House for Contemporary Culture, Maastricht

ISBN 978-94-92095-36-7, hardbound, 240 pp., 23 x 17 cm (h x w), English,
€ 25,00
supported by Fonds21, BankGiro Lottery Fund, and many generous individuals
Published by: Valiz, Amsterdam

Contributing artists: Marie Aly, Cian-Yu Bai, Kim David Bots, Bonno van Doorn, Gijs Frieling, Natasja Kensmil, Klaas Kloosterboer, Mirthe Klück, Frank Koolen, Fiona Lutjenhuis, Jan van de Pavert, Tanja Ritterbex, Sam Samiee, Charlotte Schleiffert, Derk Thijs, Sarah Verbeek, Helen Verhoeven, Evi Vingerling and Job Wouters

On sale
The Painted Bird – Dreams and Nightmares of Europe is on sale in Dutch bookstores, at Marres and online via the website of Valiz.

photo: Charlott Markus, 2017

Book Launch
On Saturday June 3 at 4.30 pm bookstore Dominicanen in Maastricht hosted the book launch.