A reflection by Ina Ivanova, Bulgaria (student at the Academy Minerva, Groningen) about the exhibition muotka in Sign, Groningen

The first thing I experienced at Martin Brandsma’s exhibition ‘muotka’ in Groningen was entering the hanging grey soft woolen room – a powerful magical space that was full of the artist’s energy. He created a very personal and emotional place, the feeling reminded me of entering a womb, or being buried in the ground like shamans do with their students to train them. I sat on the ground and started watching the moving fabric. I saw the four cardinal directions marked – white, black, yellow, red. I started reading people’s questions, they were so different: “Tell me what is your dream? When are you tired? Is it going to be a boy or a girl? How does it feel to fly?” I was still not sure about my question but I was intrigued by the fact that the visitors of the exhibition perceived the artist as a fortune-teller, a modern day sorcerer.
After my emotional and intellectual sides were already conquered I started hearing amazing sounds – my hearing was also activated. I knew that it was not a bird, but a person imitating its sounds. I was very impressed by this ability of Martin Brandsma. An another important part of shaman’s teaching – to become part of nature, so you can establish a deeper connection with it. To be honest I also tried to make onomatopoeia. I went at the lower floor and I discover that Martin even wrote a dictionary so it can be easier for me to imitate the bird: chii-ip, ddrirrd, tsveet-tsveet, pri, prjee, tik-weep, wet wet, zik-weep, trrr-turit-trrr-turit.
The last part of my transformation into a bird was the physical part of the experience – the room with the projected image of shrike’s wings. My body movement turned into a bird’s flight. This created a feeling of great freedom and peacefulness in me.