The Floor is Lava


Light art: Maarten van der Glas

The Floor is Lava was a theatrical exhibition in which artist duo Sander Breure and Witte van Hulzen populated Marres with sculptures and molded portraits of people in everyday environments. Made from different materials, clay, cloth, wood, the figures had expressive faces, but are otherwise sketchily composed with stick legs, half torso’s and loosely hanging pieces of cloth. The faces seemed mask-like, unrelated to the bodies that support them. They lean against a wall, sit on makeshift chairs, queue at a ticket office, or wait on a platform for a train to arrive at the station.They were actors in search of a play, as much as they were compositions of identity, that fictional moment of stasis in a world that is constantly on the move. The artists played with the idea that people always play a role, different in every situation, with specific character traits and body language.

The title derived from a children’s game in which on command the players immediately have to get their feet off the floor and freeze in a certain position, as if they have been turned into statues.The liquid floor in the game suggests the added meaning of a world that is beyond our control, of shared values that are dissipating, and a future that has become uncertain. The figures inhabit the stage that is left when all that is solid has melted into air. In the cahier all the works on display in the exhibition are further explained.

In a Training the Senses session that took place during the exhibition, the artist duo introduced the audience to the performance How can we know the dancer from the dance? they made earlier. The presentation provided a short training for participants to go outside and make their own detailed observations of theatrical events in everyday life.


Sander Breure and Witte van Hulzen both live and work in Amsterdam. Breure graduated from the Royal Conservatory, The Hague, and Van Hulzen graduated from ArtEZ in Arnhem. Their multidisciplinary work is based on research about body language and its interpretation. They are represented by tegenboschvanvreden, Amsterdam.


Next to the exhibition, the joined publication named On Gestures of Doing Nothing made by Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen came out on 4 August 2019. On Gestures of Doing Nothing documents a performance staged by Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen. The performance took place on April 15 and 16, 2019, in their exhibition The Floor is Lava in Marres. It consisted of eleven performers presenting a series of gestures. The performance – along with the exhibition itself – was photographed by Petra Stavast. This publication was conceived and developed in collaboration with art historian and curator Arnisa Zeqo. The book is published in English.


In international jury selected Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen together with 3 other artists for the shortlist of Prix de Rome 2019. They received a working budget an were given the opportunity to create new work. The work was exhibited at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in the fall of 2019.