Teun Vonk


"The Physical Mind"

Installation, 2016.

Today, it seems that the primary function of our bodies is to transport our brains from one digital interface to another. We are constantly reminded of our bodies’ quotidian needs, but we’ve become virtuosos at ignoring them, ever more acting in the service of our minds’ constant stimulation. Dutch photographer and video artist Teun Vonk creates works that directly feature and interact with his own body and the bodies of his viewers – and serve to confirm and celebrate our physical, local existence on this planet.

During a residency in Shanghai, Vonk discovered that when a person is experiencing stress, the application of deep pressure to the body eases the entire organism and allows the system that filters our perceptual stimuli to recuperate. This physical stimulation relieves the body from stress and guides it out of its “fight or flight” mode; in turn, the body begins to perceive all information again. “The Physical Mind” is Vonk’s attempt to let participants experience the relationship between their physical and mental states by applying physical pressure to the body via two massive inflatable pillows. Participants lie down between the two objects and are lifted up and gently squeezed between the glowing curves. While the lifting creates an unstable sensation, this is soon thereafter counteracted with a feeling of security as the visitor is hugged and supported between the two soft objects.

Teun Vonk earned a Bachelor’s in photography from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (NL) and MBOs in photography and multimedia graphics from schools in Den Bosch and Eindhoven. He has received grants from CBK Rotterdam and the Mondriaan Fund. He has shown in solo and group exhibitions at Fondation Cartier in Paris, STRP Biënnale in Eindhoven, and Ars Electronica 2016 among other, and participated in residencies at the Chronus Art Center in Shanghai (2015) and the VHDG/SRV Mobile residency in Leeuwarden, NL (2014).


"The Physical Mind" was realised as a co-production by Chronus Art Center and V2_Lab for the Unstable Media, with support from the Creative industries Fund NL. Its presentation at CTM 2018 is kindly supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands.