For the exhibition ‘Locked’ in Art Station Delden Bertine Bosch invited artists to fill a locker. To do so I drew from ‘Four highly civilized gentlemen or the magic of the string quartet’, an essay in which I try to unravel my fascination for the ‘string quartet’ phenomenon: four musicians seemingly forming one perfectly functioning instrument.

As viewer I see four people come on stage, four individuals, all carrying their own instruments, walking in their own rhythms, their heads full of their individual stories. Then they form one figure, a small circle caught in a ring of light from the episcenium. The audience becomes silent (all being well). Sound and movement from the ordinary world disappear. Strings set into vibration produce an a, one clear and pure a. The four musicians seem to become part of one body, with one held breath, as a hunting animal scrunched up motionless before the jump. Then, after a mute sign, a world of sound suddenly unfolds, there is a multiple spreading-out, tilting, slowing, accelleration. One story is told making all others disappear. Which, if the story is convincing enough, keeps the audience under the spell till the final note. Longer still. Even when the bows are raised in triumph the magic continues. There is a silence as if allowing the music to breathe out. Only after the raised arms come down, bows loosely held between the fingers, the applause sounds. The ring opens. Four people, each with their own instrument, bow. The magic has gone.