- One of the most successful Dutch women artists of recent years is Marijke
van Warmerdam (1959). She took part in the Dutch entry at the last Biennale
in Venice and the three works she showed there brought about her international
breakthrouh. She will not have minded the fact that this created a wider
audience for her work. 'Making art is making public,' she once observed.
In the case of Marijke van Warmerdam this does not mean that the works
have to dowith her own iife. The person of the artist is not present in
Life and art
Many of the subjects Marijke van Warmerdam chooses can be described as
chance moments.They are moments from daily life that we usually overlook
but in all their awkwardness they can suddenly make clear something about
the seriousness of life. The artist says: 'I like art especially when it
is mixed with life. Art can give a twist to life and vice versa. I really
enjoy it when a work comes very close to life and almost merges with it
but stops just short.'
The images that she uses in her work are in many cases familiar: a child
on a bicycle, a girl doing a handstand, balloons and lemonade cans or a
plane landing. The imae becomes interesting because it is isolated by being
cropped in a particular way and because it is shown in an unusual context.
So the simple and familiar is made special. In an interview she remarked:
'I'm not an artist who creates out of nothing. I put my works toether.
The medium I choose can be different each time. I want to be free in that,
to be able to opt again and again for the medium I think appropriate.'
The remarkable fact about Marijke van Warmerdam's works is that you yo
on looking at them, even though what you see appears very familiar. It
is as if you cannot fathom the simplicity of the work.
Movement is an important theme in the work of Marijke van Warmerdam. Not
linear movement from one point to another but circular movement - away
from a point and back towards it. The medium she often chooses is the film
loop. The beginnin and end of the film are joined together, so that you
see the same images constantly repeated. The image seems to be continually
" refreshing itself ". It is hard to determine the beginning
and the end of the action: is the girl standing on her hands against the
wall and does she then do another handstand, or does she start as everyone
Already in the collection
The Van Abbemuseum earlier bought three works by Marijke van Warmerdam
for the collection. "Ring" is the first in which she uses the
medium of film. A film projection circling the walls shows a group of people
who are looking at a camera that goes round. As the viewer you stand in
the middle of this circle and see the people looking at you. The fact that
this film was shot in an Arab country makes the viewer even more of an
odd man out.
The latest work
From 23 February this exhibition with the unusual title 'Single, double,
crosswise' presents Marijke van Warmerdam's most recent work resulting
from her stay at PSl, the Dutch studio in New York. In the long corridor
in the museum a sound work entitled 'Wave' has been installed. As you walk
through the corridor you hear oars moving through water. You hear the boat
gliding through the corridor. The central courtyard and adjacent rooms
are hung with dozens of posters. They show the words 'Good days, bad days',
always in the same typography but against different colours. In the various
rooms that follow you can contemplate the extraordinary circular movement
in Marijke van Warmerdam's film installations.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue.