Single, double, crosswise

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 the work.

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.'

Special simplicity

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 starts?

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.