Hello, I’m Mariaan, a student of fine art at the HKU, The Netherlands.



Constricted by skin

I am fascinated by the need to make art and why we are continuously doing so. I am wondering if primitive man had the same urge and if we are still doing it for the same reason. I think it has something to do with self-realization, a way of becoming who and what we are and how we conceive our place in a society of “others”.

I would like my work to be a comment or observation anyone could have made about everyday life, where subjects become objects and objects subjects, all part of a visual alphabet to make a work “speak”. I am thinking a lot about how we make meaning from shapes and how we can transform it in our minds to have a meaning. I look at my work in retrospection and ask myself why I like it and in most cases it’s because of the physical attributes in the work and not about meaning at all.

I work processed based, starting with quick sketches, with markers or on the cell-phone. Sometimes I first make an object from cutouts, which become the inspiration for a painting, or it happens the other way round. It is important for me to look at the work while I make it and I am never sure about how the outcome will be. I like to place my works in relation with each other becoming inter-related rather than an installation with multiple objects.

My work is influenced by my experiences and memories growing up on a farm in Africa and living through a period of unrest, turmoil and danger. Themes in my current work are confusion, identity and escaping, which is closely linked to the need of society to label and categorize everyone and everything. I feel bombarded with current events, ideas and images and prefer to react indirectly on them, distancing myself consciously from any form of activism.

When we use objects to make art, we add another level to their existence, becoming part and subject of a new object, which could be bought and cherished and re-sold and discarded or forgotten in the attic. And those who come after us will most probably keep doing it, and wondering why they are doing it.

Mariaan van den Berg
15 Nov 2015