Persona December, 14th 2018 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 192 - Marijke van Os


marijke van os werk – 0 omslag boek

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 192 – Marijke van Os
Recently I saw the work of Marijke van Os in Museum Rijswijk. The work, ceramic sculptures and drawings, was so full of visual and word jokes that I had to laugh regularly.
Her imaginative vase objects look 3D, but are flat. They often show human traits and have the arms in their side or in the air and look like figures with a bouquet as a kind of head. The flowers stand proudly in the vase, blow along with the wind, hang down or have become the motif of the vase itself. In her drawings – made on the computer – she lets go of her fantasy even more. In some cases her ceramics was the starting point. Combinations could be seen in the exhibition, sculpture and drawing, for example ‘Bouquet on a strong tour’ followed by ‘A windy day at the sea’.

marijke van os werk – 1

Then there are the teapots that show even funnier scenes, such as ‘The Automatic Teapot’ with accompanying drawing. The stacked vase that was so popular in the 17th century, has become a monkey with a tulip clasped between his teeth, titled ‘Tulipomania’, made in 1989. The eyes of the ape go further and higher and look down to the top of the vase that is formed by a pineapple-like green plume from which red-yellow tulips emerge gloriously. There is also a Chinese pot containing a green male that lights up the lid. He is called Ping Ho. On the drawing of Ping Ho you can still see three paintings in the background of colleagues from Ping Ho, all with a terrible mustache.

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I made an appointment with the artist who lived in the painters area (Schildersbuurt) of the Benoordenhout, The Hague. In her studio there are several drawings that I recognize from the exhibition, including ‘Miss Poes’ and ‘Paar’, where a male in pink with a mustache of two green leaves and a female in blue embrace each other. Both sticking out of a vase.

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When I have installed myself on the couch, she shows me the book that was published in response to the exhibition. ‘Marijke van Os, Ceramics images drawings’, published by Waanders & de Kunst, Zwolle. It looks particularly beautiful, especially because of the stripe in the middle of two pages, each time with a different color and perfectly matching the images of the plastics, the drawings and the works in public space in large format.

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“Stylized vases, – jugs, – flowerpots, – teapots, filled with suggestions for bouquets, rain clouds, gusts of wind, fountains, running water” she says when I ask her about the theme of her work. “I particularly liked the idea of literally portraying non-tangible phenomena such as air, water, wind and rain in clay.” She did so in the 1980s and 1990s. The computer drawings are from a later date, starting in 2004. But since 1980 she made many drawings and sketches, very imaginative and full of jokes, which formed the basis for her ceramics and later computer drawings. She shows me a number of folders and sketchbooks.

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“It is an inexhaustible subject if you let go of your imagination. It was not done when I started it at the beginning of the eighties, and it was also striking in the world of ceramics. It fell outside the usual arts and crafts of that time.” By way of illustration, she refers to the book by Mieke G. Spruit-Ledeboer, who noted Marijke van Os’s work as something new in the book ‘Dutch Ceramics 1975/1985’. Especially the humor appealed to her. The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam showed her brightly colored vase objects in a small solo exhibition in 1986. This was followed by several other museums such as the Frans Hals Museum, Boijmans van Beuningen and the Kunstindustrie Museum in Copenhagen.

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Critics praised her. Renny Ramakers, later one of the founders of ‘Droog Design’, was charmed by her work. “Marijke van Os’ sculptures are wonderfully relativising,” she wrote in de Volkskrant in 1986. Postmodernity had begun. Artistic work could be fun again. You could see it in the work of designers in the 90s. Also in the Volkskrant, Jan Paul Bresser quotes Van Os’ statement in 1981: ‘What is now art, tomorrow is kitsch and vice versa’. Several of her old ‘finds’ in ceramics are still to be found today in the arts and design.
She does not have a key work, a work that functioned as a turning point. Every work is equally important. “If I mentioned something, I would prefer one work more than another and that is not the case. If I would now call my vase plastic with rain showers, I would downplay my vase plastic with cobwebs.” How long is she an artist? “You can not say, ‘I became an artist on this or that date’. You are or you are not. You can learn professional knowledge, but not talent.” She learned to work with ceramics at the Free Academy in The Hague, a few years a morning a week. But it was not an official education.

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With the art life Marijke van Os has little or no feeling and experience. “Now I understand why I have received few assignments. I was pretty naive and regularly applied for advertisements for assignments from the well-known BK-magazine, without much result. And yes, it does not work like that, of course. You have to show your face over and over again and I did not. It wasn’t the quality of my work. Despite that, some nice assignments came on my path, such as a monumental exterior of the main entrance of the Dutch Embassy in Moscow, entitled ‘3 winter-proof flowers on pedestal’, adapted to the harsh Russian winters.” She hopes to have provided happiness to herself and to people without all kinds of theories around it. “If chats should support my work, something is wrong. The work has to speak for itself. The title and presentation of the work must be sufficient.” Originality is important to her. Much of her work arises in the process of doing, spontaneously.

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At the moment she mainly focuses on digital drawings, which are printed in large format. “You often see my central themes returning. With drawings you have many more possibilities to represent something, because there is no longer any obstacle due to the heaviness of a material such as clay. A print of a computer drawing may seem simple, but of course it is about WHAT you put into your computer. With a ceramic oven and a pack of clay, you are not there yet. Moreover, the art value of a work is not determined by the material from which it is made, nor by the technique used. “
Her work is regularly associated with comics, but that comparison does not hold, she thinks. “A comic is always part of a series of pictures that tell a story together. With me, every work of art stands alone. “
We’re going to the computer. Various works are passing by. Also works by artists she admires, such as Tony Cragg, Kenneth Price, Frank Stella, Keith Haring and others. And photos of a former inhabitant of her street also pass by: the photographer Gerard Fieret. They were made by Marijke’s husband. Fieret regularly came in for a visit. I see Fieret at a younger age and later, when he had become a gremlin with a big beard, who went into town with his buckets of pigeon feed to feed the pigeons. “Formerly a sparkling man, but at the end of his life he had lost his way.”

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What can we expect from Marijke van Os in the coming period? “I’m going to continue my drawings and sketch designs, also for monumental. I still have enough nice ideas for both sculptures and drawings. “
Works by Marijke van Os can be found in the collections of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam.
1) Cover book, Waanders, Zwolle 2018 2) The ‘Antique’ Vase, 1985, 54 x 36 cm, 3) Amfora with bouquet, 1983, 25 x 36 cm, collection Keramiekmuseum Princessehof, Leeuwarden / Storm in Greece 1982, 55 x 40 cm 4) Vase with bouquet on the table, seating plateau, 1987, height 250 cm, Boven IJ Hospital Amsterdam, 5) Teapot, 1986, 41 x 36 x 11 cm / ‘Witty’ Teapot, 1986, 48 x 26 cm, 6) Bouquet with strong wind, 1990, 52 x 34 cm / A windy day at the sea …, 2016, 80 x 100 cm, 7) Amflora, 1992, height 225 cm, ceramics, granito, forecourt Noordbrabants Museum, Den Bosch, 1993, 8) Vase, ‘Taking a rain shower’, 1992, 66 x 42 cm, 9) Amflora, 1989/1990, height 280 cm, Bosboom Toussaintstraat, Dordrecht, 10) Marijke van Os at the exhibition in Museum Rijswijk 2018. In the background Potvolbomme !, 2016, 80 x 100 cm and Small fish eating big fish, 2017, 80 x 100 cm.—keramiek-en-tekeningen-14


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