Persona September, 17th 2020 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 281 - Marjolein van Doorenmaalen & Jaap Burger

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World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 281 – Marjolein van Doorenmaalen & Jaap Burger
Marjolein van Doorenmaalen and Jaap Burger celebrate 25 years of cooperation.
Marjolein van Doorenmaalen and Jaap Burger recently (from 15 to 19 July) celebrated their 25 years of collaboration with an exhibition in the Amsterdam Art Chapel in Amsterdam South. We discuss it on the outside terrace of café-restaurant Pavlov in The Hague.
Jaap is very pleased with the exhibition: “We have never had such a beautiful exhibition. It only took five days, luckily there was a lot of visitors.” Marjolein and Jaap first met in 1995. Soon a collaboration began that continues to this day.

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Exhibiting together every year
Marjolein: “Since that meeting we have exhibited together almost every year, sometimes twice a year, a total of 25 times for sure. We selected the galleries or spaces ourselves, so that we could actively participate in the design of the exhibition.” Jaap: “You can also opt for a permanent gallery, which has the advantage of having a relationship with it and an exhibition once every two years. The downside is that the gallery loves certain work of yours and would like to influence future work. ”

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The first meeting
That first meeting of Marjolein and Jaap took place in the same Art Chapel on the Prinses Irenestraat, which at the time was still called the St. Nicholas Chapel. Hence the title of the exhibition ‘From St. Nicholas Chapel (1995) to Kunstkapel (2020)’. It all happened at the time as part of the Open Ateliers Amsterdam-Zuid.
More than 30 artists took part in this. The potential participants came together at a meeting in spring 1995. The intention was for the artists to open their studio to the public for a week. However, Jaap and Marjolein did live in Amsterdam-South, but had their studio elsewhere.

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Flags on the map
Someone from the organizing committee said she knew a location for those without a studio in Amsterdam-South. A number of artists could go there. Jaap: “I thought that was a great opportunity to join the Atelier Route. It turned out to be the Chapel, which was empty at the time. There was still an altar and dark pews. If you are going to exhibit there with six artists, you will also have more flags on the map and you probably cannot complain about visitors. ”
Marjolein was also interested. Also because Jaap was immediately in for ideas to design the difficult space together. “There was a plan to hang paintings on a steel fence that we could attach in a semicircle around the wooden church pews. You could get such a fence at a garden center. He wanted to invest in it too. From the start there was a constructive collaboration, team spirit, where we complemented each other well. We also laughed a lot. ”

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More exhibitions
That first joint exhibition left a taste for more. Duo exhibitions followed in the Glass House in the Amstelpark (twice), Galerie Egelantier in the Jordaan (three times), the MLB Gallery (also three times), the Oosterkerk in Amsterdam and Schouwburg Het Park in Hoorn, Jaap’s hometown.
They also went out to paint together, for example in the yard of Marjolein’s studio in the polder near Abcoude or in Spain, first in Almeria in Andalusia and then several times in Tossa de Mar, in Catalonia.

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The exhibition about 25 years of collaboration was planned for April 2020. But then COVID came up. Jaap: “Fortunately we were able to reschedule. July was a blind gamble. We made the opening a bit simpler and we omitted the farewell concert. We had a lot of audience, for five days, a constant stream, especially on the last day, Sunday. ”
The exhibition looked beautiful, with Marjolein’s paintings in chronological order on one half of the round wall and Jaap’s paintings on the other, not chronologically, but selected for beautiful combinations. In the middle under the dome with the outside light, Jaap’s slender sculptures and slightly beyond that Marjolein’s floating objects. On a laptop table at the entrance a Powerpoint presentation about their exhibitions and paintings from the past 25 years.

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The Corona time
With that, the Corona time was also completely out of their mental mind. In March Marjolein had to interrupt her courses, especially for people over 60, halfway through. She continued the lessons through home assignments. Communication was via email and photos forwarded. Jaaps (technique) lessons at school for children from 6 to 12 years old were cancelled. Jaap: “I found that Corona very threatening, erratic, I did not know at all where we stood. It was wonderful to go to the studio and withdraw myself from the Corona.” Marjolein went hiking, rollerblading and canoeing a lot. “My studio in the polder became a place of refuge where I could recover from working from home behind the computer.”

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Incidentally, those home lessons were a success. Many wanted to continue. Marjolein: “A new specialty. They were happy with it, the hard core wanted more lessons in that way.” She organized an exhibition of the work of the online groups in Amstelveen. The participants could also meet in person.

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What are the prospects? Jaap: “We don’t have any plans yet. It arises naturally. We can sometimes ask other people to join us, we have done that before. ” Marjolein: “We can always paint together for about five days. This is also possible in the Netherlands, for example by looking after houses (and animals). We can stay together well without feeling obliged to be social, the other can also read a book, so to speak. The most important thing is that we have the peace of mind to work. “

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Added value of collaboration
Incidentally, has Jaap’s work influenced that of Marjolein and vice versa? Both: “We have not influenced each other in terms of content, but we did stimulate each other. If we had the prospect of an exhibition and a specific room layout, it promoted the drive to work.”
Finally, what is the added value of working together? Marjolein: “An important advantage of our duo is our mutual division of tasks and the joint operation towards galleries. It’s easier to step into a gallery together and come up with an enthusiastic plan than on your own. Also during surveillance, for example, Jaap can talk about my work and I can talk about his. It breaks the ego role of the artist.”

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