Persona November, 25th 2021 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 342 - Marie Claire Gellings

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World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 342 – Marie Claire Gellings
I was in Hilton ArtLab in Rotterdam where the exhibition Recycling Value could be seen, with work of Marie Claire Gellings and Lizan Freijsen.


Every day Marie Claire posts architecture-inspired collages on Instagram. “I take great freedom in that. It’s intuitive. No rules, no theory, just make it!” She’s not an architect at all, but it inspires her. “I buy many architecture magazines and also nature magazines and I work with them in an intuitive way.”


Collage at Pictura
In the exhibition, the tufted carpet and wallpaper works by Lizan Freijsen – based on photos of damp spots, leaks and moldy surfaces – are alternated with large collages by Marie Claire. It blends well. Marie Claire: “A number of my works that hang here hung in Pictura in Dordrecht last October, but then as an enormous collage of ten by one and a half meters. I cut it into pieces and put it back together as a new collage. The height of one and a half meters remained the same.”


During those project weeks in Pictura, she investigated whether she could make her ‘small’ daily work with a format of A3, 25 by 25 cm and 40 by 40 cm in a larger way.


The big gesture
Walking past her works, we see collages in the back that she has repainted white. “I sometimes found the work too illustrative. The great gesture is in these collages. Thinking in lines, shapes and color comes into its own here.” A little further on hangs a series of white coats that ends in a white area on the bottom. It was based on a vinex new construction, a ‘blank slate’. It also hung at Pictura Dordrecht before. The material is white backstage fabric. “Based on a pattern drawing. Architecture is also pattern drawing, where the structure is of great importance.”

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Marie Claire studied Fashion at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam. After graduating in 1990 she started designing theater costumes and a little later building sets for various theater companies. She has been active as an artist since 1989. She has been making collages since 2000. She also teaches Drawing and Artistic Research at the Willem de Kooning Academy, the successor to the Academy of Visual Arts.

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What is her experience of the art life? “I don’t know any better. All my life I was surrounded by art and artists.” Her grandfather Karl Gellings created the squirters for the Hofplein fountain at the beginning of the Coolsingel. They are stylized water lilies, made of wrought iron. Her father Carl was world famous in Rotterdam in the fifties and sixties with the fashion store ‘Cargelli’ named after him.

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In the theater she often worked with small companies. “To be able to live as an autonomous artist is not that easy. That’s why it’s nice that I can teach next to it. Living art has to do with exchange. I think it is very important to show your art to people and to have conversations about it.”

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This is not her first duo or group exhibition, she has done several. “I have known Lizan Freijsen for a long time. Before this exhibition, we had a good conversation about what united us. We turned out to have a similar starting position, but it leads to very different results. That’s what makes it interesting. We have embraced each other’s work.”


Finally, what is her philosophy? “Art is about freedom and the guts to be committed to that freedom. The basic attitude is openness.”
1) Marie Claire Gellings, photo Judith de Rond 2) MC GELLINGS, Hilton Art Lab Rotterdam with Lizan Freijsen, photo Stijn Brakkee, 3) MC GELLINGS, Hilton Art Lab Rotterdam with Lizan Freijsen, photo Stijn Brakkee, 4) MC GELLING, Hilton Art Lab Rotterdam with Lizan Freijsen, photo Stijn Brakkee, 5) MC GELLINGS, Hilton Art Lab Rotterdam with Lizan Freijsen, photo Stijn Brakkee, 6) houses & stuff 1, photo Pieter Gellings, 7) houses & stuff 2, photo Pieter Gellings, 8) What was is 1, photo Stijn Brakkee, 9) What was is 2, photo Stijn Brakkee, 10) L’appartement et comment? Blanc 1, photo Stijn Brakkee

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