Verwoest Huis 2 | Marjan Teeuwen

Verwoest Huis 2 2009 | Photograph 59,8 x 72 Inch

Discover the biography and all work of the artist

Verwoest huis 2 or ‘Destroyed House 2’ is the title of this photograph taken by the Dutch visual artist Marjan Teeuwen.  The composition of this shot is wisely judged: the framing is centred, the composition is guided by symmetrical axes.   A calm emanates from the horizontal shot, faced with which the viewer has a vision of the whole of an interior that has been demolished and then reconstituted by the artist with the help of various assistants, including the intervention of professional architects.

The artist’s method consists of recreating spaces that have been abandoned or listed for demolition, by destroying all that is there and then reassembling all constituent elements according to their use, colour or texture.  Since the start of the 00s, the artist has continually experimented with the filling of interiors with objects.   One can trace this symbolic growth through her works Living Room (2002–2005), Archive (2006-2008) and Krasnoyarsk (2009), and from 2008 onwards she begins to focus on taking over buildings themselves, giving birth to her series Destroyed House (2009).

One begins with a more interior vision, with a nod to the themes of 17th century Dutch painting, but one also finds in her work a particularly strong affinity with the work of Gordon Clark-Matta.   In addition, one can see traces of the labyrinths of Piranese, the material transcendence of Malevitch, or the monochromatic paintings of Louise Nevelson.  Teeuwen’s creations recall the myth of Sisyphus; she creates an exuberance bringing beauty to a space that at first appears to be without interest, condemned to be forgotten or destroyed.

Born in 1953 in Venlo, Holland, Marjan Teuween works in various media: video, photography, installation.  At the time of her work in the town of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia she received the Grand Prix at the 2009 Biennale.  It is possible to see in her work not only an aesthetic inspired by the Renaissance (a window open onto the world), but also a social comment on the sort of consumerist accumulation that threatens to choke us.  An alternative, more spiritual reading of the work leads one (via ash black or marble white blocks) to an exploration of the relationship between life and death, or that which rises from the decadence and the rubble.