The artist Marleen Sleeuwits in the focus

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How did you come to art?

When I was fourteen I started a photography-course at a local community centre. Mostly I took portraits of friends in a home-build studio in the attic using all my parents lampshades. I was very lucky this class was taught by a very passionate photographer. He made me explore all kind of techniques and genres and I could always use his equipment and dark room. Thinking back at it he was probably the best teacher I ever had. So after high school it was not hard for me to decide what do next; art school. Luckily I got accepted at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague being just seventeen.

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Interior no. 44, 54x70cm

 

What is your artistic singularity?

It’s a bit hard to tell what makes your own work unique but I’ll give it a try. One of the most unique aspects in my work is perhaps that I’m playing with the perception of time, space and occurrence. All these things no longer exist as a unity in my photographs.What am I seeing? Where am I? How do I behave physically towards the spaces that I see in front of me? The result is alienating: it sucks you in and shuts you out at the same time. It forces you to rely on your own devices, traps you inside your head. They represent the idea of space itself, an abstraction of an abstraction.

Can you describe your typical working day?

After I bring my kids to school and daycare I start slowly with lots of coffee answering emails. After that is varies from doing research for new work to actual painting and constructing a new piece. Today I am working on a scaled model for an installation I present at the Contact Photo festival in Toronto this April. For all my presentation I make models to see how all the photo’s and objects will work together.
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Interior no. 41, 64x55cm

Looking back at your earlier works, has your approach and process changed throughout your artistic career?

Originally I am trained as a photographer and have always been hugely inspired by spaces that are characterized by a lack of individuality and character and this reflects in my artistic work of the past decade. Spaces such as empty corners in office buildings, waiting areas at airports or abandoned corridors of hotels I find enormously fascinating.
For previous work I took pictures at these locations, always searching for the right angle and perfect framing. Once uncovered, discovered, explored and photographed, I digitally edited these images. Currently, I work in vacant and empty office buildings and try to set the interiors entirely to my hand. Although photography is still very important in my work the actual ‘taking-photo-part’ is becoming less and less.

Since 2014, I have been processing some of the materials that I find during my search for an appropriate location, also in terms of three-dimensional objects. I bundle tube-lights and electrical cables together and I use insulation blocks with foil and form polystyrene blocks or carpet tiles into large, erratic objects. These sculptures are a tangible representation of the original space. They invite you to touch the object and they also add their own dimension. By showing these objects together with the photo-works, an extra layer of scale and contrasts is added. They seem to be directly connected to the photographic works shown, or derived from them, but are actually a representation of the same search.

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Interior no. 30, 56x90cm

Can you tell us about the Dutch artistic scene?

The Dutch art scene is alive and kicking. So many young artist, great galleries and museums its never hard to get inspiration. I am very interested by artist who search for the boundaries in photography. Ones that combine photography, sculpture with installation and drawing.
Marleen Sleeuwits website: http://www.marleensleeuwits.nl/

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