Marjolein Witte (Eindhoven, 1979) lives and works in Utrecht. She sees herself first as a painter, then as a builder of installations. Her works stem from an interest in framing space and applying rules to our environment. Territorial behaviour and the relationship between man and nature are recurring themes in Witte’s oeuvre. She explores our self-constructed reality through architecture, spatial planning and all kinds of forms with which we lead ourselves through the world. Within the different media Witte uses the value of colour, shape, contrast, size and space as a symbolic act. From this arises her bold, brightly coloured and geometric visual language.
‘The works of these four ladies [Nicky Assmann, Jacoba van Heemskerck, Marjolein Witte and Lou Loeber] reinforce each other so well that only the ensembles in the last room are worth a visit to this exhibition.’ (Parool about the Masterly Women exhibition)
‘And the cheeky sculpture by Marjolein Witte is present without fading the beauty of the modest Lou Louber.’ (Kunstblijfteenraadsel about the Masterly Women exhibition)
Roeland Merks (Scientist, Professor in Mathemathical Biology, art collector) at the opening of The Nature of Things (2019).
“We see the theme of framing nature in the photo Climate Correction by Marjolein Witte. It shows a square part of a frozen lake in Finnish Lapland; it is framed by black desert sand. With the title there it becomes almost apocalyptic. Is this the last piece of ice that we will have left? Can we still “correct” the climate? At least not with the black sand that lies here. The dark material frames the ice, perhaps in an attempt to protect it. But here, the framework is a threat. The dark color makes the sun melt the ice faster.
We also personally frame our view when dealing with nature. That illustrates the installation of Marjolein Witte. With scissors she processes the leaves of house plants. She cuts them square, or cuts holes in the leaves. This is how a new plant is created. And that causes inconvenience to the viewer. Or even anger.
But why actually? I find that interesting about this work. Witte controls nature. What is the difference with the gardener who puts the secateurs in the hedge? What is the difference with a Dutch forest? What is the difference at all with a plant in a pot? They are all ways in which we, as humans, control nature. Yet we are familiar with the one, while the unknown scoures.
Witte apparently touches an open nerve here. We seem to feel the inconvenience about dealing with nature only with new, unknown forms of modification. Only then do we wonder whether it is “okay” or ethical. In her work, Witte investigates an interesting fact that is very dear to me as a scientist. Consider public opinion about genetically modified organisms or stem cells. Or think of the resistance to vaccinations.
Yet the result, precisely because of the abrasive discomfort, is beautiful to see.”