Ornis A. Gallery, Amsterdam
17 oktober — 21 november 2015

Her first suc­cess came ear­ly: short­ly after grad­u­at­ing, Mar­l­iz Frenck­en showed very refined and pre­cise­ly paint­ed scenes of the world around us, such as those we see in pho­tos, images from mag­a­zines, box­es of Dreft, the news­pa­per or a roll of wall­pa­per. A woman’s world. The list of exhi­bi­tions grew steadi­ly: Gallery Hans Gieles, First Blos­som, Bar­bara Far­ber Gallery, Bébert, exhi­bi­tions by Jan Hoet, Ornis A. Gallery; and yet, one couldn’t real­ly say that Mar­l­iz Frenck­en was real­ly embraced by the art world. How­ev­er, she always con­tin­ued work­ing relent­less­ly every day in her stu­dio. In her ground-floor stu­dio are large, thick­ly paint­ed black and white depic­tions of a moth­er and child. The emo­tion in these paint­ings surges out to the edges, spilling over the edge. I fell in love with those pic­tures’, explains Mar­l­iz about her first oil paint­ings. I enjoyed the resis­tancethat the images pro­voked, their mock­ery and irony and giv­ing the paint­ing a new, lov­ing lay­er. Mar­l­iz Frenck­en was ahead of her time; glam­our was not yet an issue, and there were all sorts of unwrit­ten rules in art, such as Thou shalt not paint Bar­bi­es’ or fash­ion is super­fi­cial’ or male themes are bet­ter than female themes’. Regard­ing this taboo-break­ing char­ac­ter of Frencken’s work, Der Spiegel stat­ed: She oper­ates with no safe­ty net of art-world niceties.’ (2) That is also how I see the uni­verse of Mar­l­iz Frenck­en, you always have to take a deep breath, but that’s because you need to be able to look with­out judge­ment, the work goes against all the rules. No niceties. Imme­di­ate­ly after the birth of Mar­l­iz, her moth­er fell seri­ous­ly ill and spent her days in bed at home or in hos­pi­tal, while her body grad­u­al­ly gave up. When Mar­l­iz was thir­teen years old, her moth­er died leav­ing her behind with her father and three broth­ers. I saw so much as a child’, says Mar­l­iz Frenck­en. She speaks with love and admi­ra­tion for her moth­er, who bore her ill­ness so patient­ly and always remained so pos­i­tive. On her phone she shows me a por­trait of her moth­er; pierc­ing brown eyes, dark curly hair, a red jack­et. This was the only real paint­ing that she saw until she was about thir­teen. The por­trait hangs in her house in Hil­ver­sum, but also as a copy in her hol­i­day home, in her stu­dio, and as a screen­saver. Her moth­er watch­es over her like a Madon­na. The paint­ing of her moth­er is so dear to her because it evokes this integri­ty and inno­cence. In her work she seeks beau­ty, per­haps an impos­si­ble beau­ty in those very first images, as a coun­ter­bal­ance but also to scorn the world. Out­side and inside, an acer­bic dark­ness and a sin­cere naivety. If you have missed your moth­er as a child, you always retain that phys­i­cal long­ing. Just like a child that has died and always stands by your side, the long­ing remains, even as a grown woman. I lost a dog that I adored and it walks for­ev­er beside me, as it were. Your body is the mea­sure, the source, all expe­ri­ences are stored some­where in the body. You make a draw­ing out of that indi­vid­ual phys­i­cal­i­ty and in those proportions.’Then there is this col­lec­tion of sub­dued sculp­tures with a card­board-like colour. These are rem­i­nis­cent of Gia­comet­ti; the ref­er­ence is clear, the tra­di­tion is present, the hand­print vis­i­ble. The fragili­ty of these sculp­tures makes their exis­tence waver. All the art of the past ris­es up before me, the art of all ages and all civ­i­liza­tions, every­thing becomes simul­ta­ne­ous, as if space had replaced time. Mem­o­ries of works of art blend with affec­tive mem­o­ries, with my work, with my whole life.’ (Alber­to Gia­comet­ti)

This press release is based on a recent­ly pub­lished arti­cle by cura­tor Hanne Hage­naars, writ­ten for Mis­ter Mot­ley (Sep­tem­ber 142015).