Interior perspective

Interior perspective

Author: Marrigje de Maar


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Notion of Home

Private spaces are shaped by spending power, by social and personal rituals and by personal taste. They reflect culture as well as socio-economic status and personality. In my photographic work I aim to capture the interplay and the frictions between these defining entities. In choosing my playground, I favour for authentic and creative personalities.

My fascination for private spaces does not concern the shell - the bulk of the building. My fascination is with its function as shelter, the embodiment of warmth and safety. For me a private space is a small cosmos of experiences and feelings, colour and light. It is this intimacy that I am trying to capture. Although I do not focus on any particular household object, they do give these pictures enhanced – and enchanted – significance.
Some of my pictures may appear more spatial, others more like paintings. During my time at Art School I worked in both fields, only in the end to find out that the best form in which to materialize my work was through photography.

I started photographing private spaces during a residency in Eastern Finland in 2003. From Finland I travelled on to Russian Karelia. Between March 2003 and July 2005 I made 4 trips to the area.
This first series "Maidensong" (Finland) and “Mothersong”(Russia) ment the start of a larger work in progress: “Notion of Home”. A project about feeling loved and protected, about being accepted the way you are. For this I intend to shoot interiors in different countries and cultures in the years to come.
In 2005 I got a large grant from the Dutch Foundation for the Visual Arts and I could make a trip to China. For almost 4 month I stayed, both in Beijing and in two villages in the country side - near Pingyao in Shaanxi and in Zhaoxing in Guizhou. In both villages I stayed with a Chinese family. The Chinese serie has got the name “The Emperor’s Wardrobe”.
The longer I work on this project, the more surprised I am about how universal this need for a private space proves to be. People use their private space – consciously or unconsciously –as a way to (re)create themselves. In this way private spaces can be seen as portraits.

Although many of my pictures are taken in humble houses, they are not about the aesthetics of exotic places or of the appalling life of the poor. For me the modest interiors are often more personal, then the afluent. Things hanging on the wall – a poster or some family pictures, or perhaps an old teapot or vase in a cupboard – they are there to please the owner not to impress the visitor. They are kept because they are reminders of a beloved person or a happy occasion, not to show wealth or status. A chair is still a useful chair even when the paint has chipped off or a leg has been repaired. Colours are faded by time and many years of sturdy use. They tell a story of their own.
My personal feelings of esteem and honour for both the people and the place is reflected in my work.When I take my pictures I never make any changes. I do not move, add or remove anything. To shape my image I only use the available light.

All these pictures are telling stories. Stories about how people house themselves – often under not so easy circumstances. How they shape their homes into their private space. A place to be themselves and a place for daydreaming. About the lives they would like to live and the persons they would like to be. Some spaces seem to fit their occupants completely. Independent of customs and habits the place looks like it is built around its inmates. A safe haven – a sanctuary – solely suited to them.

Underneath these stories there is another story. The story of my sanctuary! This place is not an existing structure - a cabin on the moors or a loft, high up in a skyscraper? My space materializes in my imagination only. The pictures serve as building material. Each new project adding more memories and feelings, deepening the shades of colour and light.

Owned by neville mars / Added by Stephanie Yao / 16.7 years ago / 69121 hits / 4 hours view time


  • beijing
  • homes
  • interior
  • photography

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