Glow in the Dark

Developing works in an on-site manner, Dijkman reacts to a specific context by making temporary spatial shifts or adjustments to a given space. These gestures often manifest themselves as installations that alternate the architectonic characteristics of a building or site and as interventions into the social layers of public spaces. Raising questions as to the supposed neutrality of public space, Dijkman manages to provoke and activate the local population and officials to rethink discriminatory policies practiced through these particular uses of the public space. In a more formal way, her installations function as unexpected theater stages that shine bright in the dark and bring out these usually hidden and invisible systems of control.

Working alone or in collaborations with various artists or collectives, Dijkman shows a strong belief in the efficiency of the artistic actions and interventions as ways to reflect on and improve the existing reality. These sometimes subtle and small interventions function as gigantic mirrors that reflect back the (hidden) image of the ones responsible for the establishment and practice of certain rules and regulations. Her definition of public space is wide and includes nature and urban environments in their totality. In this way, Dijkman raises the important questions in the Dutch context about the artificiality of nature itself as well as the particular belief of this society to control social space through the deceptive excuse of controlling nature.

As part of her constant explorations, Dijkman also questions existing methods and practices of archiving, documenting, and exhibiting site-specific works when taken out of their original context. For the Hiscox Art Award, Dijkman presents examples of four aspects of her artistic practice. Plakatieren Verboten! (2005) and Refuse Dump (2004) were temporary installations composed of ready-made or found material collected by the artist. They had the aim to raise the awareness of local inhabitants as to the special system of control and regulations, not only of material objects but also the censorship of information and proclaimed freedom of expression. Cityfood (2005) was a temporary installation resembling familiar sets and scenarios but when placed within a new frame, it questioned the relationships with this familiarity from another level. Proposition (2003), Tunnel (2004), and Rave Nature (2005) appeared as more concrete or minimal interventions in the form of installations related to the architecture of the space questioning the existing trajectories and openness of public space.  Marnehuizen (2005) and Rave Nature (2005) are the result of Dijkman’s research of the ways of exhibiting site-specific works in an art gallery context without being just their documentary registration but giving them a new life in the shape of independent artworks.

Written by Megan Bardoe and Vesna Madžoski

In: Hiscox Art Award Catalogue, Amsterdam 2006

Marjolijn Dijkman's website