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WORKS    1982 - 2019

Marcelle van Bemmel's performances are a continual effort to catch the invisible: the invisible evolution, art as a mental process, the rocks that nobody saw moving, the invisible force behind our need to create, the alter ego,  mirrors as a means to confront the truth, events that take place on a scale which is so different from our own experience of time and size that we are not aware they are happening. We need reconstructions to take notice. Objects of art as well, she states, are not really visible. The material object which is called an art piece is not the artwork itself,  but a metaphor for invisible emotions.

The sculptures and installations Marcelle van Bemmel makes since 1990 are about confusion. How do we know whether the emotions we have when we observe an art piece, are the same as someone else's experience in relation to the work involved. And are they the same feelings the artist tries to pass on to us? The  only certainty we have is that we will never know for sure. In an amazingly optimistic way Marcelle confronts us with the question why it is necessary to create and observe art if we cannot agree on how to deal with what we see. She plays with emblemata -from the sixteenth century and contemporary ones- and  none of them have fixed meanings. She encourages us to hurry slowly. It is not the answer, but the way to get there, which counts.

In 1992 she presents a sculpture in Museum Morsbroich in Leverkusen (Dlnd) which doubts itself. On the sash of a transparent michelinman can be read: Cogito? The writing on the walls quotes an advertisement  for  a correspondence course in drawing: "The sooner you make your first five thousand mistakes, the sooner you will be able to correct them".


If works of art are regarded as invisible emotions, the visible objects (no matter how carefully they are constructed) are mere keys to these feelings. Matter as a servant of the mind. From this point of view it is not amazing that  Marcelle van Bemmel chooses to present her artworks in a limited time span: as performances or installations. In 1996 she makes a sculpture which, with the help of growing grass, changes shape and colour during the exhibition. It becomes  more and more a part of the landscape. The artwork as material object disappears. The (mental) process is fossilised in the form of documentation.  

In 1997 Marcelle van Bemmel establishes an artwork in Millevaches, France. No new materials are added to the site. Soil and water which are already there got replaced. This results in a new shape which is allowed to slowly lose its outline and dissolve again in the surroundings.In the same year the question about the relation between visible objects and invisible feelings is reversed: can invisible processes like thoughts and emotions evolve without matter? The answer is worked out in the performance 'Synaps' and opens new possibilties in her work.


In the years after Van Bemmel still prefers to use "materials" that do not have a defined form: reflections, light, sound, the passing of time. In Hook of Holland, Heusden and Drulon large mirrors are situated in the landscape which do not draw attention to themselves, but create a visual replacement of the surrounding. In the exhibition spaces Safe, Biemold’s Belang, Kunsthuis Hardenberg, en Fort Ellewout the floors are coverd with water, in which hovering objects are reflected. In Hardenberg, Haaksbergen and the Bergsingel (a moat) in Rotterdam texts are placed upside down and in mirrorwriting just above the waterline, which makes the reflection a readable quote. History plays an important role in her assignments for the Historic Museum Rotterdam(2002), the Architecture Institute Rotterdam (2003)  the Bergsingel (2005), Fort Ellewout (2006) and the leasure space in Blijdorp Zoo (2007).

In her installation “The stuff that memories are made of” (2008) Marcelle van Bemmel refers to the blacklight boxes with landscapes in paper cuttings that she made for her final project at the Academy of Arts. The wish to wander physically in one of those dreamscapes came true at last.Her recent installation in France “How to...(two) – quand la vie était encore en noir et blanc - when life was still in black and white ”(2009) goes back in time as well. The emblematic black and white pictures (why is that man behaving in such a funny way?) from 1962 are situated in a dito interior. Wallpaper, textiles, and lamps cite the style of the early 60's. The chairs and stool are designed by Bertoia around 1958 and the other attributes are also from that period. The distorted table emphasizes the feeling that things are not completely right.


In 2009 Marcelle creates an installation in Peninsula - Van Abbehuis in Eindhoven which expresses the elusiveness of visual art: 'Jamais ici'. Never in this material world. And the figurine doing a handstand on a mirror reads: 'Altijd daar' (Always there). The installation in 2010 at Drulon 'toujours la' continues that issue. Just like the turning hand and the moving broom there is a clear aspect of time in the installations 'Leda en de zwaan' (1986), '151 doigts' (151 fingers, 2004), 'Hibou' (Owl, 2005) 'Wisteria' (2005) 'Jump' (2006), 'De verstekeling' (The stowaway, 2012) and 'Shadow piece' (2015). Even with a static work like 'Waterrad' (Water wheel, 1982) time plays a role. With Cerf (Deer, 2011) two movements are condensed in one sculpture. From 2011 and on Van Bemmel experiments with the growing process of moss with which she makes texts and drawings.


The first time Van Bemmel used shadows was in her work 'Leaving my shadow' in 1974. The fascination to work with something elusive is also shown in her installation with light and shadow 'De verstekeling' (2012) in which shadows created with hands show appearing and disappearing animal contours. In the same installation hands of paraffin seem to radiate light. In her last "Shadow piece' (2015) a space is filled with a shadow landscape in which deer are moving around. They are mainly projections of cut-out paper, that can be used in ever changing combinations.


Elusiveness, confusion about interpretation, matter versus immaterial things are themes with which Marcelle van Bemmel tried to inspire her public, using a great variety of materials. From 2016 and on she is mainly involved in photography, often in the shape of panorama pictures. Details that most people would overlook get much attention, but of course also reflections and shadows return in het pictures.