Marjet Zwaans (NL)

Marjet Zwaans (b. 1988 in Groningen, Netherlands) seeks proximity with the material and people she works with. Although abstraction, statistics and rationality were central while studying economics, Zwaans strives to reverse these approaches in her artistic practice. With attention to ambiguities and sensitivities, she attempts to free models from their remoteness, to reconsider assumptions and to engage with the less rational aspects of life. She experiments with orchestrating social gatherings and games that privilege human interaction over sheer deductive logic.

Arising from games like Decentral Lecture (2017/2018), at the Jan van Eyck academy Zwaans delves deeper into creating a polyphony of voices and materials, while continuing to reflect on metaphors used in economic models. Whereas twentieth-century dominant metaphors were preoccupied with the language of mechanical equilibrium (to the exclusion of attendant social inequality, pollution, or exploitation and degradation of materials), writers have since begun to embrace economies as organisms embedded within a natural environment. Zwaans assimilates these lessons: looking around instead of forward, repurposing materials from older artworks and reincorporating the body while realizing her work.

Zwaans attentively looks at lichen, signifiers of healthy environments. The lichen is less a single organism than a symbiosis of multiple algae and fungi which both benefit from the interaction. The alga feeds the fungus and the fungus protects the alga. This insight forms the basis of her new polyphonic choral project, which also alludes to the social community at Jan van Eyck and the way its participants, their ideas, and the institute mutually nourish and strengthen one another through intimacy and trust. This interdependency and responsivity reflect among all Zwaans’s artworks, which develop and merge with and through one another.

-Text written by Amanda Sarroff, independent writer and curator in collaboration with Marjet Zwaans



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