Marie Hendriks


Meijes met rode haren
(Red haired girls)

For her first exhibition at Jozsa Gallery, Marie Hendriks immerses us in a personal and complex universe between reality and fiction. She creates a timeless space and a disturbing-strangeness surroundings by combining childhood memories and fairy tales. The artist wonders about the uneasiness that exists in the reassuring rationality of everyday life. She shows indirectly, with derision, doubts, obsessions and troubled situations. Once passed their ingenuous beauty the images show a more unsettling side that can be related to unconscious parts of our minds. As the Dutch title (Meisjes met rode haren) suggest, red hair appears to be a recurrent theme throw-out this gallery show.

Entering the gallery we are in front of two photographys from the Onder de brug van Laere series. Onder de brug van Laere are the opening lyrics from a Dutch nursery rhyme. The photography’s of this little ginger girl surrounded by stuffed birds were taken in the natural history museum Henri Dupuis of St Omer. This museum has been closed since more than 15 years and is covered in mystery and dust. The little girl’s frank and innocent expression contrasts with the strangeness off the staging. Her feather like eyelashes and coat make us believe in a possible metamorphosis.

The same museum features in No Fly zone. It shows a museum attendant / scarecrow watching, while being watched by a multitude of stuffed birds. His double and conflicting mission constrains the attendant to a grotesque and tragicomic situation. As an attendant he should keep the birds whilst as a scarecrow he should scare them away. The organ soundtrack inspired by of the Wizard of Oz emphases the uncanny atmosphere.

In the same room, four scepters-horses are displayed. The assembling off glass, stainless steal, resin and (red) hair give them a precious and fragile appearance that contradicts their toy like shape. These scepters were created during the Spaghetti Western Baroque series inspired by the Sartiglia carnival. Every year, since XVIe century, the stables of Oristano in Sardinia, join the silver star hunt race. The masked riders wear the most beautiful brocades while galloping threw the streets.

During the four days of festivities and competition, there is a special day for children: la Sartiglietta. During la Satiglietta young girls take up the almost exclusively masculine competition. Marie Hendriks is interested in how they embody the same gestures and rituals as their adult predecessors. For the Spaghetti Western series, she appropriated pieces of the folklore, choreographies and festive decorations from the Sartiglia and associated them by analogy to the western genre and mythological equine figures.

In the corridor, a large pastel of the same series shows Wim, the artist’s grandfather, as a star-hunter next to her sister and the artist’s self-portrait as a child.

In the last room, three drawings from the Meisjes met Rode haren series are presented. They are drawn with black India ink and gouache on white, pink or blue paper. These drawings where inspired by old family’s pictures. They evoke the first meeting and the love story of her grandparents that took place 90 years ago on a frozen lake. Johanna the red haired girl embodied the feminine ideal for her grandfather Wim. He decided to win her heart with his skating tricks. By appropriating esthetics and figures from the past, Marie Hendriks introduces anachronisms. The multilayers of different styles and periods create a timeless space, an indeterminate past, a “once upon a time” the ideal beginning of a new narration. The double, the reflection, mirrored figures, and compositions where a same character can have several appearances are recurrent in her body of work.

The last photography represents a giant wedding cake with a lot of candles. These melting candles stand for the advanced age of the artist’s grandfather and are at the same time a vanity symbol. Like in some of the drawings, the red-haired girls are embodied by the artist herself. The same ceramic sculpture is staged in the video Scattering Cake. This video shows the tension between Eros and Thanatos in the attraction of two people, transforming the seduction game into a wonderful and macabre circus act.


Portfolio /in .pdf



Marie Hendriks (1981, Nijmegen, NL) followed her parents in France in the early 1990's. She studied at the ENSAB of Bourges (2000-2005) and then specialized in new media at Le Fresnoy de Tourcoing (2005-2007). She lives and works at Kortrijk.

Most recent solo exhibitions include Nightmarry Me at BuBox (Kortrijk), Intrigo in the Musée de l'hôtel Sandelin (St Omer), POMODORI vs STARS at La Maison Rouge (Paris) and Adhemarie Show in the Château des Adhémars (Montélimar). She also took part in exhibitions such as Pearls of the North at the Palais de l'Iéna (Paris), and Quand je serai petite at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Calais.

Solo exhibitions