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Marjolijn Dijkman: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum/MATRIX 234 (September 26–November 28, 2010)
First solo show in the United States by the emerging Dutch artist Marjolijn Dijkman explores the foundations of how we perceive and experience our surroundings
Berkeley, CA, September 17, 2010 — (Download a PDF version of this press release.) The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is privileged to present Marjolijn Dijkman: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum/MATRIX 234. Theatrum Orbis Terrarum is an ongoing photographic archive of more than 9,000 images, which attempts to rethink existing representations of our physical world. Initiated in 2005, Dijkman’s project takes its name from the first modern atlas, Abraham Ortelius’s 1570 publication the “Theater of the World.” Relying on equal parts fact and imagination, Ortelius’s atlas gave form and shape to distant countries, illustrated similarities in urban planning, and provided a visual interpretation of connections between places across land and water. Dijkman’s atlas of images, comprised in this MATRIX exhibition as well as on her website <a href="http://www.theatrumorbisterrarum.com" target="_new">www.theatrumorbisterrarum.com</a> and in several publications, makes those aesthetic, political, and social choices inherent in our depictions of our world explicit.
Dijkman posits Theatrum not only as an atlas, but as a collection and archive—through images of places and situations in the built and natural environments, she evinces the impulse to accumulate and catalogue, represent and understand, relate and individuate across the world. Photographs are the mode most indexical to reality, as representations of it rather than descriptions or interpretations of it. They are the primary means through which humans offer evidence and documentation, but they are similarly arbitrary (framing includes some features to the exclusion of others; lighting conveys mood and emotion, for example).
Entering the MATRIX exhibition, the viewer will be surrounded by panorama of about 300 physical images displayed along the walls. This field of images is contrasted with a rear installation of thousands of projected images, organized as a rapid slideshow, each sequence of images introduced with a textual reference of action (Abandon, Botch, Camouflage, Declare, Embrace, for example). Both installations create movements or chapters by linking individual images, the former by a relational visual logic and the latter through specific association of language and image.
As a means to engage publicly, Theatrum also presents itself in a free newsprint publication that introduces the project and considers other points of reference in cartographic, archival, and artistic projects historically, and in the present. In total the project is the artist’s attempt to “gain insight into the way in which the world is organized” both by attempting to collect and present a multivalent image of the world through photograph and text, and by using different modes of classification and organization to question the possibility and impossibility of understanding the world through such means.
Dijkman has exhibited her work at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Mercosur Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil; Arnolfini, Bristol; MACBA, Barcelona; MuHKA, Antwerp; Bloomberg SPACE, London; Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn; De Appel, Amsterdam; Sharjah Biennial; and Van Abbemuseum, Eindoven. In 2005, with her partner Maarten Vanden Eynde, she founded the artist-run initiative, Enough Room for Space, which partners with sites and institutions around the world to initiate temporary projects that explore critical positions of art in society and create platforms for collaboration. She graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy; did post-graduate work at the Piet Zwart Institute; and was a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie.
This exhibition is curated by Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator Elizabeth Thomas.
Conversation with Michel Dear and Marjolijn Dijkman
Sunday, September 26, 3 p.m.
Exploring overlapping interests in human geographies, emergent urbanisms, subjective mapping, and expressive representations of place, the artist and Michael Dear, professor of city and regional planning at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, will chart an improvisational course through this mutually compelling terrain.
Admission is free. Opening reception follows.
The MATRIX Program at BAM/PFA is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees.
For more information about the exhibition and special programs visit: bampfa.berkeley.edu/exhibition/234.
The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is the visual arts center of the University of California, Berkeley, one of the nation’s leading research universities. BAM/PFA aims to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through contemporary and historical art and film, engaging audiences from the campus, Bay Area community, and beyond. One of the largest university art museums in the United States in both size and attendance, BAM/PFA presents fifteen art exhibitions and five hundred film programs each year. The museum’s collection of more than 15,000 works, distinguished by artistic excellence and innovation, intellectual exploration, and social commentary, includes exceptional examples of mid-twentieth-century painting,
including important works by Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, Eva Hesse, and Mark Rothko, as well as historical and contemporary Asian art, early American painting, Conceptual and contemporary international art, and California and Bay Area art. The PFA film and video collection now includes the largest group of Japanese films outside of Japan, as well as impressive holdings of Soviet silents, West Coast avant-garde cinema, seminal video art, rare animation, Central Asian productions, Eastern European cinema, and international classics.
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