marike schuurman

etwas ist dazwischen gekommen, souterrain berlin, 2008

The exhibition showcases works by the Dutch artist Marike Schuurman (born 1964), which were created during her six-month stay in Beijing from January to July of this year.



inquire >

During her time in Beijing, the artist rediscovered one of her themes: “Plots,” which are sheets or foils hanging in the urban space in front of facades or construction sites, temporarily altering the cityscape. In her hometown of Berlin, they serve as advertising spaces, as a preview of a construction site’s outcome, or as an architectural vision of a street.


The Plots in Beijing, which are numerous due to construction work to address housing shortages and preparations for the Olympic Games, depict natural motifs such as trees, shrubs, and green spaces. They suggest tranquility and intact landscapes where noise and dirt typically dominate the urban landscape. Additionally, the constructed nature of the photos is noticeable, with mirrored parks and repeating bush and flower motifs assembled into artificial landscapes like collages. The plants almost appear as if they were glued into a model railway landscape.


Marike Schuurman explores this phenomenon and makes it visible to us without taking a judgmental stance. Her photos depict the juxtaposition of real trees and depicted ones, of existing architecture and merely suggested architecture, ultimately revealing the simultaneous and equal existence of the original and simulation.


This shift in layers of reality resembles a placebo that unmasks itself, yet goes unnoticed in the hectic life of a thriving metropolis: the stretched foils with landscape motifs are as integral to the city’s architecture as buildings, streets, and even people.


The photo “Beijing 1” shows sprayed advertisements (numbers) on Plots that have been painted over with brown paint. Here, a double concealment occurs: just as the foil with the computer-generated image of a landscape obstructs the view of a construction site, the advertiser’s phone number has been covered.


In the photo projection of a man sleeping on the street, titled “Citysleeper,” the photographer captures an intimate moment that takes place amidst traffic. A man has laid down at a randomly chosen spot on the sidewalk to take a brief rest, using a plastic foil he likely found as a cushion.


It appears as though the boundaries between private and public spaces have dissolved. Boundaries and differences are increasingly blurring in our perception, and Marike Schuurman confronts us in her works with the question of which reality we are actually living in.