‘Oh no,’ she says, ‘I couldn’t hurt a fly.’ And looking at her (slender, size 10, large grin, twinkling eyes) manslaughter and murder wouldn’t be the first things to come to mind. But there is actually something quite gruesome about the work of Marianne Peijnenburg – if you want to see it, that is. Because it is equally possible to just enjoy it.
Hilarious, that life-size marshmallow Barbie on a roast! Where did that come from?
To me, Barbie has always been a symbol of unrealistic expectations towards life in general and the personification of a rather dubious image of women that you can also find in the real world: just be pretty, enjoy the luxurious life… All marvellous fun as long as you don’t expect anyone to be genuinely interested in who you really are.
So she has to be Barbiecued?
Yes indeed: put her on the spit! Get a life Barbie! At the same time the BBQ takes on a host of other meanings. Someone from Croatia for example who saw the BBQ, immediately thought of violence and torture.
Right, that is something I meant to discuss with you: in your large installation ‘Ceci n’est pas une histoire douce’ the scene develops from a pick nick to a party; the party turns into an orgy and the orgy leads to a massacre…
Isn’t that great? The installation consisted of twenty edible glass stained windows made of liquorice and winegum and the people just loved it; the kids ate those windows clean. They hardly looked at the violence; all they saw was a colourful artwork they could eat. For me, that is what makes it worthwhile… Art doesn’t have to be made for eternity, doesn’t have to be sacrosanct.
All the same we are talking about an artwork that is shared and incorporated and that continues to exist in the community: do I taste a hint of Catholicism?
Certainly, I was raised a Catholic; holy communion and church every Sunday. Somewhere along the way I’ve lost my faith, if ever I had any to begin with. I do play with Christian iconography sometimes, the incongruities of religion can be quite fascinating. Maria is like Barbie’s sacred twin sister to me, the expectations are equally absurd. The first glass-stained window I did, ‘Eat and Pray’, addressed those issues but since then I used different themes and images all together.
There is this series of performances and installations featuring a winegum copy of your own naked body.
Several years ago I made a mould of my own body that I continue to use in various ways. I cast myself in marshmallow and in ice, I also made three sculptures from winegum. During the performances I take myself out of the mould and each time it is like assisting at a birth. Very impressive. Then I drag myself around; it is a heavy burden, the sculpture stretches, tears, sticks to the floor.
It sounds terribly dramatic?
You might say that this is simply a reality we all have to face: life isn’t always easy and there are moments when we just don’t know what to do with our selves. During the performance I feel a kind of tenderness for this helpless winegum creature that is unable to stand on her own two feet. I am kinder to myself than to Barbie.
You have been reusing these sculptures in an installation many people find upsetting.
‘Tais-toi et sois belle’ you mean?
The one where you show the damaged and moulded images of yourself in large plastic bags that are connected to some sort of respiratory device. That is rather morbid, wouldnít you say?
There are two things here: one is the beauty of decay. I happen to think those moulds are really magnificent. The other thing is how these copies of my body have become entirely dependent on me: I decide over life or death. And then there are all these associations the installation can evoke. The bags are inflated first and then drawn vacuum. It says a lot about the art world in general. But it also refers to pharaoh mummies or to people on life support: when do you pull het plug? Who takes the decision?
At some point you trade places with one of the sculptures and you are lying in a plastic bag yourself…
Maybe it was time to let go of my alter egos… Eventually, it is all about facing our own demons.
Revaluation, Künstlerhaus am Anscharpark, Kiel – exhibition with Nanne op ‘t Ende, performances
NotE to Self, TAC, Eindhoven – performance
Kunst van hier tot ginder, Boerderij Vossebeeld, Holten – sculpture
Lekker Belangrijk!, TAC, Eindhoven; Electron, Breda; Willem II fabriek, Den Bosch – group show, performances
Food for Thought, Kunstenlab, Deventer – group show, performance
Schaamteloos M/V, TAC, Eindhoven – group show, performance
Open Monumentendag, Grote Kerk, Breda – group show
Kunstnacht, DMTloods, Den Bosch – group show
mEATing – Kill Your Darlings, Udenhout – group show, performance
Schaamteloos M/V, Electron, Breda – group show, performance
allerzielen.nu, Biezenmortel – group show
Kunstnacht, in samenwerking met kunstlocatie Würth, Den Bosch – installation
Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival, Groningen – group show
Vice Versa, TAC, Eindhoven – performance
Fort Knox, Eindhoven – group show
B*THERE Festival, Den Bosch – performance
Midgetgolf! DMT loods, Den Bosch – group show
FabrIQ Festival, Verkadefabriek, Den Bosch – installation
BBQ, DMT loods, Den Bosch – performance (try out)
Visit the lord at your own risk, de Refter, Ubbergen – group show, performance
Drive-in! DMT loods, Den Bosch – group show
Klub Koe #21, voormalig huis van bewaring, Den Bosch – group show
Artspace Flipside, Eindhoven – performances
Klub Koe # 19, DMTloods, Den Bosch – performance
Week v.h. Bossche Makershuis, DMT loods, Den Bosch – pilotproject
Gluren bij de Buren, Kruithuis, Den Bosch – group show, performance
Artspace Flipside, Eindhoven – group show
Burgers Autonoom Centrum, Eindhoven – permanent sculpture