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Marleen Sleeuwits’ Art Distorts Everyday Spaces

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Dutch artist Marleen Sleeuwits works with a variety of commonplace materials, primarily in empty office spaces, to create abstract, colored installations that visualize the identity of the rooms in contemporary ways.

Sleeuwits is inspired by what she describes as “impersonal environments—places that could be anywhere and nowhere”, for example, abandoned rooms in commercial buildings, vacant zones in airports, and unoccupied hallways and corridors in hotels. Sleeuwits is attracted to these monotonous “non-spaces for the lack of impression they leave on people”. Through artistic techniques like illusion, contradiction, and the manipulation of scale, Sleeuwits meddles with the viewer’s expectations and assumptions of their surroundings. Her process involves reducing the spaces to their individual parts, and reassembling them into sculptures and installations with found objects from the spaces. This includes laminate, insulation, rubber, tape, tubes, foil, and glass. Photographing the end result, the artist’s compositions provide an interesting perception of space and scale that provoke a playful series of questions from the viewer: Where are these spaces? What are their functions or purpose? Why is there a lack of temporality? The answers remain to be seen, and this is precisely Sleeuwits’ point.

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All images © Marleen Sleeuwits