‘ […] My mother came from the flamboyant town of Maastricht. She was a beautiful woman who unfortunately died far too young. She married my father, a businessman, and moved to the blunt and austere north of Limburg. But she brought her beauty. Always dressed in beautiful clothes, gorgeous fabrics, beautiful jewellery, strings of pearls, embroidered table linen and silver and crystal bowls. […] and when I was sad because I saw my mother’s beauty fading away, I would hide in all those beautiful fabrics and seek comfort in them […] Before she died, she gave me a box of Mon Cherie chocolates filled with small tubes of Talens oil paint, in all the colours of the rainbow […] ’ (Marliz Frencken)
The sculptures by Marliz Frencken from the Netherlands appear to originate from a surreal world. They consist of female figurines which are fairytale-like, fragile and precious – and each and every one is unique. At first sight these radiant, eye-catching, colourful sculptures are reminiscent of glazed fruits at a fun fair that spark a childish design to grab them. Frencken adorns her clay figures with curious found items and wraps them up in transparent synthetic resin. Each of the sculptures, regardless of whether they are quietly immersed in thought or ecstatically twisting their bodies, tells its own story. Frencken creates in her sculpture a highly imaginative cosmos in which anything is possible. For example, she provides a slender beauty in a red and white checked dress with an arm reaching right down to the ground – or alternatively places, say, a disco ball, a porcelain bowl or an egg shell on the heads of her creations.
Frencken’s love of beauty is, as she states herself, attributable to her background.
Her impressive image of the beautiful woman stems from her relationship with her mother, who died young. The photograph of her mother wearing a ceremonial wedding dress keeps her daughter’s memory alive. Just as children slip into their mother’s clothes and transform themselves into a grande dame or a ballerina, the artist fashions diverse female forms which are beautiful, enchanting beings.
Frencken integrates chance as an artistic principle into her work by decorating the coloured clay sculptures with things she has simply found (objets trouvés) as well as materials taken from everyday life and consumer articles. Everyday trinkets, decorative knickknacks and functionless gadgets become anecdotal and symbolic elements within the context of her sculpture – utensils that point to their own correlation of meaning, such as the petite woman dressed in festive green carefully holding a bottle of eau de cologne in her arms as if bearing a child or some other precious item. The artist experiments boundlessly in this manner with shapes and symbols of high and low culture: she combines and recycles quotes from pop art, surrealism and rococo; she blends the idea of classical sculpture with the aesthetics of pop culture.