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Marjolein Dallinga :: Exhibition at NSCAD in Halifax (2019)

Updated: Oct 25, 2021

“The life of this world is wind

Windblown we come, and windblown we go away.

All that we look on is windfall.

All we remember is wind.”

Charles Wright

For more than twenty years, wool has been my medium and companion. If the medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan stated, then what is the revelation of this material?

Felting is not something I do but a place I want to go, a language of the imagination, a challenging craft to consume my anxious energy. Are we artists not all driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide?

This collection of works, Move me/Touchez-moi, is a way to shatter me, to break my comfort zone, the protection which prevents the asking of questions.

Sculptures give a greater sense of reality. That may seem a ridiculous word to use, but they have a greater substance, You can grab a sculpture. You can’t grab a painting.

Viewers always want to touch the work. The aliveness of this medium makes it feel close to our skin.

I don’t really know why I make something, but I do know I want to make it. In art, I am free: everything is possible. Here I can be open, thin-skinned, easily yielding, very close to delight.

And the message? What is the message of all these soft sculptural pieces, these creations which look like mysterious hides or creatures from the sea or maybe enchanted forests? Some remind us of body parts, strange organisms that look like animals but at the same time like plants or mushrooms or maybe corals. Most of the felted pieces are expressions of the struggle with the body – they are about death and sex and the erotic life. Sometimes they literally express sensations or emotions.

I only see how the pieces relate to each other afterwards. The work unfolds: each piece has a kind of connection to each other. Inspiration comes to me, through the cracks. I have to be open and take the risk. Does this art, do these felted pieces, become a way to live, a way to survive?

The closeness of felt, almost a second skin, a friendship without a friend.

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