Purchased through the generosity of Nicholas Stanley
Colour photograph of a domestic interior, taken outside of Beijing.
Height: 115 cm frame, Length: 124 cm frame
2008 Photography Gallery re-hang (Victoria & Albert Museum 01/04/2008-30/04/2009)
De Maar's series Home Made is concerned with domestic spaces in various countries. Personal belongings, and the evidence of daily habits and necessities, give shape to a room and its inhabitants. Her images are made predominantly in the early morning, with natural light, so they require long exposures. This example shows one of the many unfinished houses on the outskirts of the rapidly expanding city of Beijing.
Marrigje de Maar's series, 'Home Made' (2003-2006), of which this photograph is a part, is about private, domestic spaces in various countries, including the Netherlands, Finland, Russia, China and Japan. De Maar rarely photographs the inhabitants of these spaces but the rooms nevertheless are seen by the artist as portraits of those who live in them. Personal belongings, and the evidence of habits and daily necessities, give shape to the character of the room and the person.
In most cases, De Maar gains admittance by going unannounced from door to door and showing a letter of introduction in the appropriate language. With this method, she is able to catch authentic states of domestic interiors and not one that is a censured or a version presented for visitors. Her images are made predominantly with available natural light and require long exposures. They share a sensibility with historic Dutch 'Golden Age' paintings of domestic interiors, but combine this with distinctly modern subjects and concerns.
Across cultural boundaries, desire for personal space seems to be universal. By dealing with the notion of home de Maar's images touch a common personal interest to which all viewers can relate. The photographs not only open the door to the private lives of others but also offer a possibility for reflecting on our own.