REGGIE VOIGTLÄNDER





Maria Was Here

sculptural video installation

Video installation based upon a painting by Dutch painter Lucas Gassel (1490 - 1568), in particular 'Escape to Egypt'. The installation elaborates on 'Maria' as a child bride in a war zone within the patriarchal system, linking it to current times. Worked out through performances and interactions with the artists daughter, a 14 year old teenager at the time. Connected to the installation: a fund raiser 'Stop child marriages' for Plan International. During its first presentation at cacaofabriek Helmond 600,00 euro's were donated.

This installation was funded by Gemeente Helmond.



Maria Was Here

Installation 'Maria Was Here' elaborates on 'Maria' as a child bride in a war zone within the patriarchal system, linking it to current times. It combines video with sculptural elements, painting and documentary and was built upon the painting 'Escape to Egypt' by medieval painter Lucas Gassel (1490 - 1568). The Christian concept of Maria is unraveled and demystified. At the same time, we see how the similarity with causes also maintains inequality between girls and women on a global scale today. Visual elements from video games and landscapes from Disney cartoons coincide with the visual language of medieval Christian metaphors. In the main video a 14-year-old girl (the daughter of the artist) portrays Maria from the reality of a child who was raped during war time. She becomes pregnant and is forced to marry an older man, due to cultural restrictions due to gender politics. The fictive content of the painting is interrupted as we see the child mother slipping out of her role to tell her story through the scenes in the painting. The arrangement mirrors composition and content of the painting. Like the fragile chalk painting on the floor that connects the different parts. One dead tree is the holder for a small video screen and is captured within a piece of furniture that was also used in the main video. This work arose after a fair amount of research. Such as an intensive Bible study in order to unravel the doctrine, the aspect of interpretation in itself, historical factual material and archaeological finds. Two documentaries that in case of presentation abroad will be translated into English are presented on a third screen connect past with present. These were visually altered in accordance with the installation. One is a news broadcast on the theme of child marriage in relation to the war in Syria and Dutch refugee policy on the matter. The other documentary by Plan International is about the forced child marriage of a girl in Sudan and related cultural and economic. The installation is completed with an action plan in the form of a fundraiser in order to enable permanent change regarding the structural inequality of girls worldwide. Because apart from creating awareness through visual art this installation is designed to actively contribute to positive change. It's the latest in an ongoing and intertwining line of works and projects that deal with power structures and culture of violence. The third video in which incarnated Mary expresses herself with regard to contemporary restrictions on sexism that she herself experiences today is created in the style that is characteristic for the way young people express themselves on social media platforms. I consider myself to be a critical artist. With my work, I question general assumptions and investigate universal aspects in relation to human existence and our (in)comprehension about it.




The installation received excellent critics in one of Netherlands leading newspapers.

"The installation of Reggie Voigtländer from Helmond is layered and unfortunately still topical. From Maria as a child bride (from the canvas Escape from Egypt from Gassel) to contemporary child brides from war zones, it is a small step and the artist depicts this with clear, sober images and appropriate sounds. Nothing intrusive, but Maria was here will grab you by the neck anyway. As a good installation should do." (Rob Schoonen, Eindhovens Dagblad.

Nederlands: "De installatie van de Helmondse Reggie Voigtländer is gelaagd en helaas nog altijd actueel. Van Maria als kindbruid (uit het doek Vlucht uit Egypte van Gassel) naar eigentijdse kindbruiden uit oorlogsgebieden, het is een kleine stap en de kunstenares verbeeldt dat met heldere, sobere beelden en passende geluiden. Nergens opdringend, maar Maria was here pakt je hoe dan ook bij je lurven. Zoals een goede installatie betaamt te doen." Rob Schoonen, Eindhovens Dagblad, 15-06-2020

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