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On the Soft Edge of Space

Onomatopee 124

Solo exhibition by Marleen Sleeuwits at the Onomatopee project-space.

Exhibition runs untill November 20th.

Is it possible for our direct sensual experience of a space to derive understanding from a different representation of space?

The solo exhibition On the Soft Edge of Space of Marleen Sleeuwits derives its title from her artists’ book, recently published by Onomatopee. Like the book, the exhibition is a stage on which space is placed at the centre by exploring it in a particular visual manner.

By means of architectural, site-specific interventions, Marleen Sleeuwits manipulates space’s artificial nature to put our sensual experience of space to the test. Although the site-specific works in the Onomatopee show merge into the space’s architecture, they remain individual, unrelated sculptural objects, as slight deformations of reality. This renders space itself contradictory – that is, like a tangible fata morgana. Her work tries to find a new horizon in these poetics.



Does this just create a widening of the existing space, or does she call it into question? Usually, spaces are created to serve man, but here space appears to impose a will of it’s own on reality. This gives rise to the question if we, in a functional space of a man-made architectural structure, can relate to the space’s autonomy itself. We may have to test this: put an ear to the wall and listen intently or put our hand on the floor to feel its temperature. Maybe we should do more to appropriate the perspective of the walls of the space we stand in, which determine the proportion of the vacuum radius around us – like a dancer toeing the edge of the dance floor with his eyes closed.

The site-specific play with space, in space, is supplemented with the presentation of a number of photo works, which render the sensual side of reality abstract, like a script. And finally you can explore the book, which again plays with various perspectives: the page margins, the edges of walls in a photographed scale model, the frames of the works in the scale model et cetera.

Visual artist Marleen Sleeuwits (1980) is particularly interested in the illusory character of depicted spaces. Or to put it more precisely: in and with her work she creates situations in which the viewer is confused by a realistic looking rendering of a space which is in itself entirely artificial. She draws her inspiration from anonymous work and living environments and places through which we move, without any identity of their own, which could be anywhere and nowhere: offices, hotels, airports, etc., where artificial light creates an atmosphere on which time has no hold. In her more recent work Sleeuwits builds new spaces (or sculptures) with materials from such spaces, such as laminate, dropped ceilings, parquet strips and fluorescent tubes, which she then photographs.** Her photographs, sculpture and installations are on show regularly, for example in recent exhibitions at the FeldbuschWiesner Gallery in Berlin, LhGWR Gallery in The Hague, and also at the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam and at the museum Het Valkhof in Nijmegen.

* Text Freek Lomme
** Text Frist Giersberg




Onomatopee 124, Marleen Sleeuwits, 2016

On the Soft Edge of Space

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Artist Marleen Sleeuwits, known for her photography, objects and installations, takes this experimental book to propose a four-tiered representation of space: starting with two-dimensional images of space, that are then placed in a scale model, to the photos taken inside this model and, finally, to their convergence in this book. The spaces could be anything from a museum to a lobby or a passageway: locations we know as places for contemplation, for waiting or for movement. The condition of the spaces’ bare walls is hard and sober, offering little support: the space you see in front of you and the space outside your field of view, foreground and background, seem to be absorbed in a timeless vacuum.

Surely there is space beyond our sight, in the realm of our imagination, containing much of our desire. How we would love to reach out for tangible attachments to activate the bare, cold or sober life: a supportive foundation not to be found in the spaces this book contains.

Depicted here are immersive spaces, waiting for someone to come and touch base. This way the book, as a space, is a challenging environment. As we leaf through these rooms, we can sharpen our view of the world: when will these spaces come to life and who will lead the way: the room, or the user? Sleeuwits touches upon the question how we might find consideration in such places. On the Soft Edge of Space is a visual experiment and a challenge to our imagination.

Contributing writers: Edo Dijksterhuis, Basje Boer and Freek Lomme
Graphic Design: Karin Mientjes of Collective Works, The Hague
Color correction and lithography by Marc Gijzen
Printed by Drukkerij Roelofs BV, Enschede
Binding by Van Waarden

All paper supplied by Igepa, paper merchant, Tiel:
Lessebo design 1.3 white, 130 g/m, page 1 till
PhoeniXmotion Xenon, 150 g/m, page till

Marleen Sleeuwits is represented by Gallery LhGWR, The Hague and Gallery FeldbuschWiesner, Berlin

This publication has been made possible with the financial support of Stroom The Hague, the Mondriaan Fund and the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds / Josine de Bruyn Kops Fonds.

And sponsoring by Igepa paper and Souverein (post-production)


Marleen Sleeuwits (23 June, 1980) works and lives in The Hague. Following her study at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, she earned her Master’s in Photography at St. Joost, Breda in 2005. She is being represented by Gallery LhGWR in The Hague and by Gallery FeldbuschWiesner in Berlin.

Her photo works, objects and installations have been exhibited, among other places, in MKgalerie in Rotterdam; Belfast Photo Festival; the Nederlands Fotomuseum; Nieuwe Vide Haarlem; Brno House of Arts, Czech Republic; Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle; Belo Horizonte International Festival of Photography, Brasil; Museum Het Valkhof; Jeonju Photo Festival in South Korea; and Photo Levallois, Paris,

Marleen Sleeuwits was elected Foam Talent 2012 (Foam fotografiemuseum Amsterdam) and in 2013, she was a finalist at the prestigious International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères, France.

Her work is represented in collections of institutions like the Erasmus University Rotterdam; KPMG; De Brauw Blackstone and Westbroek; Heden Den Haag; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and various private collections including the Sanders Collection.

Edition of 1000

331 x 240 mm / 12.5 x 9.5inches
Marleen Sleeuwits
Basje Boer, Edo Dijksterhuis, Freek Lomme
Collective Works
120 grams Wibalin Naturel White (cover), 150 grams Lessebo Design White 1.3 (schutblad), 130 grams Lessebo Design White 1.3 (176 pages) 150 grams phoenix Motion Xenon (104 pages)
full color
Art Libro / Drukkerij Roelofs
Foil on cover (Kurz Luxor 455)
Freek Lomme
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