Marieke Pauwels


Marieke Pauwels is Master of Visual Arts and currently MAD-faculty Head of Department of Ceramics. She recently started a research project at MAD-faculty & UHasselt. Since 1989 Pauwels has exhibited at home and abroad, testing the conventions of her medium with performance art and winning a number of coveted international awards. A welcome guest speaker on the role and the future of Ceramics in Contemporary Art, she has lectured in Austria, China, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and the UK. Residencies in Japan, the Netherlands and China continue to inspire her work. Pauwels has worked for two decades as a teacher in art education. A number of articles on her work have been published.

As she digs, revealing that which remains invisible to the average eye, Marieke Pauwels recycles and defunctionalises her shapes, then goes on to cosset, preserve and protect them. In her work Pauwels reinterprets folk cultures and traditions in a contemporary light, questioning the integrity of creation. The transposition which emerges preserves the vulnerability of what has been lost – the fragility of objects, of techniques but above all of ideas. Investigation of the image runs parallel with the relationship between that which is depicted and its essence. The phenomenon of the mountain also plays a recurring role, one in which Parnassus is iconic. Landscape is a charged metaphor. To Pauwels it forms a background to her existential search. As a vehicle of opposition, the mountain recalls the antithesis between East and West, worlds to which she feels so closely bound. In her oeuvre, the mountain, moreover, is an expression of the contradiction between the spiritual and the physical, between the transcendental and the earth(l)y, between the eternal and the variable and, as elsewhere, between the religious and the erotic.

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