MinXus Mail Bag: Fashionable Text-ile by Mariska van den Heuvel (Warnsveld, Netherlands)

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Mail-art by Mariska van den Heuvel (Warnsveld, Netherlands)

Tenderfoots who have known us since a few miles back on the Long & Dusty Trail – we are talking about friends even before MinXus – know Mariska van den Heuvel is one of our fave conceptualists ever. We have written blog posts praising her endlessly but not recently because, alas, her presence in the network is sporadic at best. The work she shares is relatively limited. She was very active for a time about four years ago, and some of our readers made her acquaintance then. Otherwise, she might surface briefly – say – once a year.

Thus we are thrilled beyond measure to have received this missive from her. In addition to sending fascinating and compelling art, Mariska van den Heuvel has been known to curate interesting calls and sponsor contests. This piece she sent us, which we have seen elsewhere, might be part of a project with a larger scope and purpose. We have not put it all together yet, but will participate in some form if possible.

We believe Mariska van den Heuvel is a highly original conceptual artist whose style is immediately engaging and recognizable. We prefer to call her a conceptualist because her work frequently involves the textual realm and is often language-centered. (To be accurate, she is more a practitioner of “concept art” than conceptual art, the former being, to us, a more authentic practice which gave birth to the latter.) The work displayed in this blog, for instance, upon scrutiny, reveals text and fairly extreme erasure (or more precisely crossing out):

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Mariska van den Heuvel favors this extreme erasure, and we believe it ultimately involves a statement about language and silence. She had a notable exchange with Richard Canard (Illinois, USA) that involved extensive erasure.

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In terms of the exotic literary forms that thrive in the Eternal Network, Mariska van den Heuvel has produced notable vispo, asemics and haptics. As the work above indicates, they have their own style apart from the copycat river of material that can be witnessed daily on collective blogs and Facebook. We are not criticizing the current global outpouring of, especially, vispo and asemics; we are participants, after all. But we are praising Mariska van den Heuvel who is every bit as intellectual and talented as the vispo heavy hitters of our time, yet she manages to stand apart and create work that is totally and completely her own. The presence of text in a simple dress pattern is a reminder that the world we perceive is filtered through language.

Her work is so different that you probably need to spend some time with it to locate what she is doing. Her visual art is rooted in minimalism ( she is a practitioner of the aesthetic of the incomplete that we wrote about recently) and she often uses found material, but we contend she uses it like no one else. Mariska van den Heuvel is that rare case of someone who is genuinely working in the spirit of Fluxus, although she has never identified herself that way.

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Here is a link to learn more about Mariska van den Heuvel and her art:


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We are always thrilled to see and receive new work by Mariska van den Heuvel. Many thanks!


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