contemporary art / history of art

Artwork of the month / December 2018

Garage Still #10/2014
Jacquie Maria Wessels

Analogue C-print
Edition of 6, 120 cm x 120 cm
Edition of 10, 70 cm x 70 cm

The photography “Garage Still #10/2014” by Jacquie Maria Wessels shows a table with an open red box on it. There are objects – more or less identifiable – in front of and in the box. Strikingly, the focus is directed on the box and the wall behind and not on the foreground. Therefore, the table and the pieces on it are blurred. Due to this, the attention of the spectator is guided to the sharp box with its content. The bright red of the box and some golden elements of the objects foster this effect. At first glance, the impression is to look into an opened treasure chest.

Nevertheless, the title indicates a very different context. “Garage Still #10/2014” is part of a series, which is photographed in classical car repair garages, which the artist visits all over the world since 2014. In this context, some of the pieces could be identified as car tools or spare parts like sockets, a ball bearing and perhaps a brake disc. However, the sensation is still not the one of an oily dirty ambiance. Only a closer view reveals, that the red box might have been cleaned, because there are dark traces of wiping on the bright red and slashes on the wall. Despite this, the golden shining parts and the whole arrangement recall the demonstration of precious things, which they are for the mechanic, even though their presentation have nothing to do with their usual utilisation.

By arranging the – for her often unknown – objects in a new context, Jacquie Maria intends this alienation. She assembles the pieces regardless their original function and creates compositions according to aesthetic criteria, which she records with an analogue camera. In doing so, she intrudes the previously male dominated harsh world of bulky and filthy tools. Thereby the artist builds up a distance between the normally functional unit and her interpretation of it. The result are still lifes of new mysterious worlds.

Additionally, this alienation could be seen as reference to the changing work and living conditions. In general, women entered in many fields of public life during the last 100 years, due to the increasing equal rights. New technologies encourage this development even in former male dominated sectors. Previously standing for progress, the specific world of cars and their maintenance, is strongly transforming. The classical car repair garage will gradually disappear. Since modern cars are strongly computer based, garages resemble more scientific laboratories. Screwdriver and oilcan are almost outdated. It will become increasingly difficult to find these places, where manual work and sometimes improvisation dominates. Hence, Jacquie Maria not only documents this vanishing world, but she also gives it a new poetic expression.

The Garage Stills series, including “Garage Still #10/2014” was latest on view in the Antwerp (Belgium) based Galerie Baudelaire as solo exhibition of the artist. Furthermore, it was exhibited at this year’s Photo Basel, also with the Galerie Baudelaire. In 2017, the photos participated in the Encontros da Imagem in Braga, Portugal and in 2016 in the group exhibition “Photography Extended III” at the Museum het Valkhof in Nijmegen (Netherlands). Three prints are part of the collection of the huis marseille museum voor fotografie, Amsterdam (Netherlands).


Jacquie Maria Wessels

Born in Vlaardingen, Netherlands, Jacquie Maria Wessels worked two years as assistant in a Brussels photo studio, before studying at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and graduated in 1990. During her time at the Rietveld Academy, she focussed on photography and drawing. After an exchange program at the Quicksilver Place Academy of Arts in London, England, where she studied painting and drawing, she found out that photography is her preferred medium. For a deep understanding of her subjects, the artists engages herself into long period projects. Although her images partly have a documentary character, influences from painting often remain evident.

Since her first series like “Eating in Public Places” (1994), “Street Portraits U.S.” (1996 – 97) and “Family at home” (Brazil, 2001) Jacquie Maria is questioning societies and their impact on individual life. Consequently, she studied between 2004 and 2007 Social Psychology at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Afterwards, she travelled inter alia to Suriname, where she shot the series “The Birdman” (2006 – 2009) and “Cityscapes” (2008).

For her latest and still ongoing series “Garage Stills” Jacquie Maria travelled several countries in Europe and abroad, like Cambodia, Cuba, Italy, Morocco, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, Russia and Japan. The picture “Garage Still #10/2014 – Amsterdam” is our artwork of the month December 2018.

Her photo series participated in many group and solo exhibitions in the Netherlands, but also in Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal, Greece, the United States and Surinam and several (inter)national Art Fairs. She is represented in numerous public and private collections. Additionally, the artist was honoured inter alia by the Amsterdam Fund for Art & Municipal Archives of Amsterdam, the Province of North Holland and the Photography Foundation in Utrecht (Netherlands).

Jacquie Maria lives and works in Amsterdam.