Maria Maarbjerg is a visual artist based in Dublin primarily working with analogue photography. Her work explores national identity and the emotional impact of living through Ireland’s housing crisis.
Maria studied photography at Fatamorgana – the Danish School of Art Photography in Copenhagen and graduated in Fine Art from Dublin School of Creative Arts at Technological University Dublin in 2020. Following, she received the R.C. Lewis-Crosby RDS Award 2020, and the Digital Media Graduate Award from Fire Station Artists’ Studios, 2020.
Maria is the recipient of our We Only Want the Earth Residency Award in partnership with Fire Station Artists Studios and Migrants & Ethnic-Minorities for Reproductive Justice (MERJ).
ode to changes
ode to changes is a 13 minutes long slide projection consisting of four small photo essays produced before, in the beginning, during, and end of the Covid lockdowns. The piece wishes to document the surreal strangeness the world experienced in 2020 and 2021. It is an iteration of Maria’s graduate project belonging without belonging, 2020, which focused on the housing crisis and optimism occurring during the first lockdown. However, ode to the changes elaborates on the opportunity for changes post lockdown, while it is my hope that the last year’s experiences will result in reforms in the current housing situation.
In the process of making the piece, Maarbjerg chose a specific spot to photograph which relates to the project. In terms of working with homes, housing and the housing crisis, she visited IKEA, Botanic Gardens and the Natural History Museum which all depict constructed environments, pretending to be homes, yet imitating reality. A parallel to the feeling some tenants experience, when living in rented accommodation; the place where one lives is not really a home.
ode to changes, 2021. Video work, 13mins
Belonging without belonging
Belonging without belonging was supposed to be Maria’s graduate show, the culmination of her four years of study. It started as a project about the feeling of insecurity and being in a constant space of transition, which many tenants living in private rentals feel, including the artist herself. Then came covid and the first lockdown. We saw the images from Italy with the army driving dead bodies out of towns, we witnessed an increasing number of deaths, and for a short while we were all in this together. An eviction ban was introduced, a rent freeze, and it felt when this pandemic was over things were going to be different. Maria decided to document that feeling of optimism and make it a part of the piece.
Belonging without belonging received the R.C. Lewis-Crosby RDS Award 2020.
Video Stills, Belonging without belonging, 2021.
Belonging without belonging, 2021, video work, 10 mins, TUDublin Graduate Project.
Everybody Deserves a Piece of Art
The Everybody Deserves a Piece of Art project is a series of drawings inspired by the much hyped 2014 anniversary vase by Danish ceramic company Kaehler. The vase quickly sold out and it became a symbol of bad taste due to the popularity and lack of uniqueness.
The art piece also takes inspiration from the concept behind the Danish company FDB Furniture. The design was rooted in Functionalism and the mission was to improve Danish furniture culture, and make well-designed quality furniture available to everybody. In order to achieve this, the price was lowered to an extent that FDB Furniture lost money on the project.
Everybody Deserves a Piece of Art builds on the same principle. It aims to battle tasteless, mass-produced IKEA posters, and heighten the aesthetics in private homes by selling each drawing for 10 euros. In contrast to the Kaehler vase they are all unique.
The piece was exhibited in Farmleigh Gallery in 2019 as a part of the group exhibition Metaphysics.