Martin Fenne

Martin Fenne‘s (1964), by origin a painter, uses strips of satin piping to produce figures, following the shapes of the bodies and objects in an undulating motion, just like the lines in a copper engraving. The bands of shiny material partially overlap and are slightly lifted from the surface, thus they catch the light produces a beautiful luster. They are people sleeping on a mattress or just waking up: an ode to the American poet Walt Whitman’s poem Sleepers.
The figures are portrayed within their contours and are directly placed on the wall, making it seem as if the wall itself is part of the image. They have a stong painterly character but also work as bas relief sculptures that take posession of the wall that they are placed upon.

Martin Fenne is a colorist par excellence, his figures are determined by colour. He is inspired by the work of painters like Giotto, Jan van Eyck or Piero della Francesca, who also use colour to build up and vitalize the human figure.

In his present work he moved on to a more neutral subject: cardboard boxes that he constructs from satin piping according to the same labor-intensive method. As the seated or lying people are now missing, the image has distanced itself from a direct identification. The attention now shifts between the concrete shape of the box and the abstract structure of the horizontal and vertical lines produced by the strips of fabric. The image is composed in a color scheme with either subtly shading or strongly contrasting colours, the gleam of the shiny satin enhances this effect. Martin Fenne bases his works on boxes he finds in the streets. They are the by-product of a new economic reality in which an ever increasing number of goods are sent and transported via the internet. Cut open, ripped, folded flat and stripped of their content they still hold traces of their first, economic history. By subsequently folding, stacking, moving and combining the boxes a new image is created, with implicit references to social, political and ecological issues.

1964The Netherlands


1987-1989Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

solo exhibitions

2013RAW Art Fair, Galerie Maurits van de Laar, Rotterdam, NL
2012Sleepers, LUMC, Leiden, NL
1996Tangled Tale, Paraplufariek, Nijmegen, NL

group exhibitions

2013Channelling Culture, Museum Helmond, NL
On the Edge, De Garage, Rotterdam, NL
Rijswijk Textile Biennial, Museum Rijswijk, NL
Galerie Maurits van de Laar, The Hague, NL
Galerie Lutz, Delft, NL
2012Orpheus and Euridice, Art laboratory, Deventer, NL
2007Quantumfish III, RC de Ruimte, IJmuiden, NL
2006Nieuwe uitleenschatten, installation in collaboration with Mieke Marx, Der Aa-church, Groningen, NL
Galerie 32-34, in collaboration with Mieke Marx, Amsterdam, NL
2002Amsterdam Visit, in collaboration with Mieke Marx, Arti et Amicitae, Amsterdam, NL
2001The Sweatshop, W139, Amsterdam, NL
2000Nothing. It will show itself, installation in collaboration with Mieke Marx, W139, Amsterdam, NL


AKZO Nobel Art Foundation, The Netherlands
Aegon art collection, The Netherlands
Kolibri Collection, The Netherlands
BK Groningen, The Netherlands