De Donderdag – RTV Albrandswaard (in Dutch)

Interview Palet – That is my vacation

On holiday?

“I don’t need to cross the border to be on vacation,” says Marianne Jansen. To be able to enjoy things or get inspiration, she doesn’t have to go far from home. She acquires her impressions in various places and in different situations, which she then gives back to her images. “I love my work and it gives me more satisfaction to come home from my studio tired after a hard day’s work,than coming home after a long journey.”
Yet vacations play a special role in work and life Marianne Jansen. Not so much because she picks up the suitcases herself for adventuring abroad, but rather to go to a small village in France and give a group of interested people modeling lessons there. She sits with them, if possible in the open air, to work at a large table with her fingers in clay.
An important outlet for Marianne Jansen is giving modeling lessons. “Teaching is like a mirror to me,” she says. “You let the students develop ideas that I am working on myself. My own work therefore ripens more. “ It is quite a discovery for her to see what you can transfer and how you can make participants enthusiastic. She is not concerned with the well-known ashtrays and apples, but she tries to let the students expose something of themselves, to portray a life. “Sometimes the result is amazing. ”
The students come from all over and have all kinds of professions from gym teacher to clerk. The level between the students does not play any role in the workshop and course by Marianne Jansen. She says: “Someone who has no experience brings something completely different than someone who already has a lot of experience. “It is therefore not about the operation but about the experience.”


Marianne Jansen regards the work of an artist as a solitary profession. She always feels she does everything alone. Sometimes also consciously. In her studio, she isolates herself, as in an ivory tower, and paints, draws and shapes her work. Yet this does not always satisfy her and she regularly seeks distraction to gain inspiration. In addition to giving lessons, she likes the theater; where on stage she is in dialogue with someone else . “I need this openness precisely to balance my work. Marianne Jansen is in the fortunate circumstance that she has two studios in the center of Groningen next to her own home. One studio is the attic of a warehouse. Due to the abundant light from outside, this studio is very suitable for painting and working with colors. Although she likes to draw and paint, sculpting is important to her. For this she now has her other studio: a ground floor, the servant floor of a large Groningen mansion. Here she finds the peace to work on her sculptures and she has the space for much needed storage.
She likes Groningen well. Of course not only because of the beautiful studios. But because of the clear climate, literally in nature and figuratively because of the time that people take for each other, she does not feel inhibited to go her own way.


While talking with Marianne Jansen and looking at her images, you see what her passion is about: people. Her images are always figurative for a very obvious reason: life fascinates her and therefore people. Questions like “what drives people” and “through which movement a feeling is expressed” keep her busy. She can look at it endlessly and make sketches of it. As soon as she takes hold of the clay, she sets the sketches aside and starts working from her feeling. Marianne Jansen explains that she always starts making a model in clay. She does not work on her image in a goal-oriented way, but while working and kneading the image that she had intuitively envisioned emerges. She searches for a certain posture or movement. For her, sculpting is an intense process that on the one hand has a satisfactory result and the other time after hours of hard work it produces nothing. The picture is suddenly finished. The clay figure is casted now. This is a special aspect of Marianne Jansen’s work. Because we do not see baked ceramics or statues cast in bronze. Marianne Jansen uses other material that surrounds the image with a mystery. She pours her images into cement. Of course on the one hand it is a cheap material, but on the other hand she also likes it.


Of course we know cement as the material for construction. It is a relatively new material for the sculptor. One of the reasons that its use has remained limited is that it was considered a poor stone surrogate. Cement, it was thought, had no character of its own and was of little importance for the development of the art of sculpture. But it is now believed to be a solid material. The strength of cement depends on various factors. In the first place the moisture content: the more water the image contains, the weaker it is. The second factor that determines the strength is the use of filler and also the curing method. It is important to control the curing time: if it dries too quickly, it will not be equally strong everywhere. The best way is to keep the casting cement moist for around eight to twenty-four hours by wrapping it with damp patches and cloths. Furthermore, the strength depends on the reinforcement used: that is a metal construction around which the image can be cast or even molded. The popularity of cement has increased since the 1950s. Artists such as Wendy Taylor and Henri Moore have each applied this material in their images in their own way. Thematically, Marianne Jansen suggests a lightness in her work, underlined by the titles she gives as “Towards the light” or “Attention”. Because of the choice of material, there is a contradiction in her work: between the subject and the nature of the material. Due to the weight of the material, Marianne Jansen puts more weight in the scale: you cannot ignore her images.

Skin and color

As soon as the image is taken out of the mold, it is covered with a dull layer. Marianne Jansen is not satisfied with this: she will color it. This is how the work comes to life for her. She does not use paint, but a different material, so that the skin can continue to breathe. She applies different colors of pigment in powder in layers on the image. A wax layer with a layer of talcum powder comes over it. Because of the many brushes, the talcum powder forms a connection with the wax layer. This brings about a special result: it becomes shiny and hard. However, the cement remains visible under these layers, for example with the sharp lines in the image. Marianne Jansen can endlessly occupy herself with this game of polishing, removing and adding. It will be clear: meeting people is important for Marianne Jansen and her work. Whether she teaches or sings and dances, she gets energy for her sculptures at all times. “I can rewind all ideas to the visual, to my own images. This way of working is in me. That is my vacation now! ”

1996 Elise from Melis Palette 261