An ongoing project by Maaike Stutterheim
“ΔΩΡΙΖΕΤΑΙ” is a project made by Maaike Stutterheim, a dutch visual artist that graduated from the Gerrit Rietvelt Academy in Amsterdam. She came up with the idea of this artwork, during her two-month stay in Snehta Residency (Athens written backwards). Maaike has been visiting Greece (and specifically Athens and Leros) almost every year since the age of 4. Therefore, she has both the objective eye of a “foreign” artist and the attachment and sensitivity of a “local” one. This combination was pretty crucial for the making of the project. She wanted to make a work focussing on the juxtaposition of the growing amount of empty spaces, shops, houses buildings, and the growing amount of homeless and jobless people in Greece. Some weeks after our first meeting she asked me: “Do you see all these paste-ups saying FOR RENT and FOR SALE? They are everywhere. I want to create one that says FOR FREE.” At that point her research for the realization of the project started.
We need here to stress that Maaike comes from a “different” background. In Holland there was a law (until recently), that legitimized the occupation/squatting of a building, if it has been empty for more than a year. On top of that she is a member of the Artists with Attitude (AWA), a curatorial initiative that was based in the cultural centre OT301, which used to be a squat in Amsterdam. In her artworks one encounters the idea of the re-use of empty spaces a lot. During the past years she creates installations/“environments” in abandoned hotels in Europe, using found objects that people left there These storytelling images reveal that the artist not only attempts to construct on nothingness, but also to extract life from the uninhabited.
[A text created by Vital Space Team in cooperation with Maaike Stutterheim]