Welcome to the surreal world of Marie Cecile Thijs. Portraits of people, animals, flowers and food, they all bear her specific signature. Stillness is key.
Influences reminiscent of the 17th century Old Masters are recurrent in the artist’s work, simultaneously however her personal interpretation is completely contemporary. Thijs plays with her subjects by bringing them to life unexpectedly, or – on the contrary – freezing them in time and space. Objects become characters. They move away from their daily destination, assuming a completely new personality. This provides intriguing creations, where tranquility, motion and sometimes also humor meet. In the works of Marie Cecile Thijs the unusual is usual. She is specialized in staged photography, and created series like White Collar, Food Portraits, Amazons, Horses, Flowers, Birds & Vases, Majestic and Human Angels. She also taken many portraits of writers, cooks, politicians, designers and artists.
Her Food Portraits, contemporary still lifes with a strong surreal element, were first published in the Financieele Dagblad in 2012 to wide acclaim. They constituted a whole new genre in Dutch photography, and have since been included in multiple museum exhibitions. For this series Marie Cecile Thijs approaches the subject with a fresh sense of naiveté to build up the work without any existing assumptions, resulting in unexpected and wondrous connections. Through its meticulous execution the wondrous flying objects often depicted in this series appear utterly realistic and commonplace to the viewer.
Marie Cecile Thijs primarily works in series. These continue to expand as new works are created and her series are therefore never officially concluded. Important series such as White Collar and the aforementioned Food Portraits present an insight in the compositional skills of the artist. In combination with the clear contrast in the use of light and dark in her work, the result is a surrealist imagery.
Other series, such as Horses and Amazons, in which Thijs also are an indication of the profound insight of the artist in her subjects. The intimate yet direct portraits of animals and persons alike confront the viewer with a sense of familiarity and comfort. On the other hand the directness of these stylised portraits also create a sense of discomfort and abstraction. The artworks are therefore both minimalistic and vigorous.
This duality - between Old & New, Light & Dark, Intimacy & Distancing - is key to the art of Marie Cecile Thijs.
For Marie Cecile Thijs her Green Scenes constitute a clear new direction, working towards more abstract images and experimenting with new techniques including moving images. This series focuses on the futuristic world in which humans no longer play a part and fauna & flora have retaken their grasp over the ruins left by human civilisation and the immense impact on nature via genetic modification.
Marie Cecile Thijs examines what the world would look like when the human influence on nature no longer exists: What would happen if mother nature had free reigns and evolution was no longer limited by human civilisation?
This series is in part inspired by the current debate on climate change as the human awareness about its increasing footprint on the world around us grows and the balance between science and nature becomes disrupted.
In this futuristic world mutations have taken place between plants, animals and technique, resulting in an organic symbioses. Marie Cecile Thijs shows us fantastical still-lifes from her imagined reality, a fusion between abstract and figurative elements.
In the spring of 2020, amidst the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Marie Cecile created Biospheres. Reminiscent of her earlier work The Kiss, Marie Cecile Thijs sees a new society where distance is key. In her series flowers attain human characteristics; they remain attracted to each other, no matter the barriers and challenges put before them.
Her series have been published in several media, most notably Het Financieele Dagblad (FD Persoonlijk) and French newspaper Le Monde. Her work has been included in the permanent collections of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego (MOPA), the National Museum of History and Art in Luxembourg (Mnha), the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond (VMFA) and many public and private art collections. She has published several books, including Characters (2013) and Food Portraits (2015).
Marie Cecile Thijs had her first retrospective in Museum aan het Vrijthof Maastricht in 2015. In 2016 she took part in the exhibition Dutch Identity in Museum De Fundatie Zwolle and BAL! at Soestdijk Palace. In November 2016 her 3 month during solo exhibition started at 10 Corso Como Shanghai, China, in cooperation with the Consulate of The Netherlands in Shanghai. In 2017 her works from the series Majestic and White Collar were exhibited in Kunsthal Rotterdam (exhibition Cat Love, Nine lives in the arts). In late 2018 and early 2019 her solo exhibition ‘Between Heaven & Earth’ was on view at Museum Jan Cunen, Oss, The Netherlands. For SmithDavidson Gallery she has participated in numerous group shows and art fairs, including TEFAF Maastricht, Zona Maco Mexico City and Art Miami. Her solo exhibitions include Argentum (2016) and SOLO (2019-2020).
2020 Amazon Full series, Photo London Digital, October 7 - 18, SmithDavidson Gallery
2020 SOLO presentation, Fresh Eyes Photo Fair, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2020 Zona Maco Foto, Mexico City, Mexico
2019 SOLO Marie Cécile Thijs - SmithDavidson Gallery Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2019 "Panorama Tulipland 3.0 - Building blocks for a new museum", Museum de Zwarte Tulp, Lisse, The Netherlands
2019 Art New York, SmithDavidson Gallery, Miami, USA
2019 Photo London, SmithDavidson Gallery, Miami, USA
2018 Solo exhibition ‘Tussen Hemel en Aarde’, Museum Jan Cunen, Oss, The Netherlands
2018 BLOOM, Karmelklooster, Drachten, The Netherlands
2018 The Unusual Is Natural, Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana, Turin, Italy
2018 Miami Country Day School, Miami, USA
2018 TEFAF Maastricht, SmithDavidson Gallery, Maastricht, The Netherlands
2018 WE ARE FOOD - over de kunst van voedsel, Museum Jan Cunen, Oss, The Netherlands
2017 FOOD! Eten in de kunst en design van nu, Museum Nairac, Barneveld, The Netherlands
2017 Solo Exhibition, Kunsthal Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2017 Solo Exhibition, ‘Marie Cécile Thijs’ Galerie Catherine Niederhauser, Lausanne, Switzerland
2017 TEFAF Maastricht, SmithDavidson Gallery, Maastricht, The Netherlands
2017 Solo exposition Marie Cécile Thijs, Casa Tua, Aspen, Colorado, USA
2016 'Stills in Motion', 10 Corso Como Gallery, Shanghai, China
2016 'Argentum' Solo Exhibition, SmithDavidson Gallery Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2016 'Hemels Rembrandt' in collaboration with Rembrandthuis, Rembrandt Tower Boardroom, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2016 'Mix and Match' Exhibition, SmithDavidson Gallery Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2016 'BAL', Soestdijk Palace, Baarn, The Netherlands
2016 'Beauty and the Beast, the Animal in Photography', MOPA, San Diego, USA
2016 Art New York, New York, USA
2016 TEFAF Maastricht, SmithDavidson Gallery, The Netherlands
2016 Palm Beach Jewelry, Art and Antique Show, Palm Beach, Florida, USA
2016 Exhibition Museum de Fundatie - Dutch Identity, Zwolle, The Netherlands
2016 Pavillion Chairmanship European Union, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2015 Art Miami | SmithDavidson Gallery, December 1st until December 6th, Miami
2015 Art Silicon Valley / San Francisco | SmithDavidson Gallery, San Francisco, USA
2015 Solo Exhibition Museum aan het Vrijthof, Maastricht, The Netherlands
2015 TEFAF Maastricht, The Netherlands
2014 1st Place - International Masters Cup | Category Food | Chickpeas
2014 Exhibition at Sotheby's Paris, France
2014 Presentation on Mediawand Rotterdamse Schouwburg
2014 Participation The Big Art Calender Rotterdam | Rotterdamse Kunstkalender
2013 Publication Book Characters | Publisher Lecturis
2013 Portrait Salinero included in the collection Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
2013 Top 3 International Masters Cup - Category Fine Art | White Collar & Majestic
2013 Part of selection committee Fotofestival Naarden
2012 Exhibition Melkweg Gallery The Last Dance | Highlights by curator Suzanne Dechert
2012 Awarded in the International Photography Awards IPA | Unicorn
2012 Exhibition at New York photofestival Photoville | Cooks, New York, USA
2012 Nominated for a Magneet for Campaign Jonge Meesters for lawfirm Pels Rijcken
2011 Awarded in the International Photography Awards IPA | White Collar & Cooks
2011 Awarded in the Hasselblad Masters Competition | White Collar
2011 Exhibition Fotofestival Naarden, The Netherlands
2011 Exhibition in Supreme Court The Hague | Legal Practitioners, The Hague, The Netherlands
2010 Selected by the Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago for the Art of Photography Show 2010 | White Collar. Chicago, USA
2010 Awarded in Masters Cup of the International Color Awards | Human Angels
2009 Selected by FotoMuseum Antwerpen for international exhibition, Antwerp, Belgium
2007 Solo exhibition Melkweg Gallery Amsterdam | Portraits, The Netherlands
1999 Photobook Roomse Rituelen, publisher Ad. Donker Rotterdam
Born in Heerlen on December 27th, 1964