top of page

The Maastricht Diplomat

  • 1200px-Facebook_f_logo_(2019).svg
  • Instagram_logo_2016.svg

Marres - A Space for Personal Development and Reflection in Maastricht

At Marres, the House for Contemporary Culture in Maastricht, the visitor and not the artist is at the center of attention. The space at Capucijnenstraat 98 does not have much in common with a typical museum either: Instead of having its own art collection, Marres invites new artists every few months to fill their space with inspirations for the public. Marres is also an educational research center, focusing on how we experience the world with different senses. 

In the following you can get a sense of what you might experience during your visit, taken from two Anahita and Célia who visited the last exhibition at Marres called ‘On Love’: 

Loving someone, and also losing love – an idea known to mostly everyone but still very rarely the theme of an exhibition.


Why is that?


Maybe because it is dear and private to us. Maybe because when we enter a museum, we do so with the wish to learn about someone or something else, not about ourselves.

I feel invited to reflect on love, like someone invites me into their living room – into their private and personal space.

“Goodbye to Love” - what a complex topic. Before diving in, take a moment to remind yourself which aspects of your life are interwoven with love, with different sorts of love. 

Chances are, one way or another, traces of love will be found in all of them. You might even have a specific instance in mind that required you to say goodbye. 

Disclaimer: I, intentionally, chose to keep my knowledge about the exhibition at a minimum before immersing myself in the experience and what I found exceeded my hopes. This exhibition I floated through all by myself on a rainy empty-streets kind of Tuesday afternoon connected me with people scattered over the cities, countries and continents all sharing one thing. The human condition, to which love is a basis. I felt deeply understood and comforted in my past and present sorrows. I bonded with strangers in spite of their physical absence. How meta, right?

Our Joyful Young Days by Bell Hooks

I walked into the first room to the right, as clear voices were echoing through the spacious echoing hallways of Marres museum. I did not understand the language, but every now and then I would hear a pensive voice or timid silence followed by laughter motivated by complex sensations. Laughter that sounds like an intersection of sorrow, positive resignation and retrospective pondering. After all, isn’t humor the most paradoxical coping mechanism of all?


There is a room containing nothing more than a wooden bench and a projection reaching over the corner of two walls. On the left, you could see retired factory workers speaking and on the right,  you could observe an artist in the process of creating. Sometimes there would be montages of nature and specific places filling the whole screen. 

The motive I noticed was fluidity. Water running, paint running down a canvas and still life. This almost uncomfortable silence. In those montage moments, you were staring at a screen showing a lot and not much at the same time. In those moments, there was so much space to think, to let the impressions sink in. Enough silence, to get uncomfortable. A silent oxymoron - rich emptiness. Drenched in that multidimensional piece of art, I felt chilly. Right on theme, since this was not a short film to sink into on a warm couch with warm indirect lighting surrounding you. 

It was a mellow film that pierced you in its painfully beautiful relatability. There was hopelessness and hopefulness. The agony was displayed as much as the time after the fading of it. A thought I could not shake? You learn to live with loss. You don’t forget loss as a whole. The effects of love lost are not lost. They are hidden in plain sight like a light veil of who you are.

Goodbye  to Love I  — Light of  Illusion

South Koreans share their stories of their first love. This is special because, for South Koreans, your first love is known as your forbidden love, the one you loved but were not allowed to be with. You then stand next to the huge golden wallpaper, almost blending you with its brightness. This art piece is called Light of Illusion, referring to separation after a destroyed marriage. It is a wallpaper made from two thousand unfolded cranes following the South Korean tradition for couples to fold 1000 origami cranes for the other person before their wedding, hoping for a happy life together.

Memorabilia of Broken Heart

Dr. James Hollis’s The Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other (1998): 

“All relationships begin and end in separation.” 

I enter another room. 

What were these people on the screens were depicting? What story were the pink toothbrush in a frame, a pair of socks and all of these other trivial objects telling?

 The universally shared story of love as a uniquely intense experience. One that can be most delightful and most painful consecutively or simultaneously. A pendulum that seeks for an equilibrium eternally.

Inanimate objects, made of plastic and metal, silver and gold as tokens of what was. Ever so often, we cannot grasp small stimuli of situations that add up to stories. Stories that, in the bigger scheme of things, rip our hearts out and apart, put them back together, make them beat fast and light or tight and heavy. Stories of attachment and separation, loss and gain, that we cannot “unexperience”. They now are an inherent part of us. No matter the course of events. We learn to live with them, we tuck these people, perhaps the versions of ourselves we were with them, away in the back of our hearts. After all, we are an accumulation of our surrounding circumstances, present and past. 

 Although I could feel the pain of these people flow through me, I observed feelings of fondness and peace in the essence. Is this what it means to grow up, to become wiser? Accepting, perhaps even cherishing our experiences for all they were. Beautifully, excruciatingly complex as they are? Talking about it smirking at the depth of what we were able to feel and overcome and at the unexpectedness of life?

What I would call “Sealed Lips, Open Letters”

To round up the cathartic momentum, the interactive part of the exhibition I reckon the most healing of all. Guests were encouraged to write (goodbye) letters to their loves and leave them at the exhibition for fellow lovers to read. Boldly raw seems a fitting description. One could jump between the stages of grief reading these letters. Some expressed earlier, more primitive stages of loss, some more reflected appreciative ones. Some were written for current loves, some for themselves. What they had in common? Universal relateability. I did not feel a stranger to the handwritten snapshots of mental states shared. Retrospectively speaking, when I was feeling them (for the first time), I could not comprehend anyone had felt what I had felt ever before.

Oh, how wrong I was. I was comforted by an exhibition that was like a mosaic of art pieces and stories shared.

Goodbye to love, paradoxically, felt like a warm hug on a sofa looking out at the rain. 


Marres new exhibition ‘Arturo Kameya – Opaque Spirits’ is starting on the 7th of March. If you want to find out more about the space and stop by for a visit, you may want to have a look on their website:


Email Address:

Copyright 2020 UNSA | All rights reserved UNSA

bottom of page