MARIUS JANSEN VAN VUUREN

Artist . Public Artist

About Me

I’m a South African Artist, collaborator and a maker of stuff.

PUBLIC ART

These works are designed to be accessible by the general public. Building new relationships and engaging people through art.

GIANT SCULPTURES

This is my journey of creating giant sculptures alongside Alex Rinsler.

STUDIO

My studio work questions our awareness of our environmental footprint and our contribution to this footprint.

Background 

The Giant Baby Giraffe was one of three large-scale public art installations that formed part of the It’s My City community project under guidance of British artist Alex Rinsler. The project took place together with the Vrystaat Arts Festival from 8 to 16 July 2016 and celebrated the coming together of different communities within the Bloemfontein/Mangaung area.
The three installations representing their various communities were Toy Windmill by Miné Kleynhans located on the UFS campus, Mother Tree by Tshiamo Arts and Crafts Development on Mapikela Square in Batho and Baby Giraffe by Marius Jansen van Vuuren on Hoffman Square. On the last day of the festival the works were brought together on the centrally-situated Macufe terrain. This transpired by means of a festive parade, and, after sunset, the installations were burned in a ceremonial manner. At all three installations, the communities of origin delivered inputs by means of voluntary work or attached wishes.
 
It’s My City was part of the Free State’s Human Project that develope initiatives to promote transformation and cultural insight and to encourage the appreciation of others. It’s My City was presented by the UFS and the Free State Arts Festival with the Australian Programme for Innovation and Artform Development (PIAD). The project was planned by the UFS in collaboration with the British artist, Alex Rinsler, and was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
 
Giant Baby giraffe

The Baby Giraffe was one of three large-scale public art installations that formed part of the It’s My City community project under guidance of British artist Alex Rinsler. The public added thousands of messages to the works, expressing their wishes for the future and for their loved ones. After a week the sculptures came to life with three community-led processions, meeting in a fourth location where they were set them on fire. It was the 2016 signature project of the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD) a partnership between the Vrystaat Arts Festival and the University of the Free State, supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

 
This project initiated a collaborative relationship that led to a series of giant sculptures, including the world’s largest straw squirrel in Almaty Kazakhstan.  
 

Inspired by re-purposing animate and inanimate materials, the reconstructed bronze tree series investigates the ephemeral life-cycle of living organisms in the natural world in contrast to the extended lifespan of the products we consume. The work questions our awareness of our environmental footprint and our contribution to this footprint. The relationship between the bronze and cardboard moreover questions the phases of life and the concept of permanence. Recreating trees from found dead branches and casting them in bronze is a process of upcycling nature which contrasts the use of the other materials that form part of these sculptures: cardboard, wood and steel. Furthermore, these sculptures become symbolic of the full phases of life and the experiences that transform us.

We Can Be Heroes 2019

We Can Be Heroes is an interdisciplinary public art project that found its debut at the Free State Art Festival, where it consisted of four large inflatables inspired by the Southern sky, imagined worlds and local mythologies. Locals in and around the city of Bloemfontein were invited to hold a giant balloon and to share their thoughts on what they think of when they look to the sky. The balloons came together on one site at the festival, forming a unit outlining the footprint of the city during the last two days of the festival. During these two days of the festival the collected thoughts of the locals were projected onto the surface of these inflatables.

We Can Be Heroes was presented as part of the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD), an initiative of the University of the Free State and the Vrystaat Arts Festival, generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in partnership with OSCA – Open Space Contemporary Arts (Australia). Conceived by Australian artist Paul Gazzola and designed by local artist Marius Jansen van Vuuren.

Africanis 2017

Africanis was a public art installation that formed part of the Public Art Project (PAP) during the Free State Arts Festival. The project addressed safety in public spaces and challenged the stigmatised city center in a playful manner. Six silhouettes of Africanis dogs were spread out in a hunting formation on Hoffman Square in Bloemfontein. Local artists were invited to continuously change the identity of the dogs for the duration of the week.

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