September 2009: 10.000 tiny testimonies to diligence.
The ’10,000 White Roses’ project began as a sort of visual investigation of female diligence. And it grew. Gradually, a long succession of women, of all ages and from all sorts of backgrounds, joined me in crocheting white roses. During what we dubbed our ‘Rose Princesses Evenings’, we gathered around a table and crocheted rose after rose. Until ultimately, we had more than 10,000: the stored energy of female hands, a testimony to female diligence.
I use these roses as the bases of small and large-scale installations, which show not only the unassuming simplicity of the single rose, but also the monumental beauty of thousands together. The contemplative, careful viewer then pauses for a moment to consider that almost forgotten phenomenon ‘female diligence’.
2011: 'Int. Triënnale of Textile',Tournai, Belgium
2010: Hilvaria Studio's, Hilvarenbeek
2010: Galerie Zand, Eindhoven
2009: Academie St. Joost, Breda
2008: Galerie de Meerse, Hoofddorp
October 2006: Once upon a time, there was an ideal woman. She was kind and caring, sweet-natured, diligent and very beautiful…
These characteristic qualities of a ‘good’ woman are not only the stuff of fairy tales, they are also the norms of the recent past. So, how do we see the perfect woman nowadays? Do those traditional ideals still prevail?
What happens when a modern woman lives by those guideline? How do those around her react? During my performances, I isolate and exaggerate a number of traditional ideals and seek interaction with the public.
The Rose Project focuses on the phenomenon ‘Diligence’. I was looking for an approach in which the desire to be diligent would be the only motivation. The end product had to be neither decorative nor inherently useful. It only had to be tangible testimony to untiring diligence.
In August 2006 I therefore started crocheting white roses. I perched myself on an uncomfortable stool and crocheted continuously around and around until my first rose was complete. It was a simple but labour intensive activity. After a day of careful crocheting my first twelve roses were ready. The energy and diligence of the day had been crocheted into the rose; the rose itself had no intrinsic function.
Daily I pinned the fruits of my diligence to my studio wall. One day a woman who had been following the creation of the roses for some time came up to me and offered her help. A week later she presented me with her first 30 roses. Moreover, she told me that both her sister and her neighbour would also like to help.
It is now December 2007, and the number of white roses has meanwhile grown to more than 4,000. 20 ‘rose princesses’ are crocheting diligently along. Every month I hold a ‘rose crocheting evening’, where all my princesses gather around me to crochet cosily together. The rose princesses work with diligence and dedication. They do not ask me the whys or the wherefores. Every rose they give me is imbued with loving devotion. Each rose has its own little story. Not only their diligence, but also their kindness, consideration and lovability cast a unique perfume over every rose.
|Riet van de Elshout|
Jo van Knegsel
Ton van Gijzel
Maria v. Gompel
Mevr. de Wit
Annie v. Eindthoven
Ria v. Eyck
Fien v. Strijthoven
Ria v.d. Steen
10.000 Witte Rozen – werken van Marita Kratz
price: € 24,95
Tekst: Kristien Hemmerechts, Agens Hilger, Margriet Kemper, Marita Kratz
Design: Roosje Klap, Tessa Kwee, Amsterdam
Publisher: Uitgeverij Pels & Kemper, ’s-Hertogenbosch
Order your book here
10,000 White Roses is also available from bookshops and Internet booksellers.
The Book Launch
10,000 White Roses was presented to the public in the Auditorium of Museum De Pont, in Tilburg, on 28 November 2009.
photo's Bernd Kratz