As she digs, revealing that which remains invisible to the average eye, Marieke Pauwels recycles and defunctionalises her shapes, then goes on to cosset, preserve and protect them. In her work she reinterprets folk cultures and traditions in a contemporary light, questioning the integrity of creation. The transposition that emerges, preserves the vulnerability of what has been lost – the fragility of objects, of techniques but above all of ideas. Investigation of the image runs parallel with the relationship between that which is depicted and its essence.
The phenomenon of the mountain also plays a recurring role, one in which Parnassus is iconic. Landscape is a charged metaphor. To Pauwels, it forms a background for her existential search. As a vehicle of opposition, the mountain recalls the antithesis between East and West, worlds to which she feels so closely bound. In her oeuvre, the mountain moreover is an expression of the contradiction between the spiritual and the physical, between the transcendental and the earth(l)y, between the eternal and the variable and as elsewhere, between the religious and the erotic.