Marrie Bot: The Burden of Existence

  March 1992

Image of Marrie Bot giving a talk at the Gallery of Photography for the exhibition The Burden of Existence

In the 1970’s Holland faced a democratisation movement in the institutions for the Mentally Handicapped. The aim was humanisation, acceptance and integration into society of the mentally handicapped.

Marrie Bot as a photographer, who works independent as an artist on social cultural themes, became interested in the subject and asked the question ‘Who are these people?’. With this in mind she asked permission to look around some institutions and discovered a whole new world, which was so positive, that Marrie decided to make a photo project of it. With the help of three artist grants Marrie worked on the project over an eleven year period, 1977 – 1988, and made an emotionally charged document of what she found.

Image from the exhibition The Burden of Existence at the Gallery of Photography

Image from the exhibition The Burden of Existence at the Gallery of Photography

Marrie’s project testifies to a very intense and honest involvement with aspects of a social reality which tend to be overlooked. Marrie Bot’s work exhibits a symbiosis of vision and commitment which will leave few people unmoved. Her work provides vivid proof of the fact that remarkable result can still be achieved in the field of ‘concerned photography’.

Image from the exhibition The Burden of Existence at the Gallery of Photography

Image from the exhibition The Burden of Existence at the Gallery of Photography

Marrie was awarded the Amsterdam Prize for Art in 1990 for this piece of work, and was recently nominated for the Cartier Bresson prize. She has exhibited widely and this will be her and this will be her first exhibition in Ireland.

Image from the exhibition The Burden of Existence at the Gallery of Photography

Image from the exhibition The Burden of Existence at the Gallery of Photography