As of 1995, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has placed the organization of the Dutch contribution to the Venice Biennial under the auspices of the Mondriaan Foundation. The Mondriaan Foundation appointed Chris Dercon, then director of Witte de With, as curator of the Dutch contribution for the 46th Venice Biennale. At the Venice Biennale in 1995, the Dutch pavilion housed a joint, thematic presentation of paintings, sculptures and films by Marlene Dumas, Maria Roosen and Marijke van Warmerdam. They showed recent and new work made especially for Venice.

After studying at Ateliers ’63 in Haarlem, Marlene Dumas (Cape Town, 1953) has exhibited with great success in the Netherlands and abroad since the early 1980’s. In Venice she enjoyed the unusual distinction of being doubly represented at the Biennale: the other exhibition was Identità e Alterità, in the Palazzo Grassi and the Italian pavilion in the Giardini. On 6 June 1995, moreover, The Particularity Of Being Human, a major Dumas retrospective combined with work by Francis Bacon, opened at the Castello di Rivoli, near Turin.

Maria Roosen (Oisterwijk, 1957), graduated from the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Arnhem in 1983, and Marijke van Warmerdam (Nieuwer Amstel, 1959) from the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam in 1990. Both are Marlene Dumas’s juniors, a factor which was all the more important now that the directorship in Venice has scrapped Aperto.

Dumas, Roosen and Van Warmerdam, despite their different approaches, complemented one another in the theme that interested us: the image of the “intermediate body.” By that token the presentation fell into line with the central theme chosen by the directors of the 46th Venice Biennale: Image versus Icon, a combination of a variety of exhibitions which examined the fast-changing representation of human identity.

The exhibition was conceived around Rietveld’s arrangement of the pavilion into three more or less separate rooms: a gallery opposite the entrance, occupying the entire width of the building, and two smaller rooms, each filling approximately a quarter of the space. The choice and arrangement of the works fully preserved the relationship to the basic square shape of the pavilion.