In two seemingly opposite ways, Mireille Brouwer works with refuse as re-and
deconstruction materials of old and new realities. Her three dimensional sculptures are
baroque coagulations of discarded cuddly toys, recycled panty hoses and all sorts of other
ironic comments on hippy and cuddly art. The more unwieldy and direct its meaning, the
more she likes to work with it. She has a distinct preference for the unacceptable and anti-
ethical of found objects. She abhors all too obvious visual principles, like unity in form and
All the more important becomes the exaggerated way she connects these monstrous
constructions. Because silicone pastes, pur foam, plaster and all sorts of other, partly even
more repulsive, painted connective material, neutralize the initial abundance of meanings of
the assembled material. She 'pries' open the far too harsh and emphatic meaning of this very
lovely toy. As a result she clears the way for a new much more coarse-material meaning. In
this way, the cheerful, sticky and splattering pur foam becomes a cruel metaphor for the way
our consciousness every time paves a path through this wild and rough material of an, in
itself, completely unstructured reality.
Very different in nature are her cardboards, an enigmatic homage to New York
street life. The cardboards are the stories that are told in every major city through refuse
material lying in the streets. M.B. found a way to fold up these stories. That is, she took
home one of the many pieces of cardboard and gave back its former and familiar context
through projection (in every sense of the word). So, what takes place in the horizontal
relation between thrown away cans, weathered boxes and other refuse material, is reshaped
in a complex vertical tale of street life.
The upper side of a taxi is sliced off the cardboard. A traffic light in the distance mixes
with a much bigger neon sign at the bottom of a box. Through a jumble of hints about the
origin of the packing product a group of elated Latinos in a car make a peace gesture to
the camera. One car is parked casually against the same edges of the cardboard.
And all this happens in the dreamy and soft unpretentiousness of this material.
Here M.B. also uses refuse material as a metaphor for unused remnants of consciousness,
to subsequently bend it into an independent, coherent reality. As a starting point she uses
certain materials or several items from which the original coherence faded in a natural way.
She then constructs a new image that in an evocative way already carries the traces of its
approaching end. Sometimes with plastic and plaster, sometimes just with a crayon on cardboard.