Marjan Lambers (1951) was born and raised in Assen, Drenthe. As a child she regularly spent the holidays with relatives who lived on a farm in the beautiful Drenthe countryside. Possibly her love of nature and interest in organic processes and natural materials originated in this period. After secondary school she moved to Groningen and followed a technical course in handicrafts and manual skills which, however, lacked the opportunities for free artistic expression she was seeking. So moving on to the Art Academy in Groningen (Minerva) seemed a logical next step. In 1978 she graduated there, focusing on sculptural techniques.

In 1979 Lambers moved to Amsterdam where she broadened her artistic activities while continuing to make her own work, mainly in mixed media techniques. She designed sets for musical performances on behalf of the theatre group Samba Salad; for Amber Film Productions and for the Souterrain Theatre of the Tropical Museum in Amsterdam. She also contributed to the Holland Festival Production (The Discovery) by Bruce Gray, which was staged at the University Theatre of Amsterdam. In 2014 she accepted the awesome job of making a partial reconstruction of the Haarlem studio of the Dutch painter Kees Verwey on the occasion of a retrospective overview of his work in the upper gallery exposition rooms of the Artists’ Association ‘Arti et Amicitiae’ in Amsterdam.

Having obtained her pedagogic certificate in 1991 Marjan Lambers worked as a teacher in various Centres for Artistic Expression and Education. She also organised workshops for children in her own studio, in which she introduced them to a variety of materials and techniques – including photographic ones. The children’s Art Programme ‘Salto TV’ featured a special issue on this course. In Emmen she worked for Samba Salad in the context of a welfare project for Roma children, in which she supervised the making of theatre sets designed for their own musical show.

Over the years Marjan Lambers took part in a great many artists’ exhibitions and initiatives. From 1995 onwards she was a regular participant in the yearly ‘Open Studio’ exhibitions in ‘de Pijp’ in Amsterdam. She contributed to artistic events organized by ‘Schoorlse Kunsten’ in the province of North-Holland (2002-2007). In 2010 she was invited to participate in the ‘Arts Route’ in Broek en Waterland – grassy wetlands to the North of Amsterdam. Such surroundings iconically reflect the intuitive relation to natural materials and processes which is such a pervasive quality in Lambers’ sculptures.

Besides participating in a number of group exhibitions as a member of the Artists’ Initiative ‘Arts place’ and the Artists Association ‘Sint Lucas’ her work was also shown in Galerie Imago, Galerie de Kunstzaak, and Galerie Plein 7, all in Amsterdam. Beyond Amsterdam there were exhibitions of her work in e.g. the International Art Fair ‘Huntenkunst’ in Doetinchen and Varsselder; Galerie Kunsthuis13 in Velp; Galerie Bianco in the Molen in Wassenaar; Dirk van Someren’s ’Sculpture Garden’ in Weesp; and in Galerie Omgeving in Borger. Lambers’ work can be found in government and municipal collections, as well as in the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam and in private collections.

As a result of the exhibition in Borger a film portrait of Marjan Lambers was made by TV Drenthe for the programme Bartissimo in 2010. An earlier ‘portrait of the artist’ (broadcast in the TV programme ‘Lopende Zaken’ VPRO 1998) featured her as one of three artists whose work had attracted special attention.

The year1997 was a turning point in Marjan Lambers’ career. She became interested in restoration work: the variety of techniques, materials and craftmanship fascinated her and resonated with her own artistic inclinations. She accepted a traineeship and followed several workshops. Soon after her first job a major challenge presented itself to her in the form of a commission by ‘Arti et Amicitiae’. A large collection of original ‘Berlage’ furniture, in daily use in the establishment, was in dire need of repair. She accepted the job and over the years devoted herself to the task of restoring the furniture to their original robustness and character with great love and attention to detail – thus saving this unique collection from destruction. She remained responsible for its maintenance for over 16 years.

All of these professional activitities, however, inevitably affected her own artistic production. From time to time she had to escape town in order to create time for herself and her work – preferably in complete solitude and the silence of nature. She worked three years in Schoorl in a summer house at the edge of a forest; there her wooden sculptures came into being.

When looking after pets in farmhouses a new generation of mixed-media work saw the light, based on her artistic intuitions about the primary materials she found in the environment. In Muiden she eventually rented a shed in the middle of the polder where she worked for four years – an ideal retreat: so close to Amsterdam and yet a completely different world. But nowadays Lambers mainly lives and works in her studio in the Amsterdam ‘ Pijp’ again, since 2015 focusing exclusively on her sculpture.

Jet van Dam van Isselt.