Margot Berkman | Portfolio Categories Public Area
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Elisabeth van Thüringen Fund Exhibition 2018

measurements: 3 m x 3 m x 3 m



Breathe with the Ocean


A nature of form that takes you to different thoughts

I wanted to create a contemplative world in the 20 meter high church.

A world in which your eyes feel the warmth of the wool on your skin.

The lines of the branches play in the church-light.

Your hands can change the color of the light, to reinforce the image you want to see

In your favorite color

Algae and seaweeds give the world oxygen, much more than the rainforests.

Do you know someone to whom I can add oxygen?


Exhibition ‘Art from Care’ about healing art in Dutch hospitals





Aphrodites Garden train station NS Zandvoort 2011

Measurements: 120 m2


On the platform you look in the garden of Aphrodite


I consider the kiosk at train station Zandvoort as a sea-aquarium, where the underwaterworld full of mythological animals becomes visible. I am inspired by the collection of 16th and 17th century books from the library of the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, in which strange sea creatures are described and drawn, including the Metamorphoses of Ovidius. 

Together with my finds of algae on the beach, I turned it all into large drawings. “Venus swims with a mirror to the Sea-Unicorn, Neptunus joins the Sea Elephant and it seems that the Seadeer is very happy in the proximity of Lady Fortuna.



Film The Ocean Breathes Sealight 2018

Watch the film …..


Film about the 15 m long interactive light-artwork, Oncology Centre, Spaarne Gasthuis inHoofddorp, the Netherlands.

Sealight III 2018

Providing Oxygen…


Seaweed and algues provide more oxygen in the world than the rainforests. Margot Berkman brings attention to the big kelp forests with seaweed I. 

Ignis Fatuus Apeldoorn (NL) 2016

7 statues: 3,30 m x 1 m x 1 m


Nietzsche would no doubt argue that an encounter with the ignis fatuus is inescapable in the course of attempts at human self-realization.


The inspiration for the statues was the local saga about a horseman, in which the rider in the forest of Apeldoorn was misled by a wandering light. The ‘Ignis Fatuus’ is used as a statue for transformation in the visual art like, Anselm Kiefer, Louise Bourgeois, Vincent van Gogh, Willem Elsschot en Goethe. The statues from Margot Berkman are solidified memories from the good light. They show you the way. 


Philosopher and curator Karja Rodenbrug curated the exhibition  ‘Wandering further, wandering light, about Ignis Fatuus and Orpheus.’  


Fluitend door de Kerksteeg Zandvoort 2010

Measurements: 20 m x 2,5 m


Whistling with blue and golden sparrows..


The community of Zandvoort has commissioned Margot Berkman for a ceramic tile artwork in the Kerksteeg. Tiles with this motif of the blue and golden sparrows can also be seen in the artwork ‘De Dame en de Muse’, designed by Berkman and Janssens in Bos en Lommer in Amsterdam ‘.

artworks of Berkman en Janssens – archive 1997-2010


Berkman en Janssens realized more than 30 large art commissions for public area from 1997 until 2010. Margot Berkman continued working solo.


Commissioners (a selection):

Prorail en projectorganisatie Betuweroute, Stadsdeel bos en Lommer, RET Rotterdam, Gemeente Utrecht, Gemeente Zandvoort, Daniëlle Lokin, Directeur gemeentemusea Delft, NS Vastgoed, IKEA Holding, Woningbouwvereniging Rochdale Amsterdam, Gemeente Vianen, Rijkswaterstraat, Prorail, GZH, Gemeente Delft, Provincie Utrecht, Provincie Noord Holland, Schildersbedrijf Joh. Van Doorn de Bilt bv, De Nederlandse Spoorwegen, Burgemeester Annie Brouwer-Korf, gemeente Amsterdam


For more information:

Hebban olla Vogele Nestas Estate Pingjum 2010

Measurements: 3,5 meter x 2,5 m (ensemble of two elements)


Mrs. M. Guise’s words at the unveiling of the artwork

“As you know, I will occasionally stay in Pingjum. In my beautiful garden I roam, I read, cut and prune. I breathe in the scents from the Frisian Land. There used to be an octagonal aviary in the back of my garden, full of exotic birds.. When I came to live here ten years ago, the stone foundation was the only thing that still remembered the aviary. Margot Berkman is a visual artist and has made images that inspires me. They are sweet and elegant. They are often fairy-like figures that refer to the greater desires of this life. I have asked her to look around in my garden to make a work of art for me. Margot has photographed and sketched, worked and she stayed here. Margot told me that my love for literature, the contemplation in my court, my paradise and my love for nature were the inspiration for the artwork.


Margot Berkman:

My inspiration, the medieval carpet series ‘La dame à la Licorne’, tells about universal love and the desire for contemplation through the sixth tapistry entitled ‘A mon seul Désir’. The old presbytery and the 12th century Gothic church of Pingjum, the desire to be there and the vastness and tranquility of the landscape underline that idea. The title of the artwork ‘Hebban olla vogele nestas’ is derived from the oldest line of poetry in Dutch literature:


Quid expectamus nunc
Abent omnes volucres nidos inceptos nisi ego et tu
Hebban olla vogele nestas hagunnan hinase hic
Enda thu wat unbidan we nu

(12 e eeuw, anoniem)


The dutch writer, Gerrit Komrij has written about it so beautifully in his collection ‘in Liefde Bloeyende’: ‘did all birds start building their nests – except me and you – what are we waiting for?’ He investigates the significance of this very first Dutch sentence that has been found on a front cover of a book from the Benedictine abbey of Rochester in Kent, England. Is it a mini-poem, is it about the desire for the warmth of the monastery or is it about a mystical desire of God? Or was it just a monk with spring fever and was this sentence just a ‘probatio pennae?’ The loving monk who has become a poet . Komrij writes: “Read the sentence as it says it. The rhythmic and emotional sequence, contained in a metaphor- and you are like birds- makes this clear concept of thought in a field of tension from sounds to lyricism, to a poem. ‘


Could it be that the poet of these lines in the 12th century wrote this from the tower of the church in Pingjum? The artwork consists of two parts. The first image (h: 3,5m) is on the octagonal foundation of the old aviary. It is a tent, a gate shape containing a paradise bird. The tent is covered with roses. It looks like the hedge of the ‘Hortus Conclusus’, the private garden. Further behind the fence in the second part of the garden, where the trees bear fruit, there is a second bird. The birds look at each other. They know what the monk has written.