Maria Kley searches for ways to make experiences and interpersonal relationships tangible. Through a meticulous process she translates people, place, and time into the most appropriate form – be that monumental installation, sculpture, performance or video. In work, she materializes connection and affection by actively searching for the thoughts, emotions, and biographies of herself, her close family and friends, as well as of people she merely meets by chance. This exchange of both verbalized and unspoken mutual communication takes physical form in a process open to participation and external involvement. The resulting tactile works are both intimate and abstract, both personal and universal, both material and narrative.

Extensive material research precedes each work. Materials are subject to accurate investigation, both tangible as well as conceptual. Be it a stone, used tampons, used paper cups or her grandmother's scarfs, Maria Kley is challenged by the materiality and spirit of objects. With great attention, she takes care of them, through a process of collecting, observing, dissecting, washing, coloring, assembling and transforming. Processing the material goes hand in hand with editing the personal stories Kley collects. Material and narrative merge together into the organically-looking sculptures or sculptural spaces that she develops.

Through her fascination for the intimate, Kley explores explores themes that have gained relevance in today’s context of transition and crisis. Her work questions collectivity, nature, universality, growth, slowness, human resilience and care. Each time, she searches for specific object and form that can adequately embody her subject.



Dutch / Japanese / German
Born in Tokyo, 1981

2000 - 2004 ArtEZ Intitute of the Arts / fashion design/ Arnhem NL
1999 - 2000 Sint Joost Academy / Breda NL

2018 - 2019 Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam NL
2013 Greatmore Studios, Cape Town SA

2020 Time, after Time? , The White House Gallery, Lovenjoel BE (duo)
2019 Encounter, FdG Projects / Frédéric de Goldschmidt collection, OFF Programme Art Brussels BE
2014 Moist, 7 Rue des Fabriques, Brussels BE
2013 Human Landscape, CIAP Het Kabinet, Hasselt BE
2013 Human Landscape, Greatmore Studios, Cape Town SA

2019 Biotope, Rijksakademie Open Studios 2019, Amsterdam NL
2019 This being human is a guesthouse, Brussels BE
2019 Encountered Error, Société, Brussels BE
2018 Klara Barbara, Rijksakademie Open 2018, Amsterdam NL
2017 Tsukumogami, Oerol, Terschelling NL
2016 Hommage, Bozar, Brussels BE
2015 Deaf Man's Villa, Croxhapox, Gent BE
2015 Image Talks, Old Jail UHasselt, Hasselt BE
2014 Grote Prijs Ernest Albert 2014 | Sculpture Prize, De Garage, Mechelen BE
2013 Woman. Object. Corpse., Centre for African Studies / CAS Gallery, Cape Town SA

2019 unwritten rules (Art World), Rijksakademie Open Studios, Amsterdam NL
2018 Private viewing: Takako and Others (I will miss this world) I, Rijksakademie Amsterdam NL

2019 George Hendrik Breitner Fonds via Fundatie Van den Santheuvel, Sobbe
2018 Tijl Fonds Fellowship managed by Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds

2019 Dutch Embassy /Dutch cultural projects in Belgium
2017 VSB Fonds (coproduction with Dadadadan Tenko and Nishiko)
2017 Japan Foundation (coproduction with Dadadadan Tenko and Nishiko)
2017 EU Japan Fest (coproduction with Dadadadan Tenko and Nishiko)
2004 Starter Stipend Mondriaan Fund

2014 Grote Prijs Ernest Albert 2014 | Sculpture Prize BE
2012 Mark Macken Sculpture Prize 2012 BE
2004 ITS#Three International Talent Support Fashion Competition (fashion) IT

2016 Kinderkunstenfabriek, workshop, FLACC and C-Mine Genk BE

2002 Prix Seconde Main, Fédération Française du Gant (fashion) FR

2008- 2012 print designer for the fashion industry
2005- 2007 H&M designer of menswear, prints and accessories SE
2005 Maurizio Altieri | Carpe Diem designer of menswear, fabrics and accessories IT
2004 'It is all about you men' designer of graduation collection based on a psycho-social research NL
2003 Jack Henry designer of prints, accessories, graphics FR