Fall / 2015 – 2016/2017

United we Fall / fly
This project revolves around a series of portraits and photographs that seeks to locate what could be described as a physical creativity within gravity. Using temporary constructions, built in-situ in various locations, the portraits investigate individual relationships to space, and collectively seek to find unexpected or new connections between people based how they experience space in a room or garden – through movement, dialogue or even through silence. In this way mental connections becomes decompressed and emphasis moves to the physical and its potential to open up a heterotopia (in Foucault’s sense) – a space than can operate outside of our everyday hegemonies.
More information: see ‘news’

This project is dedicated to Daleila

Nederlandse Mijnen / 2016


Nederlandse Mijnen brengt oud mijnwerkers (en familieleden) in beeld. Het project benadert het thema transitie in psychologische en economische zin. De rol van (oud) arbeiders wordt innovatief benaderd op sociale en economische locaties, zoals hedendaagse bedrijven die boven oude mijnen gebouwd zijn. In het geval van voldoende fondsen, zal journalist/beeldend kunstenares Stephanie Jansen interviews afnemen, geinspireerd door sociaal historische en wetenschappelijke informatie (via haar familie in Limburg en hun rol in een archief). Het IJzeren Gordijn zou het ontwerp van een boek op zich nemen. Schrijver en acteur Maarten Brorens (zie foto) is als expert betrokken (evt. voorwoord). De foto van hem betreft een eerste projectfoto met persoonsgebonden attributen.
Vooralsnog begon ik zelfstandig met dit project en trad ik tegelijkertijd in gesprek met partners en sponsoren. Ondanks het belang van autonomie staat ‘samen ondernemen’ hoog op de agenda, om de kracht van Parkstad aan Nederland te tonen op een wijze die gelaagd en treffend is. Het verleden wordt op artistieke wijze samen gesmolten met het heden. Zo kan de huidige generatie vernieuwende inzichten opdoen over de bouwstenen van de Nederlandse samenleving na WOII, een periode waar veel over gezwegen is en waarbij emoties geregeld nog oplaaien in Limburg. De steenkoolmijnen waren grotendeels in handen van de Nederlandse staat en de levens van arbeiders vertonen enkele paralellen met de levens van arbeidsmigranten in de jaren ’70. Veel oud mijnwerkers hebben na fysieke arbeid, werkeloosheid en (verloren) eer een vorm van diepere acceptatie kunnen vinden, ondanks gezondheidsproblemen, op een wijze die voor de kijker verrassend en ook integer verbeeld kan zijn. En waarbij grenzen subtiel worden verlegd.

Het project bevindt zich in een geparkeerde fase. Suggesties m.b.t. een mogelijke start zijn welkom.
Zie verkennend beeldmateriaal van de regio Heerlen ten tijde van de opstartfase van het project in 2015: www.facebook.com/media

Untitled (Dairy) / 2015

This project collects pieces of the past and present. It uses (absent) family life as an inspiration to reconstruct personal landscapes.
Within those landscapes I’m searching for a new consciousness in playful and provocative ways. The cut-out collages address people’s need for psychological unity and interaction within (im)possible circumstances. The artistic ‘family album’ consists of attempts to find inner guidance after/within a life off the beaten track. Untitled was initiated as a personal art project to find meaning and focus and let go of traditional (intercultural) myths.

Walking into traces of the future / 2014

Wandelen in de sporen van de Toekomst /
In winter 2014 I undertook several walks in The Netherlands. To document traces of survival or creation. Some traces of the potential future got lost or damaged on the way, maybe eaten by an animal or taken by a river stream. Others are found perfectly intact.
What’s (un)written in the landscape around and within us? I’d like to find tangible proofs of survival, acceptance or genetic (r)evolution.

Things (as they are) / 2013 – 2014

Each photograph explores a modern ritual about the interaction of manmade worlds and natural worlds. Who is affecting who? How do people (re) use toys, garbage or plastic stars in a natural context?
What is the effect of emotional consciousness on the perception of intrinsic powers of the Earth? Does a smartphone recognize a tree? We’re all made of stardust. Do plastic objects relate in a same way to oil and minerals? Is there a similar mental distance which influences the psyche of mankind?
This series explores the emotional (personal and universal) value of natural objects.

Ina maisha alisi (Mtwara 2.0) / 2012 


Video: Performance by Isack Peter Abeneko

Ina maisha alisi | Free translation: In our community life, natural life shines through

The project reflects on the power of nature in developing and maintaining communities. In the region of Mtwara (Tanzania) this has particular significance, because the regional/international economy is driven by the mining of and trade in natural resources. Due to newly found resources such as oil and gas, infrastructure is being quickly developed, which both stimulates and obfuscates the local economic and social order.

Local inhabitants are searching for a new balance in life and work. Relying on what nature has to offer, has made for a strong sense of community, for many generations already. But traditional lifestyles are now being challenged by the global trade and its need for a new economical and social order – sometimes colliding with local interests and customs.

This series shows portraits of inhabitants of Mtwara region, and Simbati village. During a collaborative and artistic research trip on site, my colleague I.P.A. interviewed the people we met. I portrayed inhabitants and laborers, sometimes with artificial flowers which I got as a gift from the university of Mtwara during a graduation event. The flowers represent pride and celebration. I’ve used them in my images as a gesture of respect towards local customs.To portray the people of Simbati with flowers also carries a particular significance: the people are emotional about a newly-built gas plant and they feel their interests are sometimes being ignored.  I’ve tried to visualize new dialogues or connections, suitable for a more international audience. And to draw attention to the special character and significance of metals, in surprising and even feminine or sensitive ways.
I’ve done this work as an allusion to my western and Dutch lifestyle as a consumer of mass products and artificial/plastic/industrial nature. At the same time, it was my intention to openly connect with the stories of the people we met, to create special ‘sweet’ moments.

The Wonder Welders workshop in Dar es Salaam, which features in several of the images, offers working opportunities for Tanzanian people with disabilities, as part of an ethical trade project for talented workpeople. It provides the possibility for the laborers to earn an honest wage and start a new life and career, away from begging in the streets and busy intersections in the cities.
The portraits made in Tanzania are connected by a focus on local metal trade, manufacturing and recycling. And of course, the people, community and social life. To show resilience and dignity. Because in the end, people are proud on what Tanzania has to offer to the rest of the world, in natural and economical terms.

Hina maisha halisi | ‘In ons culturele (economische en sociale gemeenschaps-) leven, doorschijnt het natuurlijke leven’

Hoe kan de bevolking meeprofiteren van mijnbouw, olie- en gaswinning?.. In 2012 bezocht ik Mtwara. Een opkomende regio met een rijke biodiversiteit en mengeling van lokale tradities en moderne infrastructuur, zoals de exporthaven. (Inter)nationale bedrijven winnen en verhandelen er mineralen, olie en gas. Hoe (her)gebruiken Tanzanianen natuurlijke materialen en metalen voor consumptie of productie?
De rode draad in mijn foto’s vormt (de weg naar) Simbati town. De weg leidt naar een nieuw gaswinning project. Men wil dat er aandacht is voor lokale gebruiken en de wijze waarop generaties al eeuwen met de natuur leven; dat moderne ontwikkelingen pas plaats vinden nadat dit door autoriteiten erkend wordt.
In Tanzania doorkruisen meerdere discussies over mineralen (goud, tanzaniet, ijzer), gas- en oliewinning elkaar, in de media. Simbati vormt in dit project een poëtische verzamelplaats voor lokale verhalen over handel, gemeenschapsleven en lokaal gebruik van metalen. Men gaat langs ‘Simbati road’ het dorp in, ontmoet de bevolking en diverse werkplaatsen. In Simbati en de steden Mtwara en Dar es Salaam heb ik gefotografeerd, in interactie met mensen op locatie.
De bloemenslinger vormt een symbool van mijn rol als massaproductie-consument en mijn relatief kunstmatige relatie met natuur. Als ook een middel tot oprechte verbinding; tussen mij als fotograaf en de bewoners van onder meer Simbati.’

Read more: http://mathildejansenstories.com/ina-maisha-alisi/

Prints: www.mathildejansenstories.com/fine-art-shop/product-category/maisha/

Exoticorum Imaginis Decem (Ten Images of Exotic Life Forms) /  2012

The photography project shows parallel worlds of new and modern forms of nature. To visualize palpable – existing and imaginary – connections between (exotic) natural resources and daily used consumer products made from it. Products are integrated in local natural environments, referring to historical use of natural materials and (rural) areas where people depend less on global trade. I wanted to research my consciousness of nature, influenced by the way it surrounds me in the Netherlands, and related to awareness of (scarcity of) natural resources of the planet and global economy. 
Constructions are photographed on site in 7 (city)parks of Amsterdam and 3 locations in the (green) Eastern Netherlands.
2500 Posters (double sided A3 FSC certified paper) are distributed in Amsterdam in Sep/Oct 2012, to organizations, households and cultural venues around the photography sites.
This project is made possible by The Amsterdam Fund for the Arts & the artist.

– Read more about the project / Lees meer over het project
– Persbericht Exoticorum Imaginis Decem

Fine art shop: http://www.mathildejansenstories.com/fine-art-shop/product-category/exoticorum/


Tanzania revisited (Thinking Culture) / 2010 – >

Tanzania Revisited is a series of stories about people’s lives, which I was able to observe during periods of working in Tanzania, a sort of second home to me. Each single image relates to social and economic structures of society. The series contains unique openness, as a result of working without a project deadline or format. Experiencing an East-African country more as an insider, is a complex and time consuming process. In Tanzania, you can ask someone to pose in front of a house, or simply wait till someone takes position naturally, with an authentic expression. Works are made on site and based on interaction, leading to (staged) documentary works I couldn’t imagine beforehand. As I’m guided by collaborative processes, ‘the other’ is personally involved to be represented equally and in renewing ways. The project reflects on cross-cultural relations and playfully interacts with the ideal of equality within a class-system.

Dar es Salaam is an inspiring city to me, not only because of its multi ethnicity, community structures, economic activity, international trade and rich biodiversity. In Tanzania, things aren’t always what they seem. This project aims to reveal a reality beyond conceptual, lineair or aesthetic (western) perspectives, which occurred to me because I was willing to adjust to the culture. My pictures can be seen as a result of a collaborative process or dialogue.

“The continent is too large to describe. It is a veritable ocean, a separate planet, a varied, immensely rich cosmos. Only with the greatest simplification, for the sake of convenience, can we say ‘Africa’. In reality, except as a geographical appellation, Africa does not exist.”
Ryszard Kapuściński, The Shadow of the Sun

Read more about images of the project or
Read an Interview on Intercultural Communication

Webshop: http://mathildejansenstories.com/fine-art-shop/product-category/tanzania-revisited/

Vale do Mondego / 2011

Artist in residence at cultural eco-domain Dominio Vale do Mondego, Serra da Estrela, Portugal

Read/see more: http://mathildejansenstories.com/vale-do-mondego/
Shop: http://mathildejansenstories.com/fine-art-shop/product-category/mondego

– Eventual paint used on site at Dominio Vale do Mondego consists of natural mineral pigments and is environmentally friendly –


‘Let us now look at the world that surrounds us. The solid stones, the streams, the evaporating water that rises as mist and fog, the air – everything solid, liquid, gaseous and fiery – these are all, in fact, nothing but fire. Everything is fire – that is, densified fire. Gold, silver, and copper are densified fire. In the far distant past, everything was fire; everything was born of fire; but in all forms of densification, spirituality lies enchanted.’
Rudolph Steiner, The Spiritual Hierarchies and the Physical World: Reality and illusion

Uniform pluriform / Collection of single works related to ‘heterotopia’ / 2010

Single photography works, portraying people and sites inspired by the theme ‘global heterotopia’ (Foucault); non-hegemonic spaces and places of otherness. C-prints mounted on aluminum and semi-documentary photos of ‘the making of’.

Tanzania Unlimited Ltd. / 2008

This art photography project portrays Tanzania’s multifaceted, emerging economy. It highlights natural, industrial and cultural diversity, and socio-economic developments related to export companies. The project represents various industries, such as manufacturing, mining, (cultural) tourism and agriculture. Through artistically-staged and documentary photography on location, Tanzania Unlimited Ltd. shows a bigger picture of today’s life and society in Tanzania. Whereby local inhabitants are closely connected to the demands and expanding activities of international investors. Let’s discover a new image of Africa.

The project includes 2 slideshows, representing journeys through Tanzania’s economy
– Smaller selection of art (and documentary) photography: 2.5 minutes/per image
– Broad selection of documentary (and art) photography: 10 sec./per image.

Documentary photography within this broad selection relates to artistic sceneries. And is based on situations, current affairs and collaborations with people. More than 200 images, duration 14 min. View the slideshow of Tanzania Unlimited Ltd. on youtube. Originally edited for screening on a public art/movie screen at a railway station.

Thanks for the openness and support of participating companies and individuals. Tanzania’s potential, diversity and complexity are in fact overwhelming; the time is ripe for the world to discover it. All works (dark room) C-print/fine art photo paper, unless stated otherwise.

This project is supported by: The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture; van Bijlevelt Foundation; Niemeyer Fund Foundation

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Articles, backgrounds and prints:


Article International Museum of Women: ‘ “Tanzania Unlimited Ltd.” is a collection of photos showcasing business in Africa. It focuses on Tanzania’s economy, which has grown due to increased exports and other international trade. Though new industries are a boone to the nation’s economy, participation in the global market also creates cultural tension. International companies often impose foreign social codes and structures onto Tanzanian society, creating a culture clash in the business arena. This tension, along with the country’s ethnic diversity and growing local economy, sets the stage for Mathilde Jansen’s documentary-style, collage, and set-up photography..’ Read more here

Interview Her Circle e-zine:
http://mathildejansenstories.com/documentary-art-photography-intercultural-communication/
Media & natural resources: http://mathildejansenstories.com/international-resources-ltd/
Art prints: http://mathildejansenstories.com/fine-art-shop/product-category/tanzania-unlimited/

Love economy / 2009 – 2010

Moonlight Tea Party (youtube) Moonlight Tea party (2009) (quicktime)

We are the market / Are we free?

Fair Journalism / 2004 – 2010

Bijlmer studies / 2007

Photography in my former Bijlmer neighborhood (suburb of Amsterdam).
Article International Museum of Women: ‘The Bijlmer, an intercultural suburb of Amsterdam, is undergoing a long-term renovation project that may reverse its image as a chaotic ghetto brimming with shadow industries. My collage, Destinations, expresses the universal search for a brighter future with better economical conditions, where two completely different worlds intersect..’
Read more about Destinations here


Wild West / 2007

Cultivated nature and cityscapes.
Taking part of the project false fear (publication Photofestival Naarden) in collaboration with photographers collective Los

Balloon messengers of London / 2006

Londoners releasing cultural or personal messages throughout the city. Translations are available.

Touching African screens / 2006

Collages and photographs of my actual&local living surroundings, mixed with virtual&global African imagery found in books, papers and magazines at home or in ethnic museums. Exploring a hyperreality based on African mediagraphy and personal perceptions.

On my way to Tarifa / 2006

Video compilation On my way to Tarifa (English, 5 minutes) in dialogue with Ahmed Boulane.

The film Op weg naar Tarifa (Dutch/English, 20 minutes) documents a train trip from Amsterdam to the African film festival of Tarifa (Spain). Facing fog over the ocean and the gateway to Tangiers, while meeting cinematographers and actors. The video contains audio fragments of hypnosis-sessions. Researching sources of imagination and imagery of Ethiopia – where I had never been before – like films, media and literature. See the compilation (5 min) on youtube.

Heartbeat Iran / 2005

Art travel organized by Rietveld Academy. Launch art book publication in 2010

Journeys / 2005

Photography of the ‘macrocosmos’ in my house, neighborhood and city with a pinhole camera