Reflections on Jane Morris

Dutch artist Margje Bijl (1975) was given a photograph of Jane Morris (1839-1914) and at first glance thought that she was looking at a photograph of herself. The discovery of the striking resemblances between herself and Jane Morris led to the project ‘Reflections on Jane Morris’.

Invitation exhibition ‘Reflections on Jane Morris’ by Margje Bijl
at Gallery ‘de KunstSuper in Rotterdam, 2010

Jane Morris was the wife of English designer William Morris. She was also the muse and lover of the painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Thanks to the love that these two famous artists felt for Jane Morris, there are numerous pictures available of her today. This is the source material that Margje Bijl uses while investigating the similarities between herself and this 19th century beauty.

Janey, leaning forward, 2009

Margje Bijl has created a twilight zone where two women from two different worlds meet. In this twilight zone the visual code language of the Victorian era flows effortlessly into our visual language of today.

Girl with a view, 2010
(private collection)

Margje Bijl allows Jane Morris to possess attributes of present-day women. Morris is not casting her eyes down anymore: she is sitting self-confidently upright. Margje Bijl combines both the characteristics of herself and Jane Morris while creating a portrait. It soon becomes impossible to decide which characteristic belongs to whom. Which posture is twisted? Which hairstyle is dated, which expression natural? Significant time elements are transformed in such a way that the resemblances between these two women bridge the time span stretching over one and a half century.

Hair reclining, 2009