The Empress Maria of Brabant exhibition is a tribute to the life of Maria of Brabant (1189-1260), lady of Helmond and a prominent citizen of the city. Maria serves as an example of a powerful woman who exercised extensive influence on the culture and history of her time. Through new works of art and patterns, Christie van der Haak (born in The Hague in 1950) presents her own vision of this fascinating tale from the Middle Ages.
Maria of Brabant lived in ‘t Oude Huys, the wooden predecessor of Helmond Castle. Maria became empress when she married the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. She turned her castle into a centre of cultural and courtly life where poets and dignitaries would come to stay.
A visit to this exhibition is an experience in itself, as you almost literally walk through and on the works of art. It presents a total experience that gives an entirely new and sometimes surprisingly unexpected interpretation of the story of Maria of Brabant.
Christie van der Haak initially earned renown for her paintings but quickly started branching out into other disciplines in which she started working with materials such as vinyl, epoxy, and glass. She has recently started focusing on changing spaces, which acquire a new meaning through her patterns. She bases her works on the principle that ‘everything has a structure and everything has a soul’. In 2015, Christie van der Haak won the Ouborg Prize, the most important art prize awarded by the municipality of The Hague.
This exhibition has been made possible with the support of the Mondriaan Fund.