These works are neither spectacular nor mythical. It is this same unspectacular quality, an essentially matter-of-fact approach, that gives rise, I would assert, to a wholly unusual method of perceptual comprehension and a new way of thinking. These works of art are made to be seen and to define themselves by sight, yet the works of Maria Nordman never reveal only their surface, the front facing the viewer. What becomes immediately apparent when we are confronted by these standing, pull-out drawings in Stommeln is that we look at them and, at the same time, look through them. Although this may sound rather bald and straightforward, we are dealing with a fundamental change of direction, a very radical new position, because there is nothing here which is primarily visual. When we look at the work, we can see through it; the work reflects its own materiality by exhibiting transparency. This insight makes us conscious of the space behind the work – and conversely aware of the space in front of it, between myself, the viewer, and the work. By seeing or intuiting the room and spatiality in the work, I can no longer separate the two. On the one hand I see the light in front of the steel that night be reflected by it, on the other I see the light behind it (through the holes, or the semi-transparent panel of glass); and I simultaneously “see” that light is actually the precondition of the work itself. With a painting or a sculpture, I register only the surface; here the surface of the work interfaces with the light and the surrounding space.
The side facing the viewer thus does not represent a barrier, but rather a membrane of experiential continuity. In this reduced but radically consistent sensory experience lies the revolutionary approach expressed in these works. Of course we know that, in scientific terms, there is no fundamental distinction between space and a body that occupies it, between the internal and the external; we know that materiality constantly transgresses these borders with its electromagnetic fields; that fluids, nutrients and air are ever in flux. Yet, our senses seek always to differentiate: they distinguish the figure from the ground, the body from space, the darkness from the light etc. The radical aspect of Maria Nordman's works lies in their ability to render this continuum