Madelon Vriesendorp

Artist (1945)

The Dutch artist, painter and illustrator Madelon Vriesendorp is known for her historic contribution to the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). Born in 1945 in the Netherlands, Vriesendorp studied at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 1964 and worked as a restorer of historic frescoes, and a designer of theatrical costumes, books and jewellery. In 1969, she enrolled at St. Martin’s School of Art in London and exhibited her work, among other places, at the Workshop and the Serpentine Gallery. In 1972 she settled in Ithaca and then in New York City with Rem Koolhaas, whom she married. It was there that she founded the OMA Agency, together with Koolhaas, and Elia and Zoe Zenghelis. The paintings she produced at that time were used for covers of magazines and books, and in particular for the famous work Delirious New York (Rem Koolhaas, 1978). Those works presented a graphic synthesis of OMA’s theoretical concepts and contributed to their international distribution; they would be exhibited all over the world (at the Guggenheim in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Aedes Galerie in Berlin, the MA Gallery in Tokyo…). In 1976, Vriesendorp returned to London and took part in many competition projects for OMA; with Teri Wehn-Damisch, she made an animated film for French television. Since the mid-1980s, she has been teaching art and design in different schools, including the Architectural Association in London and the Edinburgh Art School. Over the past 10 years, she has collaborated as draughtswoman on many books by Charles Jencks, and illustrated magazines such as Built, Domus and Abitare. In 2008, the Architectural Association put on her first solo show, and she took part in the Venice Biennale in 2009. In that same year, the Swiss Architectural Museum in Basel showed some of her works, and she was also awarded an honorable fellowship at the RIBA.

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