With her brightly coloured landscape portraits, the Dutch-Croatian artist Sanja Marušić (1991) draws everyone’s attention. They are representations of intimate themes from the life of a young woman. In 2021, the Nederlands Fotomuseum purchased her Flowers in December series from 2015-16, one work of which is on permanent display in the Gallery of Honour of Dutch Photography. From 18 February, the museum in Rotterdam will be showing the very first solo exhibition of this versatile visual artist.

The exhibition not only shows Marušić’s photos, but also videos, sketches, costumes and props that she used to create the images. A visit to Out of This World is a journey through sets and soundscapes that stimulates all the senses.

Vast, desolate landscapes, vibrant colours: Sanja creates new worlds with her images. She travels to the corners of the world for this, but also easily uses her living room as a backdrop. Photography is always her starting point. She is guided by a love for experimenting with shapes, colours and layers. She then uses a variety of analogue and digital techniques. The image is therefore sometimes changed in such a way that it looks like you are looking at a painting. For Sanja, the performances, the creation of a set, the handmade props and post-processing are just as important as the photo itself.

Eutierria (2019) © Sanja Marusic

Before You, Part Two © Sanja Marusic

Out of This World

The exhibition starts with 13 works from the Collection of the Nederlands Fotomuseum, from the series Flowers in December (2015-16). Subsequently, themes that inspired Sanja are discussed. For example, the series Eutierria (2019) depicts her honeymoon, the series Before You (2020) captures her pregnancy and the series Sasha and Sanja (ongoing) deals with her motherhood. With her photos she investigates her own transformation. At the same time, she tries to escape the everyday worries and obligations of motherhood. In this way she creates a new reality and invites the audience to enter it together with her.

“Sanja’s work fits within the tradition of staged photography. Her series fits in nicely with the work of Paul de Nooijer and Teun Hocks, photographers who are also represented in the Collection of the Nederlands Fotomuseum and the Gallery of Honour. At the same time, we enrich the Collection with a female voice.”

– Birgit Donker, director

Flowers in December (2015) © Sanja Marušić

Mysterious exhibition design

Guest curator Mira Matić designed a special spatial object for the exhibition. The closed, organic volume is a metaphor for Sanja’s brain. Nestled between the concrete pillars of the Nederlands Fotomuseum, it forces the visitor to find an opening. Once inside, you enter an imaginative world consisting of a succession of colorful spaces, each representing a meaningful phase in Sanja’s life. For a moment you lose contact with everyday reality, and you see the world through the eyes of the artist.

Sanja Marusic

Sanja Marušić (1991) is a Dutch-Croatian artist and one of the most promising voices in photography today. She was nominated for the Paul Huf Award 2020 and competed for the Picto Prix de La Mode of the prestigious Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris. She has exhibited at home and abroad and has been published in the New York Times, among others. Her work has previously been on display in the Mauritshuis, the Van Gogh Museum and Paris Photo, among others. Her work is also part of the Gallery of Honor of Dutch Photography in the Nederlands Fotomuseum.


Sanja Marušić publishes a 166-page colourful book in collaboration with publisher Hannibal Book from Belgium: The Endless Colored Ways. The foreword was written by Selin Kuşçu (1991) and the book was designed by Agnès Dahan Studio in Paris.