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The artists of the Meta Maze

Artistic Director
Tim Henrik Schneider

Karmanoia Crew
Adrian Grunert, Andrija Belosevic, Anna Casanova, Eva-Maria Hafner, Heidi Jonsson, Malachai Jonsson, Natalie Tekampe, Robert Buschbacher feaTureD arTIsts Esther Valk, Gijs Leijdekkers, Guust Persoon, Marieke van der Meer, Merlijn van de Sande, Roland Smeenk, Vadim Gryadov, Vince Donders

Special thanks to:
Annegret Schneider, Annemarie Lobbezoo, Ans Teulings, Bas Kaufmann, Birk Schmithüsen, Bob Vermeulen, Cassidy Scheele, Christian Wernitz, Coline Petit, Cynthia Dekeyser, Daniel Dmyszewicz, Dirk van Nieuwland, Eva Vinke, Florian Manz, Franziska Funke, Friederike Stobbe, Gérard Dielemans, Guus Voermans, Isa Vos, Jaana Espenlaub, Jaehyoung Choi, Janusz Debinski, Jean-Paul Jaspers, Jens Lamprecht, Johan Holleman, Jules van de Sande, Kaspar Zegel, Klaus Krenz, Koos van Halteren, Lara op het Veld, Lena Mohr, Lucas van Drunen, Luuk Adams, Maarten de Cloe, Marian Schudt, Martin Fröhlich, Matthijs Verhagen, Melissa Kivits, Mickey Yang, Minji Son, Niels Bazelmans, Nina Maria Stemberger, Pieter Geerts, Polina Tikk, Raquel Rodriguez, Remi van Herpen, Ruben Linden, Stine Gro, Tessa op ten Berg, Thijmen Hoebink, Thjeu Donders, Ties van de Ven, Tigran Pogosian, Tommy Smits, Udo Filon, Zjuul van den Elsen


“Art is our medium for something bigger.”


Karmanoia are a Berlin-based provider of immersive experiences, always eager to activate people’s perception of space and stimulate their innermost senses through installation art. Karmanoia’s spaces are an invitation to forget time, entrust oneself to imagination, and spend an analog and purpose-free moment. In the guts of such creative entities, everyone can freely discover the innate human potential and the possibilities that lie within the realization of dreams. This is what Karmanoia did, too, when they created Doloris’ Meta Maze in 2019/2020 under the artistic supervision of Tim Henrik Schneider, and with the contribution of a thriving and diverse community of artists and helpers.

Karmanoia are convinced that the world, large and small, needs and holds creative and inspired people. Art is the medium for something bigger to unlock. They follow this mission by creating three-dimensional art installations, some as small as single modules for one-head-at-a-time, others as large as connection-fostering group events. Their artworks make moments of awe and fascination happen through spatial immersion.

Drawing from a long-time know-how in maze-building, theater and crafts, immersion has become Karmanoia’s core artistic concept. Before this term even existed, their installation ‘Peristal Singum’ in Berlin impressively proved what immersive art was to the astonished audience. Ever since, when entering, the visitors become a part of, are surrounded by and in exchange with Karmanoia’s artwork. They experience direct access to the material and can freely explore and interpret its meaning. Like this, the immersed human becomes a holistic unity with music, sound, lighting, sculptures, painting, decoration, architecture and design.

Find Karmanoia in Berlin where they are busy crafting new wonders!



‘Torus Anus’, 2021, private commission, Berlin, Germany,

Karmanoia’s art maze ‘Peristal Singum’, 2014, Berlin, Germany

Karmanoia’s ‘Panoptikum’, 2020, Dream World, Berlin, Germany

Picture 1. Hands on the Meta Maze, 2019, © Karmanoia, Foto: Clear Fotografie
Picture 2. © Karmanoia, Foto: Adrian Grunert
Picture 3. © Jo Hempel
Picture 4. © Karmanoia, Foto: Adrian Grunert

Tim Henrik Schneider

“The focus of my work is the creation of three-dimensional paintings: Rooms”


Tim Henrik Schneider is the visionary and artistic creator of Doloris’ Meta Maze. As the artistic director of the project, he conceptualized the experience, managed the construction and coordinated the team of artists and helpers. Before accepting the challenge to turn an old Tilburg office building into what today has become one of the city’s most striking attractions, he had already built two other walkthrough art mazes, fascinating a multitude of minds. Today, the multi-faceted artist continues implementing immersive experiences with his Berlin-based company Karmanoia.

Born and raised in Berlin-Mitte, Tim has witnessed how spaces constantly undergo changes and shape people’s experiences. Being an actor, painter and set designer, he knows about the power of transformation that lies within the setting the audience finds itself in. What if, he asked, the stage was all around and the visitor was part of the show? With this question in mind, Tim started to design immersive walkthrough experiences avant la lettre. Taking inspiration from surrealism, mysticism, the art of tableaux vivants, ritualistic performance, music and the science of sound, a genuine art form emerged from his vision.

In essence, this artistic work consists of the creation of spatial atmospheres for the individual. Thus, Tim describes himself as atmospherist. Atmospherisation is the art of turning an existing space into an unknown surreal realm through the means of visual arts, performance and handcrafts. The result of this process is visible everywhere in Doloris’ Meta Maze. Or, as Tim recalls it: “During the construction of the maze, I most enjoyed those countless hours that made time disappear while I was envisioning the final appearance of what was still a raw and dirty diamond.” The diamond is now ready to glow.



Tim sketching out his vision of the Meta Maze, 2018

Sculpture, private commission, Montalcino, Italy, 2016

Picture 1. Portrait Tim Henrik Schneider, © Adrian Grunert
Picture 2. © Karmanoia, Foto: Clear Fotografie
Picture 3. © Tim Henrik Schneider

Esther Valk

”There is a wonderful and mysterious world out there.”


Esther Valk is a designer and visual artist from Eindhoven where she currently lives and works. Since her childhood, she has been in love with working with textile. Wool and natural fibres are her favourite material, which she enjoys turning into felt. Created partly in her studio, partly on-site, Esther has contributed large felt sculptures to the Meta Maze.

After having graduated at the Eindhoven Fashion and Industrial Design Academy, she discovered the technique of how woolen fibres could be turned into felt. Thus, her passion for a very special handcraft was born. In the process of wet felting, wool is compressed with hot water under manual pressure. This creates a very sturdy and flexible material. Felting is physically hard work, but the results are always rewarding. It combines design, painting and sculpturing, as it smoothly merges colours into three dimensional objects that can be used for a wide range of purposes.

“Working in the Meta Maze was a great experience because it was so powerful to work with the dynamic artists of Karmanoia. Through lots of fantastic ideas and energy, the project was constantly growing and developing!”

Nature itself is Esther’s biggest source of inspiration. For her feltwork, she observes plants, their shapes, their flowers and seeds – or even pictures from outer space. Using her craft and knowledge, she put together several large felt sculptures in the Meta Maze which form the central elements of the ‘Cocoon’, a space that feels very organic, nest-like and transformational. The wool was partly coloured with flowers she picked.



Recent work: ‘The Dream of the Astronomer’, 2019

Previous work: ‘Seed’, 2016

Making felt for the ‘Cocoon’, Meta Maze, 2019

Picture 1 © Esther Valk.
Picture 2 © Esther Valk.
Picture 3 © Esther Valk.
Picture 4 © Esther Valk.

Gijs Leijdekkers

“I like to witness how very simple things can create very complex results.”


Gijs Leijdekkers is a true interdisciplinary artist. Born in Nispen, close to Tilburg, and currently based in Den Haag, he has educated himself in a wide range of disciplines including film, animation, digital painting, design, music, electronics, and programming. He weaves together his skills in his own projects and in his work as an exhibition designer for museums. In the Meta Maze, Gijs created a cinematic installation featuring the illusion of living creatures.

His career as an experience designer began when he started building haunted houses, waterslides and a rollercoaster in the backyard of his family home. Now he professionally works in analog and digital installations, such as a gigantic float for Zundert’s internationally renowned flower parade, and large-scale projection mapping for Tinker Imagineers at the Tirpitz Museum in Denmark. His work with Karmanoia fit very well into his own artistic vision:

“My personal work is experiential art that does not fit easily in the art scene. Collaborating with Karmanoia in the Meta Maze was a unique opportunity for me as all the artworks together form one immersive world. It was a beautiful and very inspiring process to collectively share infinite creative energy with such a large visionary international group!”

In the Meta Maze, Gijs created an installation that merges sculptural and digital art. A forest invites the visitor to take a rest while being visited by a swarm of fireflies. In addition to the concept and set design, Gijs also composed the music, arranged the electronics, and programmed the interactive real-time software, creating a very special experience.

Watch the making-of video here.



‘Monsters’, Zundert flower parade, 2013

Working on the projections for ‘Fireflies’, Meta Maze, 2019

Experience Design for Tirpitz Museum, Denmark

Picture 1  © Adrian Grunert.
Picture 2 © Gijs Leijdekkers.
Picture 3 © Gijs Leijdekkers.
Picture 4 © Tinker Imagineers, Foto by Mike Bink

Guust Persoon

“I’m inspired by reality itself, by being alive and trying to figure out my relation to the place in the world around me.”


Guust Persoon is a sculptor, painter and plastic artist, born in Eindhoven in 1991, who has exhibited his own as well as carried out commissioned work all over the Netherlands. During his collaboration with Karmanoia on the Meta Maze, he has created two sophisticated wooden sculptures and their settings, putting hands on construction work, light design and optical effects himself.

Inspired by Zen Buddhism and Taoism, both artworks playfully focus on the duality that is immanent to all things – an idea embodied in his artistic work by means of light and shadow, reflection and absorption, presence and absence.

“Working with Karmanoia, to me the most fascinating was changing the perspective on my artistic work. Before, I used to make paintings or sculptures for an exhibition where people would come, look at the paintings on the wall, have a drink and carry on. This time, I could design a whole environment around my work to enhance the experience and impact of the artwork. Ever since I haven’t done any regular exhibitions. In fact, my work experience at the Meta Maze is what inspired me to pursue a new career as a ‘shaper’, a sculptor who makes theme world decors.”

Both sculptures, the ‘Shadow door’ and the ‘Black dome’ can be experienced when inside the Meta Maze. One of the most outstanding motives of Karmanoia’s t-shirts in Doloris’ gift shop was also designed by Guust Persoon.



Previous work: ‘Verlate lente’, 2019

Working on ‘Shadow Door’, Meta Maze, 2019

Previous work: ‘Uit Ander Hout Gesneden’, 2015

Picture 1  © Adrian Grunert.
Picture 2 © Guust Persoon.
Picture 3 © Guust Persoon.
Picture 4 © Guust Persoon.

Heidi Jonsson

“I am drawn to the inexplicable, the unusual and the ridiculous.”


Heidi was born into a big family in Vermont, USA, where art was appreciated but not necessarily encouraged as a career.  It was a long, circuitous route with many different paths and studies before she realized that the most consistent and unshakable desire in her life was to make art and music. Heidi has been working together with Tim Henrik Schneider and Karmanoia since 2004, where her work has included concocting ideas, painting, acting, designing, dancing, prop-making, body painting, makeup, singing and more. In the Meta Maze, she was part of the entire process, from the conceptualization to the manifestation.

Heidi’s favoured media are the pencil, the brush and the voice. She became a painter at the age of 3 when left alone with a very white kitchen wall and a fridge full of colorful things. The canvas expanded over time to many other walls, clothing, shoes, furniture, bicycles and body parts. Her voice she discovered while in stairwells, churches, forests and bathtubs, finding her first most appreciative audience in the pregnant cows grazing behind her house.

“My teachers have been the many humans, nonhumans, plants, beasts, rogues, pieces of lonely furniture and magicians who have crossed my path. Resonating with other people (or animals, or objects) emotionally is very important to me.”

In the Meta Maze, the impact of Heidi’s work is omnipresent. Paintings, decoration and surface design, sculpturing and sound all bear her handwriting. She now lives and works in the countryside outside of Berlin, where she is active in different musical groups and currently working on felting female reproductive organs.


Working on a painting for the Meta Maze, 2019

Performing with the band ‘Salty Matches’, Müncheberg, 2017

Working on ‘Morphowurz’, Meta Maze, 2019

Picture 1  © Karmanoia, Photo: Clear Photography.
Picture 2 © Tim Schneider.
Picture 3 © Michel Links.
Picture 4 © Adrian Grunert.

Merlijn van de Sande

“Handmade aesthetics and narratives are the basis for my work.”


Merlijn van de Sande is a Dutch set designer and artist who lives and works in Amsterdam. In her work, she is constantly drawn by the force of creating a new, handcrafted, ethereal world. The creation of such imaginary worlds evokes the illusion of an existing ‘real’ world – a concept that Merlijn and Karmanoia share at heart.

But what is ‘real’? Everyone creates their own perception of reality based on the experiences and expectations they have. Merlijn likes to play with this question, when she deceives our eyes by creating three-dimensional compositions of natural or industrial objects and everyday materials, infusing them with new meaning by changing proportions, color or perspective. In her artwork, the spaces are not literal representations of existing places, but rather combinations of unlikely but truly possible landscapes and architecture.

The surreal miniature city that Merlijn has created for the Meta Maze was designed based on a narrative developed in close exchange with Karmanoia artist Robert Buschbacher. Thus, a collective work of art was created in which the room, designed and built by Robert, and Merlijn’s intricate and detail-minded miniature at the center of this space, establish an organic connection and are encapsuled by the same narrative feel.

From planning through design, production and decoration, the Meta Maze was a huge collaborative process. Merlijn was glad to be woven into this collective act: “I’m used to work alone in my studio, but this time I really enjoyed working with other artists. By developing ideas and working together you learn a lot of new perspectives and techniques.”



Previous work: Diorama ‘Mist’, 2018

Working on ‘Kleine Welt’, Meta Maze, 2019

‘Kleine Welt’, Meta Maze, 2019

Picture 1 © Merlijn van de Sande.
Picture 2 © Merlijn van de Sande.
Picture 3 © Doloris.
Picture 4 © Merlijn van de Sande.

Robert Buschbacher

”I am fascinated by the fact that people used to devote themselves to huge building projects such as cathedrals, knowing they would never see it finished in their lifetime.”


Robert Buschbacher is a puppeteer and material researcher. By building puppets, masks and mechanical objects, he creates out-of-the-ordinary characters for stage and other theatrical contexts. Having worked for many years with handicapped people, Robert developed a special interest for simple but effectful visual communication. In the Meta Maze, too, he set out to explore the possibilities of conveying meaning across high communication barriers. As a long-time member of Karmanoia, he not only implemented his own artwork into the maze, but also helped to ensure that the concept and dramaturgy of the installation were coherent.

Robert studied puppetry at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart, performs on stage regularly, and today explores the more peripheral areas of classic puppetry. He draws inspiration from old and broken objects and loves to work with unconventional material from natural sources, such as skin, wool or dough. For instance, his solo performance “Timestrudel” deals with dementia and the fugacity of life, brilliantly depicted by the help of a single chunk of cake dough. Or, when touring with the performance crew “Maraña”, he dances in fluorescent wool-knit costumes.

Having followed his calling to work with Karmanoia on the Meta Maze, Robert created the “Oktoboot”, a bubble-like space that feels both cosy and alienating as the walls consist of untanned hide – a material that he salvaged from abandoned leather factories in the region.



Building the ‘Oktoboot’, Meta Maze, 2019

Performing in ‘Macbeth’, Theater der Stadt Aalen, 2017

Working in the Meta Maze, 2019

Picture 1  © Bärbel Bosch.
Picture 2 © Robert Buschbacher.
Picture 3 © Peter Schlipf.
Picture 4 © Robert Buschbacher.

Roland Smeenk

“I love mixing the digital and physical world in interesting new ways.”


Roland Smeenk is a freelance Mixed Reality developer from the Netherlands. He loves making interactive installations that blur the boundaries between the digital and the real. Sometimes, this can simply be a matter of shining a different light on things. Other times, this may involve more high-tech solutions like working with holograms. Recently, Roland has increasingly tried to break away from his computer screen and go out to explore the real world, taking the way we interact with our physical environment as a big inspiration. He then, in return, uses his findings in his interactions with the digital world.

Although Roland had graduated as a mechanical engineer over two decades ago, during his career he has primarily been working as a developer of interactive 3D software, mainly on publicly less visible projects in research labs. But after quitting his dayjob in 2014, he decided to pursue a more artistic path as a freelancer. As such, he is currently more often working with holographic headsets like the Microsoft Hololens.

In the Meta Maze, Roland worked on the ‘Octoholo’, a small room that is easily overlooked. It was inspired by his fascination with building portals between worlds. As a proof of concept, he had built a small tabletop prototype in advance that caught Karmanoia’s attention. Together with sculptures by Heidi Jonsson and Robert Buschbacher, he created one of the best kept secrets of the Meta Maze, a collaboration he keeps close to his heart: “Working on the Meta Maze with Karmanoia is one of my dearest work-related memories, because of the warmth, the trust and a sense of belonging.”



The Eye Of Van Gogh, interactive installation, 2016

A Different Take On Me, interactive installation, 2016

City By The Sea, Instagram filter, 2022

Picture 1. © Roland Smeenk
Picture 2. © Roland Smeenk
Picture 3. © Roland Smeenk
Picture 4. © Roland Smeenk

Vince Donders

“My art gives a feeling of enigmatic logic and dystopican discomfort.”


Vince Donders is a boiling pot of potential. During the construction of Karmanoia’s Meta Maze, the Tilburg artist joined the sculptor team as a featured artist. Back then, the 26-year old freshly upcoming Den Bosch art academy graduant thankfully did not just hold a diploma in Fine Arts but also knew how to let the sparks fly from a welding machine. And weld he did!

With a lot of patience and finesse, Vince built a fascinating structure from steel which appears to be both strong and fragile, rooted and ephemeral, organic and silent. Meanwhile the space around it took shape in the hands of some of Karmanoia’s space ship designers and hands-on builders: “There was a big atmosphere of community, we were always doing this together.”

When visiting, Vince’s sculpture will only become visible to those exploring their way into the fluorescent light of the very belly of the maze. Vince thankfully remembers: “It was my first big assignment as an artist since I had graduated. And Karmanoia supported me very generously in carrying out my ideas and crafts.”

In other contexts, Vince is a man quite on the go, placing his artwork in situ wherever he can. That’s why, within his oeuvre, Vince’s preferred format of expression is installation art that won’t stay within the confines of a gallery space, but rather takes a leap into the public. For example, on one of your walks through town you might find yourself sitting down on a bench next to a man made of industrial debris, reading the daily paper. Vince’s sculptures seem to have resurrected from a civilisation apocalypse. They are representatives of a vision of the very world humanity would leave behind after its final exit off the stage. Beyond that, Vince’s artistic narrative is to create symbols of hope in a landscape of decay, assembling and rearranging found objects and mechanical parts to become kinetic sculptures, mysterious machines and a mirror to the present. A trait you can already discover in his early artwork in the Meta Maze: “Working here was a great opportunity for my personal and professional development.”


‘Aujourd’hui, le monde est terrible’, 2020, Tilburg, NL, created during the residency ‘Project 24 x 24’

Vince Donders welding

‘Wind from Nowhere’, 2022, solo exhibition, TAC, Eindhoven, NL

Picture 1. Portrait Vince Donders, © Karmanoia, Foto: Adrian Grunert
Picture 2. © Thjeu Donders
Picture 3. © Karmanoia, Foto: Clear Fotografie
Picture 4. © Almicheal Fraay