Visiting Artist Lecture

Katerina Kapodistrias

Visiting Artist Lectures

Date: 4/17/2012

Artist: Wapke Feenstra



On April 2nd I got the chance to go to Wapke Feenstras’ lecture and also had the pleasure to meet her and have a quick talk to her, since she visited us in our Sculpture 4 class the next day. Wapke Feenstra is a Dutch artist that was born in 1959 and lives and works in Rotterdam since 1992. She grew up near the village of Wjelsryp in the Netherlands on a castle farm. She is an artist and a writer that develops her sources, by working into local and rural knowledge’s and environments and creates a direct interaction with the inhabitants. What she does is a form of conceptual art, where she focuses on nature and landscapes that in a way it reminds you of Land art while she combines at the same time ‘interactive performances’. Some of the questions that she asks are aspects about human life and perception in which is rooted in the memories of the residents that live in those lands. Another way for her to examine and observe the landscape in order to analyze the ground and the soil is the use of a drill that she uses in order for her to get charts of the soil with a result of her getting a personal feeling and taste of the specific land that she is examining. Wapke Feenstra forms “sites of memory by penetrating into the earth’.

It is quite fascinating how we can be so strongly attached to a specific place or landscape where we can feel that is our own and we feel comfort and secure in it, and even if many years go by and we revisit that personal place all those memories and good feelings come back. Listening to some of those stories is what Wapke Feenstra is also interested in.

One of Wapke Feenstras’ big projects was called ‘The Best Place’ in 2007 East of the Netherlands where she explored places as a type of performance, which locals had voted as The Best Place. In this project she visited fourteen places with a ‘text cart’ in which she took soil samples, pictures and had the chance to speak with the local and listen to their stories. “This vehicle inspired people to reflect on the best place. It creates an idea about the environment: about the past, the present, about the ground, about the heritage for everyone. It is this act to incite people to think about the best place – that is conceptually put into life.” (Pietsie Feenstra)

Another of her projects that I thought was interesting was the bathers in Munich in 2005 where Wapke painted fourteen Munich bathers on tiles of grey concrete in a grey color. The idea of this was when she would splash water on the dry concrete tile the grey paint would appear in a lighter tone, where the wet grey concrete tile was darker. When the concrete tile would dry it would all be the same grey color as if nothing was painted. These series of works allowed the history and the reality around us to interact with our surrounding activities, but it also was added as a new story to the Isar and the collections of images of the tale of the bathers.

She has also done many other projects where she stays in landscapes in which she examines on a daily base, reads poems and researches the place she is in, that inspire her and Wapke at the end writes texts about her stay.

I admire her motivation and willingness to travel to all these new landscapes and environments, her experiences in meeting with all these new inhabitants and listening to their stories, but most importantly the personal and exciting practices and explorations she gets to live and feel but also gather inspiration from. Wapke Feenstra lives in this continue journey, in which if she chose to it could be never ending, since there are so many unique and countless different places, people and landscapes in this world, in which she could discover and investigate and continue to expand and enrich the knowledge and the experiences she already has.

One Response

  1. I think it is very cool that you had a chance to meet the artist in your sculpture class. I agree that her willingness to travel to different places in pursue of her art is very admirable, since she is not stuck in a cultural bubble. Feenstras seems very interesting as an artist and I would definitely like to learn more about her.

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