the business world
to the art world.
Initiating and organizing social projects
as an independent artist
Coming from a conservative background, Cecile Wentges is constantly searching for the balance between structure and freedom.
After finishing a Master’s in Economics and a two-year job at a multinational corporation she decided to study Art and Design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. For her graduation project, she built an actual bridge, literally connecting the art academy to the next door Loyens & Loeff law office. She conducted tours for each side through the other’s world. This was the first of Wentges’s projects to connect between the two worlds she inhabits personally and professionally.
Wentges has continued to make creative connections between the art world and the business world as a central element of her practice as both an independent artist and mediator. She believes that art and business can be inspirational to each other and create transformative interactions between people of different skills and backgrounds.
I Wonder Where We Will Meet
During her studies at the Gerrit Rietveld art academy, Cecile Wentges was constantly struggling with finding a balance between the structured way of thinking prescribed by her conservative background and the free way of thinking introduced at the art academy.
Every single day these two opposite worlds were literally present in her surroundings. She felt right in between the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the Loyens & Loeff law office next door.
She graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy with the project I wonder where we will meet. Cecile Wentges built an actual bridge, literally connecting the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the Loyens & Loeff law office. Students, teachers and visitors of the end-exam exhibition were invited to take a step to the other side and get a drink at the terrace of Loyens & Loeff.
During her graduation event, Cecile held guided tours for each group through the other’s world.
‘They live and work in such close proximity to one another, what happens when all the prejudices are pushed aside for a moment?’
GET INNOVATED is a program initiated collaboratively between GET LOST – Art Route and AimAtArt. The program connects young professionals from the business society to the art world. The aim of the program is to provoke new, creative ways of thinking which can aid the young professionals’ businesses within a rapidly changing environment in which innovation is key. The program exposes young, business professionals to experienced professionals from the creative field, connecting them to the various ways in which creativity can be conceptualized and acted upon.
GET INNOVATED was an afternoon program in two parts for 50 young, corporate professionals. For the first part of the program the young professionals were given a guided tour through GET LOST – Art Route aimed at inspiring them to step out of their comfort zone and into the world of art. In the second part of the program they listened to talks of professionals from the creative field. GET INNOVATED invited Jasper Krabbé (a Dutch artist), Anna Glaumann (innovation manager Heineken), dr. Matthijs Baas UvA (professor at the University of Amsterdam, specialized in creativity) and Katrien van de Linde (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam) to talk and think about creativity and innovation.
GET LOST - art route
Cecile Wentges founded GET LOST – Art Route in 2015 to bridge the gap between businesses and the art world starting from the premise that each can inspire the other.
GET LOST – Art Route is a unique, collaborative project between young artists and business organizations. It brings the two together in order to develop public art routes where young artists are sponsored by an organization to make an artwork that will be temporarily placed in public space. GET LOST is innovative in its approach, emphasizing the importance of artistic freedom and the autonomy of artists so as to not compromise the quality of the artwork while taking a step towards the commercial world. At the same time, it challenges organizations to open up to the experimental character of the art world and young talent in particular.
The first edition of GET LOST – Art Route took place at de Zuidas in Amsterdam from June to September 2015, and was curated by Laurie Cluitmans and Rieke Vos.
The following artists and organizations participated:
Cape Town (ZA)
PUNCTURE POINTS - Where energy meets the everyday is an interdisciplinary art project that explores the intersection of energy and everyday life at the Western Cape.
Puncture Points is commissioned by Burgan Cape Terminals that is currently constructing a 118.000 m3 Diesel and Petrol storage terminal in the port of Cape Town.
The Puncture Points concept is an original idea which Wentges came up with after a period of research. Wentges transformed BCT’s request into a socially sensitive project which involves collaboration with local artists of different backgrounds and creating awareness of the relationship between energy and everyday life in the Western Cape.
The project started with a research on 10 different distribution channels of energy. Based on the research, an open call for artworks will be published, reaching out to the local and independent creative sector in the Western Cape.
The outcome of this project will be an exhibition that addresses the narratives where energy meets the everyday life. This exhibition will take place during the opening of the Burgan Cape Terminals in Q2 2017.
Platform for Unasked Art
2014 - 2016
Together with Domenique Himmelsbach de Vries and Taya Hanauer, Cecile Wentges founded the Platform for Unasked Art.
The Platform for Unasked Art is a platform for interventions in social space which bypasses the institutional moderator by using social space as its gallery, museum, studio and living room. The platform seeks to engage the social space as a meeting point rather than an in-between crossover.
Composition nr. 1 is a performance piece at the construction site ‘Bernardus,’ which took place in September 2014 as part of Platform for Unasked Art in the centre of Amsterdam. In this performance, Wentges guided her audience through the construction site as though it was an installation work which she had made herself within an established gallery space. Unfinished construction walls, concrete reinforcement bars, and other construction elements were described as if they were her own creation.
This performance piece reflects on the role of aesthetics and discourse within contemporary artistic practice, often producing abstract artworks which only have the appearance and rhetoric of being intentional and meaningful.
Along with questioning common notions about contemporary art, Composition n. 1 points towards the notion of ‘beauty’ in architecture. Is the building in its finished form more or less interesting than the process of construction? Where do function and aesthetics meet in this process? And at what points do they overpower each other?
2014 - 2016
SCRAP is an initiative by Cecile Wentges and Tom Bremer. Wentges and Bremer use scraps from vacant buildings to develop artistic, architectural installations. Their aim is to re-shape purely functional objects and materials from office buildings into thought-provoking, aesthetic artefacts; questioning the functionality of these every-day objects and materials.
Wentges and Bremer have made three different light installations for the organizations Glamourmanifest, Provast, and the Municipality of Amsterdam. In these installations, titled SCRAP 1, SCRAP 2, and SCRAP 3, they reused discarded neon lights from the office buildings of their clients, including all the metallic and electric materials the neon lights contain, in order to create intricate, large-scale installations which seem like kinetic, city complexes.
This initiative came as a response to the growing number of office vacancy rates in the Netherlands in the past few years, and the move towards reinvesting and revitalizing such offices spaces by Architecture and Real Estate companies.
In-between Borders was a painting project made to cover a wooden fence standing in front of a new building called ‘Handel’, a company renting out office spaces to other businesses, during its construction period. The painting is stylized in a design-like pattern, where different elements, shapes and lines reappear on a light blue coloured background. The depicted elements oscillate between organic structures such as delicate, tree branches and sharp, geometric lines and industrial, rectangular and triangular shapes.
This design is based on the combination of opposites: soft and hard, organic and industrial, loose and constricted. The choice to depict these specific opposites is not arbitrary; it uses visual means in order to create a dialogue between the separate business and art environments which the new Handel building finds itself in as it literally stands on the border between these two worlds. Handel has set up its new building on Fred. Roeskestraat right in front of the Gerrit Rietveld art academy and on the edge of the financial district of Amsterdam. The design creates a dialogue between these worlds and is meant to attract businesses that fundamentally combine these two worlds already, such as advertising companies and other creative industries.
Interference is a sculptural installation which poetically mimics the role of ‘chance’ in our lives and the coexistence of structure and freedom which make up our surroundings. Interference is composed of 25 pillars of different heights determined by the roll of dice, and made of sand mixed with water and placed in a grid-like structure. The geometric shape of the pillars and the rigidity of the grid convey a false sense of stability contrasted by the fragility of the material which can easily collapse or change form.
Despite the immense effort involved in creating neatly structured pillars made of sand, they are inevitably shaped and reshaped by their untamable materiality and natural, environmental and chance factors. The pillars’ shape is influenced by gravity, evaporation, the passing of time, the temperature of the room, the passerby, as well as unforeseeable circumstances.
Interference refers to the gap between a structure’s intended mode of usage and its outcome which is never precisely as planned, heavily influenced by external factors, and constantly ‘misused’. Through a dynamic installation that is constantly changing form, this gap can be seen as a call to accept the flow of life.
Wentges designed the installation Inside out – outside in for a collaborative exhibition at Waalkens Gallery, which is a gallery situated in a forest in the Northern village of Finsterwolde. Inside out – outside in is a conceptual installation meant to draw attention to the setting and environment of the Waalkens Gallery by reconstructing both the forest that the Waalkens Gallery is situated in as well as the gallery itself, rescaling its exact measurements and shape.
LOUD is an installation piece based on artist Aneta Lesnikovska’s film LOUD: what do you do when the world gets too loud? Lesnikovska’s film is about a young boy that couldn’t stand his parents fighting over nothing all the time. As a response to the fighting, he cut his ears and permanently destroyed his ability to hear. He was consequently given hearing aids with the option of turning down the volume whenever he disliked a conversation or setting.
Cecile Wentges’s installation is composed of two, large hearing aids made from flue pipes and originally placed at opposite ends of the IJ River in Amsterdam during the opening of the EYE film institute. The hearing aids on each side of the river were not simultaneously visible, yet they communicated with each other through a recording device that would send what was recorded at one side of the Ij River to the device on the other side of the Ij River.
This installation travelled throughout Europe with Aneta Lesnikovska’s project LOUD: What do you do when the world gets too loud?
Street Furniture was a temporary street installation that took place during the sanitation strike in Amsterdam in 2010. During this time people’s garbage was left in the streets for weeks, piling up and creating large garbage mounds.
In this installation, Wentges went to one of Amsterdam’s wealthy neighborhoods and created a temporary living room out of the piled-up garbage. The living room was fully equipped and included a computer, a bed, a couch, a table, a fridge, and many other household appliances. By creating an entire living room out of people’s ‘garbage,’ Street Furniture reveals not only the high quality of life in the neighborhood, but also the extent to which it comes on the expense of others.