A moment of reflection. We are always curious about the creative process of artists. How did they get to this point? We want to dive into the mind of the creators. The result: ‘Creative process’, a column featuring artists who offer us an insight in their creative process.
In this eposide Wendy Nouse, a contemporary female Dutch artist, based in Paris, France. She studied visual communications and fine arts in the Netherlands and completed her studies during an exchange program in France.
SHC: What kind of art do you make?
Wendy: I am a social-political artist which means I make art about society. In my work, I visualize my observations like a journalist. I confront the spectator with the ideas of a spectrum of different subjects and opinions. For visualization, I use different types of media: painting, illustration, sculpting, but also new media like photography and video.
SHC: Can you tell us a bit about performance art?
Wendy: Performance art is a performance presented to an audience within a fine art context, traditionally interdisciplinary. The performance may be either scripted or unscripted, random or carefully orchestrated, spontaneous or otherwise carefully planned with or without audience participation.
At the beginning of my studies, I mainly worked with spontaneous art performances. In this case study, I will talk about two different scripted performances, one I created in 2015 and one in 2017.
In 2015 I created Explore L’Espace Aveugle, in this art performance, I walked blindfolded through an abandoned factory. I was using the whistling technique to show me the path. As you can see in the images, I made a lot of amateur mistakes, like the camera quality, editing, and sound recording. Also, the performance itself was a relatively basic idea, though I am still delighted with this work.
SHC: And what improved two years later, in 2017?
Wendy: After being in Paris, I got confronted with some fantastic art pieces that took art performing to the next level.
So in 2017, I gave this a shot. I created the work Nous Demandons, during my travels I got stuck in the train in Brussels. Trying to learn French, I decided to note down the words I heard around me. On the end of my page, I noticed it was like a poem, talking about where the money was going, what we were doing and how unsatisfied we are.
I decided to sing this text in front of the European Parliament in Brussels. I made the first try, to see how it would go and how I could improve my situation. What I was dealing with, it was winter, and it was a freezing rainy day, I didn’t prepare any materials for this type of weather.
During the second time, I arranged a camerawoman who could film me. I had a microphone and appropriate clothing for a sunny day. Also, I decided that the performance wouldn’t stop right there. I wanted to show that the words didn’t come from me, but from the people. So I asked people to repeat the lyrics I was singing.
In conclusion, I created an installation with me projected on the wall, singing in front of the European Parliament, and a sound installation in which you could hear the people talk around you.
SHC: Can you explain this with examples of your daily life?
Wendy: I take my work much more serious than I did years ago. I always start with a spontaneous action. In the past I would try to find my way around with these first shot results. Now I use these results, to redefine my idea. Today I will redo the work, make sure I have enough material, as soon as I know what I want and how to create it.
I feel that as a student, you can present your work in a safe space, so you don’t need to feel the motivation to create a “real” piece. I noticed that the students of ENSBA, Paris, were making works for exhibitions, etcetera. This means the quality had to be of a high level, not just enough to pass your grade and start a new project.
Being in a city that offers loads of high-quality art pieces challenges me every day. I feel the need to compete and construct better and more detailed work. Before, I used to let the element of surprise dominate my art. Today I think of the results I want to create. I still give my art the space to breath, but I am more in charge of the direction.