Fundament Foundation Tilburg
Text Chris Driessen:
– It makes you feel -
Yvonne Dröge Wendel (1961) lives and works in Amsterdam. The heart of her oeuvre is her personal, emotional bond with the world of objects. Pure love led her into wedlock with Wendel, a cupboard, whose name she now officially bears. She took her dilapidated Renault 16 to Rome to have it blessed by the Pope. Dröge Wendel won second prize in the 1994 Prix de Rome for her documentation of this special journey, La benedizione della macchina.
The artist is concerned with the relationship between people and objects, and the quest for the essence of this relationship. How does a person behave in relation to an object? How does his attitude manifest itself in the objects that surround him? To what extent do the objects influence his behaviour? What aspects of this behaviour are linked with culture, and to what extent can rituals or other cultural customs provide enrichment within the interplay of man and object?
Dröge Wendel originally opted for familiar, everyday objects, such as the cupboard and the car. Gradually, mainly to create a greater degree of openness, she has been seeking out more neutral objects, where the importance of specific features such as colour and form fade and the object acquires a more abstract meaning or role. Her self-published book Wooden Sticks (1997) is the first exemplification of this endeavour. The book is a brief history of the stick, viewed from a variety of perspectives and with references to various historical sources. The textual and image material is so diverse that the book leads not to a better knowledge of the stick, but rather to confusion. No conclusions are drawn, and ultimately it is impossible to describe a stick in any way other than as a stick.
From Wooden Sticks, Dröge Wendel continued with her research into how an object can evoke specific emotions in its viewer or user. Her approach is to design modern rituals, interactions between the public and a neutral object. Her Black Ball (2000), a two-metre high ball made of black felt that is moved by the public through the public space, with no guidance from the artist, is now renowned. The ball has now visited various cities in the Netherlands and other countries, and after Istanbul it will go to De Oude Warande*. Dröge Wendel recently presented a series of works that she calls liquid sculptures: highly aesthetic glossy objects, made of large quantities of hinged strip material. Their gloss and their visibly stretchable and shrinkable quality make it impossible for the public to resist touching, stretching and squeezing the objects, constantly creating new forms, precisely as the artist intended.
For LUSTWARANDE 04, Dröge Wendel has reverted to Wooden Sticks and created a work that she has had in mind for some considerable time, but for which she could never find a suitable location. The artist was inspired by the sporting function of the Baroque Woods, for which special sites have been prepared. Dröge Wendel placed a completely different, yet analogous device opposite it: a mental training circuit. In a sheltered spot, with an invitingly soft base, the artist made a piece of equipment from which several sticks are suspended. Just as in a training circuit, each stick has a small billboard containing directions for exercises. All visitors to the woods are invited to enter the equipment and, as they see fit, to take a stick and perform the suggested exercises, so that they invoke a state in which they feel saintly, venerable, a dancer, a slave, or magical. And all that with a simple stick.
* Black Ball will be present only during the opening weekend of 14 and 15 August.
To be magical:
Take a small light stick 50 cm in length and with a diameter of 2 cm. Hold it at one end, stretch out your arm and glide it through the air. Describe a figure of 8. Then touch something with the tip of the stick.
(from Wooden Sticks)
participating artists: Jane Alexander_ Rob Birza_ Merijn Bolink_ Ritsaert ten Cate_ Loris Cecchini_ Michael Coombs_ Wim Delvoye_ Yvonne Dröge Wendel_ Elmgreen & Dragset_ Luciano Fabro_ Michel Françoise_ Meschac Gaba_ Anya Gallaccio_ Renée Green_ Stephan Huber_ Anish Kapoor_ Fransje Killaars_ Edward Lipski_ Ernesto Neto_ Thomas Rentmeister_ Peter Rogiers_ Ugo Rondinone_ Maria Roosen_ Alexander van Slobbe& Marc Mulders_ Do-Ho Suh_ Johan Tahon_ Brian Tolle_ Nicole Tran Ba Vang
Catalogue 'Wanderlust' - excursions in contemporary sculpture, 2008