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A WILLOW trefoil Knot

Every spring I make objects from fresh willow. Willow provides flexible twigs which can be used for braiding and knotting. Knots are useful and decorative elements in wickerwork, but what if the knot itself becomes the object?

Last winter I came across the image of Escher’s woodcut ‘Knots’ (1965) and I wondered if it would be possible to make this looped knot of willow. To be able to braid the knot, it must be translated into a smooth tubular shape. That would certainly be a challenge because normally the shapes of my objects are somewhat unpredictable. Wildly grown willow has its own will, and to make sure it looks like a tubed knot it is important to preserve the right shape.

One only knows the limitations of material when pushing the boundaries. I had to start again when the tube collapsed midway on a weak spot. For the next attempt I ensured that the diameter of the tube remained as constant as possible. And I had to make the bend from the first to the second loop more smooth. It is quite difficult not to lose orientation in space while braiding and controlling these aspects at the same time.

From another era…

This is a surrealistic design for an artwork at art event Hummelo (The Netherlands). A walking route takes the visitor around a beautiful, authentic and historical dutch landscape, maintained by one of the oldest aristocrate family of The Netherlands. A remarkable place to dwell and to show art…

Due to an historical event this has become an interesting location: in 1849 Julia, the baron’s daughter, died here when she was twenty, after a fall from her horse. Her father had built her a castle at Enghuizen and she was about to get married. A terrible accident for parents who already lost two sons. The youngest son inherited the castle instead, but it was bommed by allied airplanes during WOII and a few years later the remains where destroyed by a fire. An empty pedestal reminds of a dramatic story from another era…

Intuitively this location has a strong association with a no mans land, a neutral vaccuum, a grey zone, a portal to a next dimension. I tried to unite these associations in a infinite, 3-dimensional knot, floating in space, inserted by surrealistic tubes, each representing a dimension. But I also feel a connection with the era of the Renaissance. The lordship of Enghuizen has its origin already in the Middle Ages. The aristocratic family of Van Heeckeren manage to keep it through all times, including the Renaissance and the Napoleontic period. The Renaissance was an important transition to a more scientific, modern way of thinking and living. Time and space were given a new meaning. Religion and filosofie came together in science.

En faisant et en pensant, je découvre la vie…

Squircle & 9-Spiral

During the spring of this year my new eggshell artworks Squircle and 9-Spiral will be exposed by Gallery40nl at the art fairs of Brussels and Lausanne. This time I had to deal with some changes and I challenged myself to make two difficult and totally different designs.

Squircle I, eggshells on wooden panel, 90 x90 cm, Hedy Hempe 2019/20.

The first idea for a design was a squircle, an intriging combination of a square and circle. I thought it would be interesting to visualize this shape with eggshells. But how could I increase an optical 3-dimensionality at the same time? By using infinity at the edge. For the second design I used infinity towards the center. Nine spiral arms of eggshells are rushing to an imaginary vanishing point.

There are two changes which have effect on the approach of eggshell designs. First I used a wooden panels of smaller dimension. The gallery owner asked me to change the size from 100 to 90 cm square. As shells of goose eggs have a certain diameter the available surface influences the design. It took some time until this size became part of my system. The second change has to do with the display case of acrylic glass. For carrying and exposing these kind of artworks a protection is indispensible. The eggshells are indeed fixated with very strong glue, so they will not ever fall off, but if somebody hit a shell with his hand it will break. Although the transparent shield gives the artworks a sophisticated museum look, the images which are shown here are photographed without the display case.

The Brussels Art Fair runs from 20 – 22 March and the Art Fair Lausanne 30 April – 4 May. Look for Gallery40nl!

9-Spiral, eggshells on wooden panel, 90 x 90 cm, Hedy Hempe 2019/20.

Women take up space

This exhibition is an indoor follow-up of Playground, with sculpture in the park. My sculpture of A1 is at the back of the park, inside you will find a bronze version of A1 as a serie of three Amazones and a self-portrait. Both the exhibitions can be visited until 15th of November.

During this group exhibition Indoor Playground my three Amazones in bronze are exposed, as well as the photo of the Woman and her Eternal Veil. The little Amazones are the beginning of awareness of the meaning of my presence as a woman. This process started after my mother died in 2016. Intuitively I clayed this figurines in 2017 and shortly after I invented the reed fan dance and I started my self-portrait project. At the same time my personal quest has become a universal issue: the position of women. It is interesting to notice globally that women should get stronger and that women translate that feeling in different ways. That is why I had to create the Amazones, the Woman and her Eternal Veil, the reed fan dance and A1. I am happy to make a contribution. For more information about the meaning of A1, read my article, go to menu > Sculptures > A1 at Bergarde.

Woman and her Eternal Veil| Hedy Hempe | 2017
Reed fan dance | Zomertuin Enschede | 2018.

The sound of eggshells

The eggshell panel Monade 360 has become the image for the cover of a musical album Rosary of composer Christoph Enzel. The album is also published on Spotify. A close-up of Monade 360 is also used for the cover of a paper volume of ‘Drei Wagner-Paraphrasen’ which is available at Musikverlag Chili Notes.

Album Rosary with image of eggshell artwork Monade 360 on Spotify.

Christoph Enzel is the tenor saxophonist of the Clair-obscur Saxophone Quartet and member of the saxophone orchestra Selmer Saxharmonic with whom he won an Echo Klassik in 2010. His post-avantgarde band is Hydroglisseur. Since 2013 he is the saxophonist in the ensemble UnitedBerlin. As a soloitst and orchestral saxophonist, he is a regular guest at the Berliner Philharmonic, MDR Radio Orchestra Leipzig, New Westphalian Philharmonic and NDR Radio Orchestra Hamburg. As a lecturer, he gives workshops for the German Brass Academy and the Jeunesses Musicales. He has arranged and composed about 100 works for a variety of instrumentations. In addition to classical chamber music he creates jazz arrangements, theater music, music for children and saxophone textbooks.

Monade was first shown at the art exhibition in honor of the 70th anniversary of KCB at the Kranenburgh Museum in Bergen, The Netherlands. Shortly afterwards the artwork was sold in 2017 to art collectors De Heus.

Golden Egg – Bridges 2019

This year I will attend the international conference for math & art with an article and presentation, titled Golden Egg. Bridges will be held at the Johannes Kepler University of Linz, Austria from 16 until 20 June 2019.

ABSTRACT – What makes the egg shape so interesting? I will explain the function and meaning the egg shape has for me, and I will discuss how it relates to other natural structures and shapes. My eggshell paintings are spatial collages of white eggshells, arranged in a mathematical stucture on white panels.

INTRODUCTION – My eggshell artwork H-spiral was an award-winner at Bridges 2018. I have been fascinated by the egg for 25 years, and I was inspired to take a closer look at the egg shape. What would my ideal egg shape look like? I use the egg shape in my art, and I would like to explain its function and meaning to my, how it can evolve and deform, and how I think it relates to other natural stuctures and shapes.

Golden Goose Egg by Hedy Hempe 2019.

A1 at Playground

A1 at her throne of straw bales at Playground, Bergarde Galleries, Heerjansdam, NL.

A1 is a symbol for the self-contained female. A woman is first a human being, then female, then mother. That she can give birth to children does not mean that she is only a mother. It is a strange idea that a woman can be owned by a man or that a woman is subordinate to a man or that a woman has less value than a man. This subordinate position of women has traditionally been recorded in world religions. In the Bible, Eve is the first woman to seduce Adam into the first sin. And with that the tone was set and her fate sealed.

Until the 1960s it was customary in the Netherlands for women to automatically lose their jobs as soon as they got married. According to the Civil Code, introduced in 1838, women were “legally incapacitated” from the moment they married. As a woman you were forced to do what only a woman can do: become a mother. After you were neatly married, the pastor would soon be on the doorstep to hear when family expansion could be expected. Both laws were abolished on June 14, 1956. Until 1971, however, it remained in the law book that the man was the “head of the association” and the woman “owed him obedience.”

It concerns women up to and including my mother’s generation. What has this restriction and undervaluation done to all these women? What has it done with their self-esteem and ambitions? I read the stories of my great-grandmother. She did exactly what her father and husband instructed her to do, resisting was a disgrace and useless. This role play is passed on for several generations, up to my mother. In order to gain a position within the family and society, they have adopted certain characteristics, such as interference, quarrelship and manipulation. With these means they have tried to give themselves a significant role in the men’s world.

After millenium-long suppression, it is not easy to unlearn these acquired and worn-in qualities. The inferiority complex that many women suffer to a greater or lesser extent is also not simply abolished. I speak from my own experience when I claim that these traits will be passed on from mother to daughter also in future. When I decided to follow the part-time journalism course, my mother said ‘why all that trouble, you have a man with a well-paid job?’ Today, the government is calling on women to become self-employed by taking care of their own income, but where do they get the ambition? For centuries the ambition among women has been destroyed. It will take some time before self-esteem and self-assurance return to women.

3D-design for A1 by Hedy Hempe 2019.

The modern woman must dare and learn to take her own space. She does not have to fight against men, but she should be inspired by her own personality to make her own decisions. She can take action herself, but that requires inspiration and courage. A1 is a symbol of enthusiasm, ingenuity and humor. She has a head with built-in horns because she has her own will, she makes choices and decisions independently. She has small breasts because she is not only a suckler mother and a seductress. Her bow arms are strong, she can build. She has stacked a lookout post from straw bales. She feels completely at home in nature, in a jungle with wild plants and birds. She has anima as well as animus that lurks in the collective subconscious of all women.

Sprout of Spines

Blackberry bushes are naturally barbed wire. They are everywhere, they dominate the vegetation. When you leave the beaten track, they hook their thorns in your pants. Whoever picks the ripe fruit must accept the spines. What are the spines good for, and where do they come from? That thought excites me. Irritable or irritating?

“Sprout of Spines” is a translation of the Dutch title “Ontpopping van Prikkels”.

Poem “Ontpopping van Prikkels” written by Helma Snelooper:

Ik zonder mij af
bundel mijn kracht
op de dag
die openbreekt

De wind duizelt van kruid
bestormt me
stroopt me uit mijn huid
legt al mijn draden bloot

Ranken houden me in hun greep
ik worstel me door stekels
tijd haalt me over de hekel

Ik lik mijn wonden
bramen spatten
bloedrood uiteen
in mijn mond

Mijn zolen branden
ik sta op heilige grond

Ik dans
ren door regen
zwem tegen de stroom in

Ik vlecht
mij een weg
naar buiten

naar het wonder
van de verbondenheid

Cocoons with clay and blackberry creepers, art route Hummelo 2019.

My own poem “Onderhuids”:

ik loop, ik ren, ik spring
ik dans, ik vlieg, ik zing

ik speel, ik fluit, ik gaap
ik denk, ik droom, ik slaap

ik graaf, ik grijp, ik ruik
ik zwem, ik drijf, ik duik

ik hoor, ik zie, ik voel
Snap je wat ik bedoel?

ik stamp, ik krab, ik bijt
ik knaag, ik spuug, ik schijt

ik schop, ik schreeuw, ik zoek
ik scheld, ik tier, ik vloek

ik knip, ik vlecht, ik smeer
ik leef, of sterf?
ik kan niet meer!

ik tril, ik schud, ik scheur
mijn huid open:
ontpopping van prikkels!

Reed bundles On the Move

Reed bundles stacked in geometrical triangle | Hedy Hempe 2018

My artwork of reed bundles is exhibited at the National Tree Museum in Doorn, Hoge Veluwe. It is part of a walking route through the largest arboretum of the Netherlands, named after the creator of the park Von Gimborn. Participating artists are: Lidwina Charpentier, Peggy Eras, Jan Everwijn, Hedy Hempe, Peter Kuijl, Natasja van der Meer, Hester Pilz, Johan Sietzema, Jos Smink and Gonda van der Zwaag.

There is a linked exhibition at Waterlinie Museum, located in Ford at Vechten. The exhibition starts at 19th of August and will end at 28th of October 2018.

Award Bridges 2018

Me in front of Tekniska Museet in Stockholm 2018

When I signed in for the art exhibition of Bridges it was a surprise that my eggshell painting was choosen for the nominees exhibition, but I couldn’t foresee that the artwork would get a prize.

I had a wonderful time at Bridges in Stockholm this summer. I really enjoyed the conversations with nice and open minded people and the inspiring presentations of geometry in all its forms: visual art, music, dance and poetry.

During the closing evening the organisation the prize winners were announced. My 3-dimensional eggshell painting was rewarded by the visitors of the national museum of Science and Technology and the participants of Bridges.

H-spiral, goose eggshells on wood

Receiving an award at Bridges 2018