Persona June, 21st 2019 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 219 - Iris Woutera


iris – MB 1

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 219 – Iris Woutera
I saw tree trunks moving in De Achtertuin (the Backyard) on Rotterdam’s Oostzeedijk at the exhibition The Garden Project. At least, that was my first impression. The tree trunks had vertical lines that turned out to be quite flexible.

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Only later did I see that there was a person in that tree trunk. The work ‘Deform’ was made by Iris Woutera, who graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 2016. It was her first work after her graduation and also her key work.

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Iris Woutera, whom I speak in Café Engels on Stationsplein in Rotterdam: “What you see is a sculpture in the shape of a cocoon. The cocoon is protective and anonymous, but at the same time expressive and creative. It is about my personal process from being a student to being an artist. It has a lot to do with your body in space, creative expressiveness and also the relationship between body, object and nature. What place does the art object occupy? How do you place it in the world, what effect does it have? This concerns both the use of materials (recycled plastic) and the language of the organic movement. This movement contrasts with shiny plastic and hard materials that are reminiscent of commercial luxury products. ”

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Iris ’work is about movement, change of form and human experience in relation to the environment. Iris: “It is my experience of the world, in which everything moves, life is elusive, but you can still see beautiful structures in the way plants grow, in the emotions and experiences of people. It represents my infinite interest in life, and celebrating / experiencing this with each other. ”
She thinks it is nice that something can change over time. “It’s exciting when you make something and then be surprised by what happens. As an artist, you don’t have to think of everything in advance, but you actually discover something new by working from the material. I also find it exciting to work with other makers to bring movement into the sculptures. I enjoy working with performers and musicians, I love dance and sound. ”

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Away from the ratio
Iris looks for ‘tangent fields’, so that the artwork gets connected to other worlds. “What I like is if every person could understand the work, without an explanation text. Like a child can tell something to an older person. Away from reason and focused on the many other sensory sensors in the body. What do they pick up from the world in this way? ”
Someone once told her that she works at the molecular level. She found that an interesting response. “I do indeed go back to how something is structured, my designs are graphic forms that you see in the principles of mathematics. They are universal forms for everyone! I like abstraction, because it gives the audience space to place it themselves and possibly link it to a story. I have had reactions to Deform such as ‘a sea anemone’, ‘a new species of Burka’, ‘a mushroom, flower, plants, fish’ or it is ‘sensual’, ‘frightening’, ‘emotional’. It’s great how such an abstract form evokes associations from the psyche of people.

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She often works with plastic and textiles. When she entered Café Engels she had a large bag with her. When she opened it I saw that it was full of shutter slats she had received from BSL Window Coverings for recycling, the back was covered with stretch fabric. “I found the first slats in the bulky waste on the street side. I was looking for a material where I could make lines move organically! I think that was successful. After the straight lines, I went into circle shapes before graduating. At the moment I am working on the formless! ”

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She made her first performance at the Rietveld Academy. “I did the Arts In Design study with an extra curriculum in Live Works (movement in space).”
From 2015 onwards she also carried out assignments outside the art academy with her objects. She now comes to many places. “At the end of February 2019 I was in Paris in Palais de Tokyo at Fashion Week (fashion-program-deform), and I also was at the World Exhibition Innovative Costume Design in Moscow ( and on PQ (Prague Quadrennial, ”

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“I was also very happy to participate in the City Circles Project program in March 2019. It is a project in which a group of makers do an urban study and provide an answer through a work of art. This under the guidance of Socratic discussion leaders, city planners, people from the municipality, lectures by philosophers and other designers. The intention is to involve as many residents of a city district as possible in the process and to enter into a dialogue. That is why we are investigating a well-arranged piece of land, a maximum of 1 kilometer around the centering point in Wow.Amsterdam. The program was initiated by Ketters & Co ( On June 21, 22, and 23 the result can be seen during We Make The City Festival in Amsterdam.

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In your body
She founded her own company in 2017. “There are many facilities for young makers in the Netherlands, that is special! For example, work and living space, development programs and also a business course that I have attended from Culture & Business and the Chamber of Commerce. But the art sector remains a niche, not many people need the products of the artists. “
What she likes about art is that it can move between all kinds of atmospheres, “I prefer to experiment as much as possible, and enjoy life through my art.”
Finally what is her philosophy? “Get out of your head and into your body, surprise yourself by making and moving and live life completely! That is my motto and I sometimes have to repeat it to myself !! Because sometimes I can forget it, and then I work too much behind my computer. “

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1 – 5) screenshot from the video Deform, artist: iris woutera, videographer: Kyveproductions, performers: Flora Nacer, Kelly Vincent, Olga van Dijk, 6) exhibition in The Citroen Garage Amsterdam, artist Iris Woutera, photographer: Omri Bigetz, 7 – 9) exhibition The Garden Project Rotterdam, artist Iris Woutera, photographer Jan Arsenovic, 10) iris woutera at work on the Deform sculptures. Photograph by Boris Stapel…

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