Persona February, 16th 2023 by

 World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 402 - Bernet Ragetli

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World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 402 – Bernet Ragetli
At the second edition Amsterdam Pop-up Print Gallery in NDSM Fuse Amsterdam I saw several beautiful and intriguing works. Among other things, cyanotype fantasy worlds by Bernet Ragetli.

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When I visit her in Watergraafsmeer in Amsterdam, she tells me that she is the initiator of the Amsterdam Pop-up Print Gallery. “That was three years ago. I wanted to make more free work, and I also wanted to exhibit it, but it was not so easy to find a place. Then I thought: ‘I’m going to organize it myself’. The Graphics Platform brought me into contact with other Amsterdam makers and so we were able to organize the first edition as part of the Graphics Triennale 2019.”

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Powers of ten
She takes out a folder with large format works. I see the universe, or at least it could be that, with a number of spheres. Each sphere is different. It is based on the ‘powers of ten’, she says. Powers of Ten is a 1977 short documentary by Charles Eames that shows the relative proportions of things from the microscopic to the cosmic level in powers of ten. “Forms and structures repeat themselves at different sizes. In this work I combine those different scales, from galaxies to atoms and everything in between. The surprising thing is the similarity of the images – very small and very large are related. That is extremely interesting.”

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The magical paper-lifting moment
In cyanotype she puts material on photosensitive paper. Where the light is stopped it remains white, the rest turns blue after developing with water. She makes negatives by printing on sheet and cutting out, or sometimes by drawing with ink on transparent plastic. “What I like is that you can sample work, repeat elements in new works. That gives room for maneuver. When you make it, the light-sensitive paper is yellowish, the negatives go on it, you then expose it, but you only see how it really turns out when you develop it in water. ‘The magical paper-lifting moment’.”
I see a few more, including an underwater image, also in cyanotype blue. It’s the galaxy, this time there are wisps. “If you almost close your eyes on the beach and you look under your eyelashes, you will see those floating wisps.” She has incorporated a photo of the Amsterdam metro as a reference to the human dimension.

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Males on a block of wood
But Bernet also makes other things. She is originally an illustrator and that is why you often see a form of figuration and narrative poetic work with her. For example, she made a beautiful drawing of little men standing on a block of wood, the roof of the skull lifted so that the steam can escape, one still calm but the other in large yellow wisps.
“I wanted to depict what you experience, what can happen in your head. I am curious about the state a person can be in.”

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She picks up another folder. Also many blue drawings of hands (and feet) with elements. “It’s about touching, experiencing the surface. I also combine techniques, with ink and monotype.” She also makes screen prints, including a design of Amsterdam in four letters ADAM on which you see people on bicycles, puddles of rainwater, wheels and a bicycle bell. It is intended for a t-shirt.

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Need to experiment
She sees continuity in her work, she says. “You can already see the core in my graduation project at the Drawing and Crafts Teacher Training Program in Amsterdam. I try to visualize how I see the world, how I experience it.” That is why she has no key work, or you could call every last work a key work, and then she has many. “I don’t like repetition. There is a red line: that is the need to experiment, as a kind of exciting journey. This creates depth and new combinations are created. Occasionally I also learn new techniques, or I use old techniques.”
In addition to the Teacher Training, she did a year Illustration at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. Once she graduated she worked a lot on commission, she made ‘applied art’. “At one point I made a series of cartoons, there was a lot of interest. They asked for more. But I didn’t want that and that’s why I stopped.” She tries to find assignments that give her a lot of freedom in the field of ‘editorial illustration’. Among other things, she now works for the magazine ‘Relevant’, of the voluntary end of life association and for magazines / online in the field of medicine and healthcare, such as ‘Nursing’, a magazine for nurses.

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Young people with autism
Bernet Ragetli is active in many fields. Among other things, she is a creative coach for young people aged 13 to 23 with autism who have dropped out of regular education. “They are often smart young people with a lot of talent. They experience the world very intensively sensory. We want to create a safe environment for them.” She does it at the Brilliant Future Kids Foundation.
“We offer each young person an individual trajectory to work on their future prospects. We do this, among other things, in collaboration with an educational institution. I take care of the Artlab, with paint, clay and, for example, screen printing. There are also digital coaches. Almost anything is possible. For example, there are 3D printers to make 3D work. You can write screenplays and make movies. There is a project with hand puppets, a kind of muppets. Often I also bring an artist’s book or tell something. It’s great fun to do. The conversations between the young people and with others are also valuable. The most important thing is that the young people get again a chance to develop.”

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Graphic Workshop Amsterdam
The Graphic Workshop Amsterdam can be found in the NDSM Loods, the same building where NDSM Fuse is located. Bernet is a member of the board there. “The Graphic Workshop is a fantastic, lively place. The focus is on letterpress and the preservation and operation of the graphic heritage. Courses and workshops are given for young and old, but you can also work there as an artist. Wonderful things are made every time.”

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Finally, what is her philosophy?
Bernet shows me a piece of paper with a nice quote from Susan Sontag, writer and philosopher.
“Do stuff, be clenched, curious.
Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead.
Pay attention.
It’s all about paying attention.
Attention is vitality.
It connects you with others.
It makes you eager.
Stay eager.”
1) Powers of Ten, 2) Powers of Ten 01, 3) Innerworld 02, 4) Innerworld 01, 5) The meaning of the river flowing I, 6) Emerging I, 7) Hiding I, 8) The meaning of the river flowing, 9) Like all magnificent things III, 10) portrait Bernet Ragetli, photo by Patricia Bosboom

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