under my spell by annabelle schatteman sculptor

Is how I baptised all the work that is being created alongside `the desired state`the new work that I am currently making and want to show in Dusseldorf next year.  It will show the remains of animalistic and human organisms that once formed a civilization that has been eradicated, despite elements of defense.  In this work I hope to build further on my vision about human strength and fragility, the story about the masked and unprotected humanity. About the continuation of life; and  how…?

But somehow, alongside this work, some other work made their way to my hands. One of them is this work that is called in u door u en met u.

in u door u en met u  glazed ceramics, wood

in u door u en met u

glazed ceramics, wood

Clay works by annabelle schatteman sculptor

Clay still forks for me now and always has. Clay works from 2013-2015 on show now at bliep_bliep art gallery in Ghent. www.bliep-bliep.be  Be loved in everything positive (great motto!).  From left to right: portraitsofafamily/afamilyofportraits (glazed ceramics) (photo by Syreetah), Shrew II (glazed ceramics)(photo by Syreetah), Shrew I (glazed ceramics), masks (ceramics and glazed ceramics)(photo by Syreetah).  


a lie holds the truth, a fairy tale tries to find it by annabelle schatteman sculptor

game over.  clay and porcelain

game over.

clay and porcelain

Don`t know exactly what I am doing but I am doing something which is a begining. I know I will understand what I am doing at some point but now it just happens and I let it. It has to do with fairy tale,with a  quest and maybe even rituals (which I believe my work is anyway always connected to). I have no plan, just ideas and I am reading a bunch of books about fairy tales. I just make what I want to make not what I think I should be doing , which is make a good concept and follow it. I think it will be ok if I just trust my intuition. It always is.





portrait of my father by annabelle schatteman sculptor

Forget forgetting to make the portrait, forget trying to make something else of it because it does not work out. I have to make that portrait, basta.  It is now or never. In this mindset I eventually succeeded in creating the portrait I was satisfied with. I finally trusted my hands to know exactly what to do because his face was still in their memory, which is very natural if you have known someone all your life. Lately I subconsciously scanned his faced with my mind`s eye many times because I knew he was getting old and time with us was getting shorter.

For the rest I keep asking myself `why would one still make a sculpted portrait? Isn`t that pure hybris? Isn`t it terribly outdated etc...`. I do not have the answer except for the fact that I had to make it and I enjoyed making it.   

So now it is finished and I have to decide what to do with it.  I think i will make a mould to preserve this portrait because I know that one day it will be very precious to me, the day that i dread...the day I realise my memory of him starts to fade. 


between heaven and earth by annabelle schatteman sculptor

is a state of being. Trying to grasp infinity, non physicality while trying to stay in touch with the earth. Some media help you to get closer to heaven, other carriers bring you in touch with the earth. The divine burial songs of William Croft helped me to get through the church ceremony for the burial of my father a few weeks ago, they helped me carry my grief and bring it out of my body towards the sky. The clay, the charcoal, the pencils, the paper, the paint assist me in my attempts at making my grief physical. Merely attempts so far.

Up until a few weeks ago I was well on my way to make a new body of work that I had and, as yet,  baptised ` the desired state`  It had to become a world of everything that I had fun in making; from flowers to clouds to unicorns to birds..some sort of paradise, I guess. Until...my father suddenly became ill and passed away in the blink of an eye. And so, overnight, my paradise world became irrelevant, redundant. The only thing that I found myself doing the last weeks  is to try to make the unphysical physical, to turn back the time, to try to make him come to life again with my hands as if it were some sort of pygmalion....and I fail. I fail no matter how many portraits I try to make. They are not him. It is even so that the more portraits I try to make the bigger the distance between us becomes because I get frustrated with an image that is not coming to life by itself and that I do not succeed in making properly. Why on earth do I want that `right` image so badly, what do I need to prove? As if the image is the new him which is of course absolutely ridiculous and a course of mind that is to avoid. Unless( I now suddenly see while writing it down)....I stop fighting it and find a way of seeing that in the frustration itself lies the image or ` the story` and let this be part of  the `desired state` ? I have no idea how but i guess the only way to find out is to try. Now...when writing this, I feel some sort of spark that lifts me up and carries me.X

Below an idea of what kept me busy in the last months



And with this blog entry the purple planet circle is officially round by annabelle schatteman sculptor

Heading for the purple planet. All the doubts towards the exhibition put aside, I could not have had a better moment and/or location for the kick off of this installation. It is hard to capture in pictures, therefore I had a little  film made to give an impression of the atmosphere that transformed the chapel for two weeks. The soundscape was also part of the installation.

The film speaks for itself, but I want to spend a few extra words on the light (editing choices we had to make, made it impossible to reproduce the same effect as the reality) The light that shone through the windows was an unrehearsed, unforeseen and unable to reproduce element in the installation.The stained glass chapel windows` colours took me completely by surprise as they appeared to be green, yellow and purple which are exactly the colours of my work.... crazy, just crazy (also that I had not seen that before, but maybe if I had, then it would not have worked or...is that not how magic works..?)   Just like the sea helped me to make a new work in paradise of surrender, so the purple planet was transformed by the light. And in this way it became, just like paradise of surrender, a sort of ritual wherein everything works together to transcend/celebrate/honour ..


video to give an impression about the exhibition `heading for the purple planet` in Sint-Amanduskapel. June 2017. Camera and video by Mathieu Rynwalt.

die a thousand deaths by annabelle schatteman sculptor

6th of April was the date of my last blog. In this short time span between then and now I died several deaths. Every time I make an exhibition I think `why do I do this to myself?`. I do not consider myself a masochist but, honestly, this comes very close. When making the work and being completely into it, I am full of confidence and I know that this is what I want to say. But then comes all the organising, the inviting people and the publicly announcing of what I thought so confidently about and I shrink and have lots of imaginary conversations with myself that undoubtedly and mercilessly result in hara-kiri. To die an honourable self inflicted death before anyone else kills me is more appealing than being slaughtered by critique.  

Enfin, In two weeks I will be there and stand there and smile there and be confident there. It is after all about courage and stamina and vulnerability, this `heading for the purple planet`. About Striding forward with all your means and imperfections to go to this world where you believe in. Yesterday I thought `what I can offer the viewer is nothing more or less than this small perforation hole in the reality that we commonly accept as a given`. This image that is what I hold onto now...nothing but a small perforation in reality..... It calms me and puts things in perspective.

For the next two weeks I will try to walk the zen path to the chapel. And quite a path is is.




heading for the purple planet by annabelle schatteman sculptor

Working on the exhibition in the Chapel of Campo Santo in Gent (Sint-Amandsberg).

Campo Santo is an exhibition Chapel that is situated on a burial site just outside the centre of Ghent in Sint Amandsberg. `` heading for the purple planet`` is the title of the exhibition and it is about the female as a symbol of protection and continuation of life. It should become a group of womenlike figures who are on their way to another place where the continuation of life can be assured. The figures are built up out of building material, porcelain and ready made objects. 

The work is raw, fragile and 1000 other doubts. It started off as only sketches and that is what it stayed, sketches. Exhibiting sketches and be serious about them feels like going to a battlefield unarmed. But somehow this is how it should be. And after all life is nothing but a sketch, you only get to do it once and everything for the first time. This is what I tell myself and what I have to believe now....

For a Long time I had an instinctive allergy against exhibiting on this spot and up till now I sometimes think I will cancel last minute, but also I have this need fuelled by anger to fill the chapel with female energy against all this patriarchal stupidity that has caused so much destruction and pain in the name of ideologies. Also, the graveyard that the chapel is built on is a sort of `Père Lachaise of Ghent` where the `meritorious` Gentians are buried, most of them men of course. The exhibition will be dedicated to my grandmother who died in childbirth after giving birth to her first child, my father. She died because the church, in case of doubt to save the mother or the child, strongly advised the father to sacrifice the mother. She died for the continuation of life...she was buried on a graveyard close to Campo Santo, she did not belong to the meritocracy, she was just another woman who died in childbirth. There are no statues for all the women who died in childbirth but there is, in almost every city, a statue for the anonymous soldier who died in a war. what kind of world did we make??? It is time to head for that purple planet and start all over again. 


motherdaughter/daughtermother by annabelle schatteman sculptor

some things are bound to happen because it is the law of nature

children leave parents 

daughters leave mothers

it can be painful

you spend hours raising them to be independent when they are older

and then comes the moment they are

you spend hours making a portrait as you like it

and then comes the moment it is

and it explodes

air or plaster pieces

I accuse plaster

I accuse myself

too much tolerance for plaster in my clay environment

I can live with the plater diagnosis

I think of the motherartist/artistmother piece

It all makes sense

this law of nature





portrait making process by annabelle schatteman sculptor

This summer I started a portrait of my daughter who is leaving to house to study abroad.There was not much time left when I decided to recreate her (;-), so what started off as normal posing sessions, we had to finish via FaceTime. making a portrait of her was a good step in the process of letting go. I had to look very closely, absorbing all her her features like my eyes were glued onto her. It made her very uncomfortable at times. I told her ``you owe me that, I am your mother :-), this always works``. Here you can see a little overview of the ups and downs of the creation. The excavation of the portrait did not go as planned and the whole buste collapsed. Luckily I was able to save her face (in the literal sense). Now wait till it is dry and then glaze her in a soft white...looking forward to add some frosting to the cake! Life gets sweeter that way.

`She who is always there` or `zij die er altijd is` by annabelle schatteman sculptor

It`s been a while since my last words on this blog. The times did not invite me to write. More so to experience. But now these times are over and it is time to `do`. It is scary,  like the blank canvas syndrome. The empty space syndrome... `empty` is quite the word these days. Empty space,.empty nest. The second bird in my nest has flown out, only one left in there. This is quite something. I don`t know what to make of it yet beyond emptiness. 

Looking back at my work from the previous year, I can only say that I must have been preparing myself for this. Sculptures with some sort of woman carrying some sort of child with some sort of shield to protect, kept coming back. Most of them I threw out or dismantled. I consider them sketches. Some of them I consider `a piece`. 

Zij die er altijd is (she who is always there) is a piece. Let me give you a little bit of context. As a young girl I was (still am) an admirer of the Belgian sculptor/painter Rik Wouters. The delicate power of this sculptures. How he portrayed his wife over and over. The intimacy he creates in his work. How I wanted to be in his work....especially in his `zotte geweld`, the lifting herself in one movement almost entirely off the ground, Isadora Duncan.

The work `zij die er altijd is` is inspired on one of Wouter`s sculptures called `huiselijke zorgen`, a piece that I rediscovered here in Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, unfortunately sadly tucked away in a staircase hall ;-(. The work came to life at the beginning of this year, in the midst of the terrorism turmoil in Europe and is an expression of the need to protect the ones I love against the craziness of the world. `. An ode to the silent homemaker,she who is there when you are not , waiting for you to come home, hoping you wil be safe at all times. .


she who is always there




YEs! by annabelle schatteman sculptor

My stuff is in See Lab. One month it took me to sort, make and move. Now that it is moved I will clearly need to sort and throw out once more. I want to start with a clean slate to make new work without too much visual ballast from previous work. I am very happy with the beautiful light and wind that come straight from oversea and bring new vibes and inspiration!  

Thanks to my carpenter husband I have a beautiful mezzanine to store my stuff and look at my work with a bird`s eye view. Time to fly now.


The perfect light for dreaming.

The perfect light for dreaming.

The mezzanine in spe.

The mezzanine in spe.

bye bye procession in Noordwal

bye bye procession in Noordwal

The young ones from See Lab helping the old ones move. 

The young ones from See Lab helping the old ones move. 

Time to sort and throw out

Time to sort and throw out

as close as I can get by annabelle schatteman sculptor

Below you find some pictures of the exhibited work and the vernissage.


Let me take you by the hand and give you a little guide text:

This series originated from a need for strong imagery, powerful representations of the female. The sculptures form a clan connected by patterns. The patters serve both as protection as well as a reminder of the questions: what is our blueprint, what is ours and what has been imposed on us? Can we change the patterns or did they become so much a part of ourselves that we can not do without them? If we manage to shake them off or deny them, what is left, if anything, of ourselves?

fotos by Mathieu Rynwalt and Hugo Azcuy Castillo

Mount Rushmore by annabelle schatteman sculptor

The world needs beautiful stories, and therefore I give you one today.

A couple of days ago, my brother  completely random, bumped into this picture on the internet.

It is my father`s name. Looking for the source of this picture, he found this

He sent it to me: look what I found. I suggested we set it right and tell them that we know the maker of the rock sculpture. He did not find that necessary. I did.  I want to find out, I want to honour, I want to communicate, I want to make stories.

I wrote the people of the site the following message:



Hier, mon frère, tout par hasard, a découvert votre website et aussi les
photos de la tête sculptée, fait par mon père Frans Schatteman, Belge
;-), fait, tout en efait, par amour pour les rochers et pour ma mère. Je
me souviens encore des vacances féeriques dans les rochers, inspirant
liberté et un esprit un peu bohémien. Merci de nous avoir transporté
vers un été fabuleux, par les photos. cordialement Annabelle Schatteman

they replied:


merci infiniment d'avoir écrit !!

Avant d'intégrer au mur cette sculpture, qui était posée un peu en retrait dans un coin de terrasse, je me suis renseigné auprès de la famille Richard. Nous leur avons acheté les grottes il y a 8 ans, et nous continuons à les voir très souvent.

Malgré la photo en lumière rasante j'avais du mal à déchiffrer la signature, mais de toute évidence, maintenant que vous me dites son nom, il s'agit bien de votre père. Je vais corriger le texte, et m'autorisez-vous à indiquer son nom, ou au moins son prénom ? Et cette tête est un portrait de votre mère ? C'est une information très émouvante.

J'espère que le nouveau logis de cette sculpture, en pleine vue, protégeant la pièce de Saint-Marc, surveillant le Loir et les champs au loin, lui est plus agréable que l'était le feuillage de la terrasse.

Si vous souhaitez partager ces souvenirs sur le site, à travers un commentaire ou un paragraphe que l'on pourrait y ajouter, ce serait merveilleux.

Bien entendu j'espère aussi que, si vous avez l'occasion de revenir visiter les lieux, vous n'hésiterez pas ; vous et votre famille êtes en tout cas très bienvenus !

merci encore pour votre message qui me remplit de joie ce matin


It made me equally happy! How beautiful this is... 30 years patiently waiting in the protective shadow of the trees to be rediscovered and put in the light by sculpture/rock/mystery loving people. 

Here is a screen shot of the ` petit mount Rushmore`:

 My father was an arts teacher and was too humbled by all the great art in the world to consider himself an artist, but he is , in heart and soul. It is so good to see that a sculpture is still valued and put in a beautify place, overlooking the valley. It makes me happy and proud and I continue my own path, be it less humbled and intimidated by great art than he is. I hope that is also ok. Anyways, it is what it is. I was only 13 when he made this and too busy with my own adventures to notice him making this. Still,  this is what I always do on holidays, I bring my hammer and chisel and I sculpt stones, I can not retain myself to do this, it is an urge. I now know where it comes from ;-). The nature/nurture question had me once again in its grip for the rest of the day, though.. 

Merci, gens du petit Mount Rushmore, pour cette belle histoire!

loveisfocus/focusislove by annabelle schatteman sculptor

In the last months I have been experimenting with porcelain, porcelain shields, porcelain protection. Porcelain is quite something: it is stubborn, it remembers, it is fragile, it is strong, it is always a surprise. I like that. It has personality.

Here are some photo`s of the experiments

James, how the hell are we going to get the porcelain out again.

James, how the hell are we going to get the porcelain out again.

caution,focus and balls darling. (Fired porcelain)

caution,focus and balls darling. (Fired porcelain)




leftoverlove/loveleftover by annabelle schatteman sculptor

My life will never be the same again, I have a puppy. This was maybe a stupid, sentimental decision, but nonetheless it was a decision and the result is that I am in love now. It was at first sight. This always means trouble. The trouble is that I worry (too late) never to be free again (but is this also not the wonderful torment of love). This little monster occupies a part of my heart in the same way as it occupies a part of my atelier, as it destroys the carefully, in my own way put together, order in both. It turns my world upside down and reveals so openly the structure I gave it. I look at the revealed structure and feel very unsecure: am I doing the right thing, have I done the right thing? Like a fresh mother, a fresh lover, a fresh artist, I wobble along with my little puppy. I rediscover the world I made for myself and try to make sense of it. I try to let go of my obsession to continue working on my new series and focus on the most urgent things. One of them being the exhibition at the end of the month. What will I show, what will i not show. what do I write about what I show, what do I not write about what I show. By now, I almost know what I will show.

I also know what I will not show. I had, however, fun playing with the idea of showing, but decided it is not yet good enough for the exhibition. No matter how `ungood` it is for the exhibition, the process might be interesting, though. It goes as follows:  I made 300 unfired masks for the performance (masked) last year, the dancer crushed about 100 smh of them, after the performance I collected the broken pieces, in the following weeks I gradually fired all the pieces, I kept the pieces, I kept the pieces, i kept the pieces forever, I think i cherish the pieces, I put them on the ground, I `broomed` a heart out of the pieces, I caressed the pieces, the afternoon light shone on the heart, my hand formed a shadow on the heart, I felt a fire growing, I decided to make a little movie out of the shadow and heart, I think it is not yet where it needs to be, but almost. Some things take a long time  before before they find their destination, before you can let go. Playing helps.



As close as I can get by annabelle schatteman sculptor

Working on an exhibition in Latem (Belgium) in a new gallery` Lanneau art gallery`. Latem is my hometown. It`s an ambiguous feeling to exhibit there, it makes me fragile and strong, open and closed . It`s where you come from, it had a hand in forming who you are, like it or not; always there as a mirror for your current self, a mnemonic for your erased stories. No matter how hard one tries to deroot,( deroute, reroute), there is always leftover seeds that shoot root at moments least expected. There is always leftover love to feed the leftover seeds hidden deep inside the earth. 

Leftover love for an old story that I want to include in the exhibition, made me rethink the presentation of the story: from text to voice.

written by me, read by Manon Falces, for you.

still life in still live by annabelle schatteman sculptor

She comes home after a day of working,slightly irritated. Now her second life begins, the housework, the children. They have been home all day, the kitchen is a mess. It looks like a carnage. She sits down at the table, overlooks the scene, when suddenly there is an unexpected ancient feeling of beauty that catches her eye; on the counter there is an accidental heap of towels that looks like a flemish still life. She captures the moment and feels happy that there is hope in the heap. She holds onto the beauty of the still life for another 10 seconds, closes her eyes, takes a deep breath and screams: ``Can someone please clean up this mess or I do not even bother beginning to make dinner``.