Paris je t`aime by annabelle schatteman sculptor

Just back from Paris where I got the good news that my work will be exhibited in the gallery `Mark Hachem` on  28 Place des Vosges as from December 2015. I am very happy and exited. The place is beautiful and the contact with the gallery is warm and welcoming. It is a trial period to see what my work will do in the city of Rodin and all the other artists that I so love. I have faith and hope for the best!


pyjama dreams and more by annabelle schatteman sculptor

Art fair quickly one moves on to the next chapter. Too quickly maybe. Of course nothing goes ever unreflected, so if I look back I can say that it was overall a very good time and good opportunity to expand ones horizon. `

`The art is not present` in neon and a poetic video that showed a hint of our working process, was all there was present. Not present was our art. Strange feeling for people who mainly work with tangible matter. In the begining standing there in that stand, I felt like in that old recurrent dream that I was on the bus to school and suddenly realised that I was still wearing my pyjama. I was in the wrong spot with the wrong clothes on, I was in an art fair without my art, naked. What is there to show? What is there to say? Help! Seek shelter, hide!

Enfin, in the end, it was not all that scary . I quickly adapted there in my pyjama ;-) and people were easily attracted to the concept of  the art that was not present, a moment of rest for the oversaturated eyes and mind.

But....what is the use of making art if `the art is not present` has been so well received?  What is the use of exhibiting anyways, If people have the impression to know your art through all pictures that are posted of it. But if you don`t post, If you are not virtually existent, one risks of missing every boat. It is a fine line. I don`t like fine lines. 

Yesterday I called a friend of mine that I did not hear for a long time. I told her `hey, have not seen you in a long time`. She said `funny that you think that way, I have the impression that I have seen you a lot, that I was with you` I know what you have been doing, how Finland was, etc.... Shit, we thought, funny how our brain plays these games with us. It makes us think that we actually experienced something, when we did not. I guess it is the same with art on the internet. We think we have seen it, that we know it, some might even think they own it. Maybe I should stop it....but risks invisibility, oblivion. And is that not just one of our (my) biggest fears? But then again (and I now get the feeling my theory is going in circles) what is the real value of memories/objects/events if they were not real???

Here I stop....and go clean my studio.


art fair Suomi 2015 by annabelle schatteman sculptor

Finish holiday, finish dolce far niente, finish dreaming........welcome Finish dream ! Because we (me and 3 of my NW117 colleagues) are going to Finland, Helsinki! And looking forward to that.It is quite cool that NW117 gallery has been selected for the fair. A few months ago we applied with the concept `the art is not present` and we got selected.  But first...hard work to prepare our expo there. And we leave the 15th, so better start preparing full speed. The title of our expo is `the art is not present`. It will be performance style expo. So no work will be visible, but we will give the audience a unique look into our process. So focus on proces and not on end product. Because process and all its ups and downs, ins and outs, is what binds us. We are now working on how to find our way of giving the audience the essence of that. Focus is on experience, going out of your comfort zone and finding essence. 

ART FAIR SUOMI ’15 is an international art fair that will take place from 18 to 20 September at the Cable Factory in Helsinki. It is co-organised by Artists’ Association MUU and the Photographic Artists’ Association.   -

See more at:


Chris and Lili trying to get our neon art working 

Chris and Lili trying to get our neon art working works ( in Helsinki it will be straighter ;-)  fotos by Anke van den Berg works ( in Helsinki it will be straighter ;-)

fotos by Anke van den Berg

Double Faced by annabelle schatteman sculptor

foto`s  Anke van den Berg

Saturday was the opening of the expo Double Faced in Roermond.  Double Faced is an expo initiated by Justine Le Clerq that shows a cooperation between visual artists and writers. 
sculptor Annabelle Schatteman,
writer Renate Dorrenstein,
writer Karin Giphart,
installation artist Efrat Zehavi, 
photographer Pepeyn Langedijk, 
painter Tamar Muller,
painter Suzan van Soest,
visual artist Aat Verhoog.

I am very happy to see how well the sculptures work with the space. 




making and breaking by annabelle schatteman sculptor

is there a cosmic balance, demanding to be kept at all times? Is there a right for every wrong? A stupidity for every brilliance? A broken sculpture for every newly made one?

Motherartist/artistmother has been crushed. My colleage who overweighed the wall that shattered the piece is very sorry. I am very sorry too....

scream, collect the pieces, trashcan or memorial spot in atelier,think, fuck...fuck...fuck.

Just clay, plaster, wood, that`s all there is to it now. The form is out, the soul is out. It is through the form and the form alone that there is expression. Is the form the soul? I guess so.

in memoriam

in memoriam

"If motherartist/artistmother is dead"dear cosmic law, "what will happen to the real one now?"

making new ones taking into account the history of what was. 

Looking into books and books of history of sculpture. Currently stuck in the gothic period and finding that a hard nut to crack. hard but somehow tasty. I miss the life that (mono)theism sucked out of the pieces in those times. Life that was so omnipresent in the previous periods, where sculptures dealt with more than mary and child, popes, saints and kings with queen. Still it intrigues me, because for everything that is visible there is an invisible. What was the invisible in those times, the secrets that crackeled the facades? The invisible is the imagined, the `what you make of it`, the field of creation. This field invites me continue along the path I am taking. 

Armour, women, battle, vulnerability, strength, for ever, for never, for now:these are the keywords that guide my way. Giving form to sculptures lived and sculptures imagined. 

atelier view

atelier view

beyond my refusal by annabelle schatteman sculptor

It is calm in and around the studio and I can work well. The alarming news that we had to leave the building is less threatening than it seemed at first and the wild speculation and heated discussions slowly faded away . So there is time and space to work, think and .....write a bit about the latest developments of my work.

But before I say anything about what I am working on now, I feel the need to stand still and give the last finished piece the attention it deserves. The title is `beyond my refusal`and it is the second in my bronze series of women in armour .Here is a little story about how this one came to be.

Some years ago, while visiting the Uffizi in Firenze, I was struck by a Botticelli painting of the annunciation. This painting captured my attention much longer than the average `annunciation` painting, mainly because of the hesitant pose of Mary when called upon by the angel to be the chosen as the mother of Christ. As a spectator I can not go around the feeling that, in this particular painting, Botticelli willingly or unwillingly succeeded in giving her a delicate somewhat extra, an extra dimension that I, up until now, did not see in any other renaissance painting of this theme. It feels like Mary tries to evade, refuse, this heavy burden, wrapped up as a blessing, imposed upon her by the angel. As a young girl, raised at home and in school to be a faithful catholic, the dubious story of the annunciation and the imposed submissive position of Mary (and many other saints) always filled me with horror. Horror, maybe even panic, because of the realisation that it takes so much courage and strength to refuse a power, a force stronger than yourself. In that whole story they never gave her the option to refuse! So somehow the position of Mary in this painting, where( in my perception), she tries to (in her renaissance, well mannered way of course) ~kindly thank the angel, but says` no thank you` and then actually wants to run away, stayed in the back of my head for a long time...until I was working on my new `sculptures in armour` and right before I was going home, I had a sudden urge to build up this pose, just to see.....

What was Just to see became a couple of hours later,and there she was.....just as I pictured her for all these years, `kindly but decisively refusing. Only.....what lies beyond the refusal, one never knows. That is the risk one takes....


beyond my refusal

in between by annabelle schatteman sculptor

In between the hesitant early spring sun and the ruthless late winter blaze, in between construction and destruction, somewhere in between these restless waves, lies my field of action.  If there is no flow, don`t move, a wise buddhist would say. But a sceptic westerner as myself would say it is just my lazy but that needs some kicking and that the flow can be sought after, because time is ticking mercilessly forward and moving is what needs to be done...soon. one is wrong if one thinks like that, I guess. But one does not always have the option and since I am running out of teabags to consult, I will have to use my common sense. Because moving is what needs to be done...soon. We have the municipality breathing down our neck to leave the building where we (Noordwal117) have our atelier complex. Never a light and pleasant prospect for a sculptor.Nevertheless, thanks to and because of lack of concrete measures and planning from the municipalities side, we continue our activities the best we can.

This said, I organised a small exhibition around V-day (women and intimacy). Here is a picture of the work I created for this theme. I enjoyed this short but welcome kairos moment.


beyond my daydream 2015 ((80x100x30) unfired clay, oil, acrylic paint

But meanwhile in between and at the same time, an experienced mover as myself is starting to clean, arrange and pack up the studio as from the first signs of uncertainty. Better not to cling onto, better to say goodbye quick and easy, better be prepared, always.....

Cleaning out, making pictures of old work in new context, before I throw away or wrap up in boxes. One snapshot to prove that it once existed.

And last but not least my in between visits to the foundry to assist with the wax models and to follow up the bronze making process. Always good fun with the guys there! Here some pictures of the dusty business of the sand/cement mould making process.

teabag wisdom by annabelle schatteman sculptor

In order not go get stuck in the `beyond` series and to let it flow wherever it needs to go, I have to take the wise words of my monday morning teabag seriously.

teabag wisdom

or not.....and go to the core. 

Not quite sure yet which one of the two options I am currently taking. All I do know is that I am continuing with everything in my atelier that needs continuing. Vague, I know...

Anyways, in between the jingle bells, I heard a bell ringing that urged me to bring `beyond my refusal` to the foundry and do another bronze. And so I did. And so I think it is the right decision. And so, as I am writing, the wax model is already finished .Yesterday I went there to make the last corrections and Thursday the sand model can enter the oven. Very exciting once more.

`beyond my refusal` wax model in foundry

Meanwhile in the atelier 

I am systematically firing all the leftover masks I made for the performance and use them as building material for new sculptures based on the `from within` foetal position.It is like playing with porcelain lego. To go as far as the material allows you to go and try to go beyond.

Until it falls...and...breaks. And try again...

To finally let it go in order not to lose it ;-) and divert my attention to one of the leftover `beyond` sculptures that needs some remastering here and there until it reaches some final stage or that stage that we call `letting go`.

So I guess i am after all going for the `letting go` option. Glad to have discovered that while writing! What a teabag, when taken seriously, can lead to ;-)......


few words/many works by annabelle schatteman sculptor


I am quite busy, not much space left for words . Still, I like words too..I miss them but I do not find them. We can not always have what we want, but we can create.

This said:


beyond series in atelier

Too much going on in the studio. Too little time to decide what to do because the clay will dry up and I need to figure out if I will fire or cast them. I need to listen closely to what the sculpture needs, I need silence for that and not jingle bells, so better wait till after Christmas.



+ Working on a new website. This consumes all my computer patience credits ;-)


Bronze by annabelle schatteman sculptor


It`s been quite a while since my last post. There have been some attempts at writing, but I could not really bring myself to it, I think I had not much to say. In hindsight I can now say that I was experiencing a rough period of doubt and all it`s nasty side effects. In such case, detachment and distance from the outside world are necessary to come to the core of what drives me. And what drives me?

Hard to express in words…

But let me say that a making process can give me a deep feeling of satisfaction. I rediscovered this love while being involved in the making of my first bronzes. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was always reluctant to have something made in bronze because in my perception it is too permanent and conservative. But as it is with everything, it takes an experience to change ones perception. The earthly power and the craftsmanship of the whole process makes my heart beat faster. I followed every step these skilled craftsmen made and by watching their passion for the material and the focus in their work, something in myself was opening up and  I rediscovered also the basic need to touch the material and to work together with the material to create.

Enfin, yesterday I picked up the result of the transformation from clay to bronze and I was so impressed. There it stood! Was it my sculpture?  Something had happened without my intervention…..chemistry…

Does that mean there will be only bronze from now on? No, definitely not because I am a believer in the fact that the work you are creating has its own laws and that we have to listen to what it needs. So, yes I made a few new works that definitely demand also bronze because they evolved from this one, but let me see what the future brings and take it day by day.

Here some pics of the day of bronze casting and the !Tataa… sculpture!

very hot! at kunstgieterij De Clerq-Ginsberg 

very hot! at kunstgieterij De Clerq-Ginsberg 

poring the liquid bronze into the mould. Critical moment...

poring the liquid bronze into the mould. Critical moment...

One week later.

One week later.

anewroadofsafety/safetyofanewroad by annabelle schatteman sculptor

Time for another update. The performance is done, good. It was about time. It has been a long and strenuous business. I believe it was a good performance, I heard so at least. There was tension and this is a good thing in this case. But if anything, I found out that I am above all a sculptor and a story teller. Performing, or the world of performancing in the larger sense, does not make me happy. I went out of my comfort zone and that is a good thing, but now it is time to go back. Retreat into my safety zone, where it all starts and ends, where there is an endless source of power and fire to keep me warm.

from heat

to fire

to bronze

In between the rehearsals I had some time to play in the studio and to let myself go, only hands no head. This is when wonderful things happen. And they did.

One day I experimented and I liked and when the experiment was finished I looked and I liked. And the experiment asked me: `can I be a bronze?` me: `No, I don`t do bronze, I don`t believe in bronze and definitely not for experiments`  So went home and I slept (or not) and went back to the studio and asked ` why?`. It: `because I need it` me: `but if I do bronze I will abandon white in my work` it: `I don`t need white, I need bronze`. And I looked and looked and thought and thought. And thought again, while the decision had already been taken. I could have skipped all the thinking, really.

So the same day I packed up this one and another one and the next day drove to the foundry in Belgium. The other piece being a surprise for a very dear person who deserves nothing less than bronze. So I can not say more about that one for the sake of the surprise.

Of course an experiment is never just an experiment, it is mostly an expression of something that has kept you busy for a long time already and been dying to come out. In this way, this new work is the successor of many other experiments.In fact the longer I work the more I am confident that all my work  is organically connected, it steadily turns in circles around some key points but at the same time there is a clear forward direction.

This weekend is open ateliers in Den Haag centre and then………….a long period of nothing, how I look forward to that!


my peek box for open atelier 2014

my peek box for open atelier 2014

St-Pierre by annabelle schatteman sculptor

Last week of rehearsals…hardcore. Next week Mau is off to Florence to prepare the production with the company he is in. Next time we meet is the day of the performance. Hardcore indeed.

Creating is one thing, performing is quite another. It requires a state of mind that is quite different from any other. Every movement one makes on stage is of importance, so the only way not to let it look cramped is to actually get into that special state of mind place and `perform` what you normally `just do`.So it happens that while I am in that state I started looking at my tools from a different state of mind, and suddenly they bring stories, which lead to memories, to not forgetting, because if there is one thing that can interrupt that cruel loop of life and death it is stories, telling stories to remember.

I would like to tell you something about the special tool I use for making the print on the mask.

This tool once belonged to my grandfather. He had it made especially out of bronze and had `St-Pierre` engraved in it. Why St-Pierre? because Pierre was his name and  St is what he aimed for.He used the tool to make his butter cookies, style petit beurre. As a child I watched him while he skilfully placed the dough under the heavy machine and the machine, holding the mould, squeezed the dough in between the board and the mould. When the dough reappeared it had been transformed from anonymous, bleak dough into printed treasures. I found that magical, that transformation. In my now adult child`s experience I watched this process for hours, it was monotonous and made time stand still. After both my grandparents had passed away and we were cleaning out the house, throwing away all the useless things, I saved the tool from in between the useless and forgotten things to be thrown away. I had no idea what to use it for, I only knew that it was going to use it one day. A couple of years ago, I experimentally started to use the tool to make prints on clay and other materials, and in doing so a whole process of thoughts unrolled itself under my mind`s eye. What is our raw material, what is ours and what is printed on us, can we change the print or is it so engraved in our raw material that we can not undo it, and if we undo it what is left of us, if anything? I placed the printed clay on my face to feel what it meant to be all print and not able to breathe through the thick layer of clay. I could not stand it, and freed my mouth after a few seconds already. While the clay was on my face another string of thoughts found it`s way to my mind,this time it was about masks and their functions, traditions and meanings.

And so I started reading books about masks and so Anna and me we came to the idea of the performance and so it happens that I am back where I started, to create and to perform…quite a different thing.

When people ask me why I am doing all these different things instead of just making sculptures and becoming steady in that, the only thing I feel is fire, fire like life, like being in love, like not knowing, like surprise…like not being labelled, like freedom.x

the blueprint tool

the blueprint tool

masked project by annabelle schatteman sculptor

Start of the third week of preparations now. Time flies, ideas are getting more and more concrete and kilos and kilos of clay are being transformed into numbers and numbers of masks. 200 so far, 200…starts to count.

Anna, tirelessly accepted all the masks that I put on her face, inhaling, holding breath, and then…oxygen….0, 25 seconds. Next one…

masks are being produced, a conveyor belt feeling, automatism, unconscious making and accepting of masks, numbers turn into names, names turns into music: this is more or less how the piece comes together, the concept calls for action and the action brings about associations that are then again used to fine tune the concept.

From this week onwards Maurizio is back and will fill in his part of the performance, I guess it will be an interesting couple of weeks now. Music, form and movement will have to find a way of communicating something together. Let`s see.

a lot of masks already, many more to make.

a lot of masks already, many more to make.

Lissewege by annabelle schatteman sculptor

En route  to sculpture route in Lissewege with Noordwal 117

Beeldentuin in Lissewege is a beautiful garden and a beautiful initiative that connects people with disabilities and people without (is this even possible?…)

From mid July to mid September the sculpture graden is part of the sculpture route in Lissewege.

lounging with the brides (Lissewege 2014)

lounging with the brides (Lissewege 2014)

guiding a blind woman over the skin of the bride to let her feel the form and the texture

guiding a blind woman over the skin of the bride to let her feel the form and the texture

Spielerei by annabelle schatteman sculptor

For months and months,whenever I feel like it, I am making these ceramic masks, feeling very enthousiastic about making them, filming the process, excited about the glazing, and then…shortcut….every time over and over. Like an old car, start…putputput….stop….start…putputput….stop.

Ok, now I stop, finish, gedaan, no more, they have no purpose. Just waste of time, Spielerei


Spielerei…that is just what it is, nothing more, nothing less. Spielerei, why not?

And so I did:  play

And so do crazy ideas come to life and so does the puzzle get solved. Piece by piece. Today I found a small piece, small but essential.

I met with my composer friend because the piece involves our performance together and all she said was: `it resonates`. If I translate that to my language it means `good, I like it`. If the dancer now says that it `swings`, we start to have the visual aspect of the performance covered.

Once again today I discovered that in everything you start out of necessity there is truth and in truth there is beauty, it only takes a hell of a long time to see it and to give it the right of existence it deserves.

I tend to forget that.

mask in oven with gold glazing that looks like chocolate

mask in oven with gold glazing that looks like chocolate

travelling circus by annabelle schatteman sculptor

This week I traded the studio for a traveling circus.

day 1: Den haag – Texel – Den Haag

to check how `paradise of surrender` is doing on  the islands.

Travelling to the islands, from south to north Holland,  through the never changing flatness of Holland, never quits to be monotonous, yet interesting, experience (so boring that you start wondering why it is so boring, so the wondering becomes more important than the boring and in the end it is not boring any more, or something like that). Maybe the key to `surrender`? Then, waiting for the ferryboat, an evenly contradictory experience of waiting and not liking that aspect, while at the same time going so deep into the waiting that there is kind of relief of just having nothing else on your mind than waiting and loving that boat when it is finally there.

The islands… always a pleasure to be there. Islands seem to have their own rules, their own codes, it`s like not being in a specific country but on a free space, surrounded by water. The atmosphere is peaceful and relaxed and the houses are mini, as if being surrounded by sea is a natural compressor .  Or maybe it is just the way I want to see it because it corresponds to the universal idea of an island, I don`t know.

Anyways, `paradise of surrender` holds on very well and is met with a lot of appreciation and visitors who come back especially for this work. This is good to hear. Upon arriving there, I was alone in the room, alone with the work. For me this is when the magic happens, wave by wave, over and over again.

I hope that, one day, you can experience it too.

waiting for the ferry

waiting for the ferry

Day 2-3: Den Haag – Gent – Brugge – Den Haag

Picking (if that is the right word for a pieces of 120kg? ) up `the brides` in Gent and transporting them and `high heels` to Bruges (Lissewege), where they will be exhibited during the summer months in the sculpture garden`t Vaartje, together with work form the other sculptors from Noorwal117. It would be nice if I could sell some pieces there, important to fund some of the other ideas that I have. I`d better start wanting it so much that it actually happens..

the downside of freedom? by annabelle schatteman sculptor

Swimming in the sea of infinite possibilities and drowning. This is how I felt when I entered my studio this morning (and many other mornings). Just when you discovered an island to land on, you discover that actually the sea it is full of islands that might be more promising than the one you are finally standing on. So you jump back in the water, start to swim and cannot choose any of them because you simply cannot choose, which one is best worth going to?? This is the moment you drown,  alias undeciciveness.

So what do you do? You drink coffee, you clean up, you drink coffee, you start touching this material, you drink coffee, you touch that material, you drink coffee and then…you are nervous and in a bad mood.

So,before your mood becomes epidemic, you quarantine yourself in your studio and start writing this text, to try and get a grip on what you are doing.


And what is it that I am doing?


Listening to the work that shouts the loudest:

xxx in progress

xxx in progress


This winter I started working around the idea of letters, the patience and love required to write a handwritten letter ( anachronism in fb, mail and quick communication times) and what they mean to the receivers and the writers. The focus it takes to write them, the pleasure to receive them, the smell of the paper, the sound of the paper, the treasuring of every word, read and reread and reread, the box in which you keep them, the stamps that talk about times long gone but not forgotten. The handwritten proof of having existed….

The result so far is the result of a long process of choosing different materials (transparent paper, gold wire, gold paper, old letters on transparen paper), sowing them together manually, making moulds,  and finding the right way to install it. It is not yet there completely, but almost. Also I start thinking about options as where to exhibit it once it is ready. I have some spaces in mind. Maybe it can start in one place and grow to another place, in this way the work keeps evolving, I like that. Let`s see. I like that too. x

paradise of surrender by annabelle schatteman sculptor

This weekend was the opening of the `paradise of surrender` in Texel. During the month of June, Den Hoorn, a picturesque little village in Texel, hosts a range of art manifestations. `paradise of surrender` is part of the visual arts route, that is a bit based on the `Chambre d`amis` idea that once originated in Ghent. It took hours to set up the installation because of the darkening of the room, but the result is satisfying and from what I heard so far, `paradise of surrender` is well received by the audience.

Still….something was missing, something that is inextricably connected with `paradise of surrender` and makes the installation complete: `the story of the beach and the ocean`, a story that I wrote a 5 years ago, after making a sand sculpture on the beach. The story was a turning point in my life and the source of `paradise of surrender`.

So yesterday I went back to Texel and made the installation complete, and it is.

paradise of surrender installation in Klifhanger 2014 

paradise of surrender installation in Klifhanger 2014