Annabelle Schatteman – Cycles, Processes, Rituals

In the chapter Absurd Creation (Myth of Sysyphus, 1942) Albert Camus wrote: If the world were clear, art would not exist.

Regarding this, we should not be frustrated by the temporality of our lives, since this is what makes us and our human identity is drawn from the source of our mortal soul... Still, we remain frustrated. And so does Annabelle Schatteman, who as a true sculptor, finds the inspiration precisely in this paradox, marked on two sides by the ''violent act of birth and death.'' For this artist everything in between is a narrative, the moulded story of life, the way she perceives human existence in this world. Schatteman's main protagonist is figurative (feminine) sculpture, made out of materials like clay, PUR foam, plaster, porcelain, bronze, paper, papier maché..., sometimes partly constructed out of ready made elements, and in rare cases sculpture is counterpointed with other media such as performance or video installation. Her work is not openly conceptual since the process is not presented, but still, it is created through research – by reading anthropology, psychology, fairy tales..., and even writing a blog about the making of it. Schatteman's approach is very much science-fiction like, we can even name certain series of works ''(feministic) sculptural science fiction'', and it is important to emphasize that different ''episodes'' are sometimes interconnected, as a sort of ''saga.''
Not only on the storytelling level is Schatteman interested in processes or cycles, but also on the level of repeating patterns throughout her oeuvre. The pattern is what we inherit, and what has been imposed on us by our genetics, birth and by the society we live in. Thinking of the connection of all three, the artist took her grandfather's bronze tool which he used to make butter cookies, like petit beurre, and used it in several projects in order to make the print of the mask or representation of a mask.
Being permanently impressed by ''the continuation of life'' Schatteman in her own way tries to challenge the force of time, to keep, to repeat and to maintain life, to become, for a moment, ''the mother nature herself.''
Is this the point where the circle closes? Since we still do not have the power to bring sculptures or images into life, the only thing we can do is to maintain the repetitivness and cycles, to continue creating by always starting from scratch. 
Camus concludes The Myth of Sysyphus with the following sentences: Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy. Or Schatteman.

Neva Lukić

Annabelle Schatteman (Gent, Belgium)

Works and lives in Den Haag

Studio: See Lab