At certain moments, there is a need for structure, a red thread, or an overview of your work. What was it, again, where you started from? Why, all those years, have you been occupied with form, light and dark and especially stone? Is it wonder? Does a work originate from marvel over the beauty of things, or rather from the inability, the imperfection and fragmentation inherent to life?
I think the answer to these questions is that the artist does not have to claim anything. The artist shows: therein lies his strength. He shows a reality that does not ‘exist’, but has a validity and truth of its own. Sculpture is my way of dealing with reality. My first works were anecdotal, like the series De Grote Reis (“The Big Journey”), with boats and ruins; later I become fascinated with energy and vitality, as can be seen in seeds and flowers.
Fritz Wotruba’s statement “Every form as an inner force” became my anchor. The flower shapes changed into crowns, stacks and families. More and more, I surrender to form and material. Combinations arise out of stone and steel, stone and wood and stone and glass.
Nature makes me wonder about the ways trees and flowers grow. Many plants grow in spirals. Sunflowers, for example, make a 360 degree turn every day, their heads always directed towards the sun. The spiral as a metaphor for growth.
How does a work come about?, I am often asked. At first, there is only a vague idea, based on a poem (a landscape after Rilke, for example), a photograph or a piece of music. Then I start collecting information, drawing, modelling clay, plaster, wax, until I reach a point of saturation. Then a kind of ‘twilight’ dawns: I bathe in uncertainty, do not want to see or hear anything new, until suddenly, some creative insight befalls me. This might be the mystical side to the artistic profession and is difficult to explain. It is largely an [intuitive] process. Thoughts need a while to mature, plans have to be adapted or completely revised. At some point I grow impatient (laying an egg, as they say), so that the project has to get going. It has to be realized.
The one cannot emerge without the other. Whether it is a small sketch, a painting, drawing or sculpture, everything is of equal value. Therefore, on this website I have chosen to give much space to the processual side of my work and not stick to chronological order. The emphasis lies on various themes and how they develop into each other.
Cissy van der Wel