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Fenna Schilling

A career in the arts wasn’t always in the books for Amsterdam-based collage artist Fenna Schilling. Having enrolled in the bachelor’s degree Philosophy, she temporarily put her collage work – something she had been doing on the side for many years – on the back burner.
After graduation, however, she realised that she felt a bit disillusioned, not knowing what to do with the abstract world she had been studying. Making collages was a much more tangible practice, so she applied to the Sandberg Institute art master’s and started to create works again, not only for herself, but also for friends in the music scene surrounding her. Today, her collage work has become her focal medium. By taking out images out of her monumental and ever-growing collection of old photo books, which she sources in thrift stores and on the streets, and then scanning them in, her work has become somewhat of a hybrid between analogue and digital forms of the medium. Through playing around with different textures and morphing familiar objects into abstract, manipulated shapes, her collages have assumed an otherworldly, dream-like quality.

Here she reflects on her unique practice, what parallels can be drawn between creating collages and composing music sets, and how she wishes to expand her autonomous work.

Q
One of the first things that come to mind when seeing your work is Surrealist painters like Salvador Dalí. Is that an art movement that resonates with you?

A
It is definitely a reference I’ve heard before and I do feel inspired by Surrealism. Just like the movement, I like to create worlds and constellations that feel very familiar, but upon closer look, have something uncanny about them. I would describe my work as a form of painting, but instead of paint I use material that is readily available – paper, in this case.
By tweaking perception, shapes, colours, textures and proportions, I like to explore our human connection to objects, and to draw attention to the beauty of the mundane. What I hope to evoke in a spectator is that they feel inspired to observe and contemplate the world around them. A bit like a psychedelic trip in which you hyperfocus on the details around you.

Q
You source your cut-outs mainly from secondhand books. What sparks your interest when you are on one of your treasure hunts?

A
A big source of inspiration are the encyclopedia-esque photo books from the 60s and 70s. Mind you: this was in the pre-internet era, in which you would have to browse books if you were looking for images. It is a bit sad because we see how these books have now become obsolete – their role has shifted. Nowadays a lot more attention goes out to the design of books, they are like a piece of art in their own right. But I love leafing through books from bygone decades that have less of a designer ‘stamp’ on them. To a degree, my collages are a way of preserving the beauty of catalogues.
I would therefore say that my work is more about the process than the result. Scavenging for secondhand books, feeling the richness of texture of the pages, assembling the cut-outs, that is ultimately what gives me the most joy.

Q
You have been part of the music scene for quite some time – both as a DJ, and as a designer for record sleeves and festival posters. What draws you to this scene?

A
I see strong parallels with my work in DJing: in both instances you assemble a new work of already existing material. Whilst there is no time dimension to my collages, I do approach in the same way I do with a DJ set; there is a build-up, there are layers and it is a balancing act in terms of the atmosphere I wish to evoke. Some elements are just there in service of other elements you wish to highlight, just like in a music set. In my collages for example, I like to play with images I lift from nature books, or snippets from famous paintings and sculptures, and then juxtapose them with more abstract shapes. Both my works and my sets are soothing, but have a darker, twisted undertone.

Q
The ways you can apply your work seem to be endless – the capsule collection you designed for Barcelona-based indie brand Paloma Wool is just an example. What else is in store for you?

A
I was lucky that straight after graduation I was commissioned by my friends in the music scene – fashion followed after. Recently, however, I have been really excited about the idea of people integrating my works of art in their home – something which Homecoming Gallery will facilitate. There is a certain warmth to the work of the photographers they select that really resonates with me, so I am really looking forward to this collaboration. With their support I am able to elevate my work to the realm of art.

txt: Rolien Zonneveld

homecominggallery

BIO

b. 1990, NL
Lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Expo's

2022 Scope Miami - US - Homecoming Gallery
2022 Unseen - NL - Homecoming Gallery
2022 Through the Looking Glass - JPN - Laidbug gallery
2021 Outdoor show - StandardVision - LA
2021 capsule collection - Paloma Wool - ES
2019 Graduation Sandberg Institute - NL

Fenna

Waterflow
Giclée on Hahnemuhle paperSuggested framing: alu silver frame, w/ border Fenna Schilling’s (NL) distinct graphic compositions of objects, nature, and landscapes highlight the beauty of the everyday. Through manually cut and digitally reworked collages, elements are stripped from their original...
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Traces
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Traces
Giclée on Hahnemuhle paperSuggested framing: alu silver frame, w/ border Fenna Schilling’s (NL) distinct graphic compositions of objects, nature, and landscapes highlight the beauty of the everyday. Through manually cut and digitally reworked collages, elements are stripped from their original...
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Spirits Calling
Giclée on Hahnemuhle paperSuggested framing: alu silver frame, w/ border Fenna Schilling’s (NL) distinct graphic compositions of objects, nature, and landscapes highlight the beauty of the everyday. Through manually cut and digitally reworked collages, elements are stripped from their original...
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Puzzle Wood
Giclée on Hahnemuhle paperSuggested framing: alu silver frame, w/ border Fenna Schilling’s (NL) distinct graphic compositions of objects, nature, and landscapes highlight the beauty of the everyday. Through manually cut and digitally reworked collages, elements are stripped from their original...
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Pearl
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Pearl
Giclée on Hahnemuhle paperSuggested framing: alu silver frame, w/ border Fenna Schilling’s (NL) distinct graphic compositions of objects, nature, and landscapes highlight the beauty of the everyday. Through manually cut and digitally reworked collages, elements are stripped from their original...
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Dream Clock
Giclée on Hahnemuhle paperSuggested framing: alu silver frame, w/ border Fenna Schilling’s (NL) distinct graphic compositions of objects, nature, and landscapes highlight the beauty of the everyday. Through manually cut and digitally reworked collages, elements are stripped from their original...
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Dove
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Dove
Giclée on Hahnemuhle paperSuggested framing: alu silver frame, w/ border Fenna Schilling’s (NL) distinct graphic compositions of objects, nature, and landscapes highlight the beauty of the everyday. Through manually cut and digitally reworked collages, elements are stripped from their original...
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Desire Path
Giclée on Hahnemuhle paperSuggested framing: alu silver frame, full bleed Fenna Schilling’s (NL) distinct graphic compositions of objects, nature, and landscapes highlight the beauty of the everyday. Through manually cut and digitally reworked collages, elements are stripped from their original context...
from €790,00
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