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#30 Slowing Down

Speaking: Noortje Haegens

Noortje Haegens. photo Jasper Groen

Usually artists have to go to great lengths to be discovered by a gallery owner. Noortje Haegens (1985) had not. Early in her career she was approached by Petra Cardinaal from Galerie Pennings. A man who, like Petra, was a member of the Rotary, had seen the work of Noortje Haegens and suggested Petra to have a look at it. After seeing the website of Noortje, Petra invited her to come to the gallery to show her work and tell what motivates her. In addition, an assignment for the Rotary member arose from this.

Noortje Haegens, assignment

A little later, from mid-December 2013 to mid-February 2014, Noortje was invited for a working period in the studio of Kloosterhotel ZIN in Vught, with the fathers. Contact person for the residency was Wim Verschuren, one of the fathers.

“This residency has meant a lot to me. Three months living with the fathers. I completely immersed myself into the monastic life and also participated in meditations. That added a new dimension to my work. Meeting, making real contact, was the main thing. For the father that is mercy, for me it is also the encounter with nature.”

Noortje Haegens often goes for a walk in nature. She is not so much concerned with the action, but with the function of walking. In our restless time when life is rushed, moving on foot is a countermovement.

“While walking, I experience a slowing down in my perception, returning to the power of silence. The perception of the landscape is essential in my work. I use the medium of film that gives me the opportunity to play with reality. Doing so I try to make it a translation of my personal experience. To experience the poetry of nature and landscape as concretely as possible, you need peace, silence and attention ”.

Noortje Haegens, 'Heen en Weer' (2014)

Petra Cardinaal and colleague Irma van Bommel visited the presentation of Noortje in ZIN and were impressed, especially by the video installation Heen en Weer (back and forth). The video was shot above a natural pool in the Moerputten near Vught. We can see Noortje on a swing, but we don't see where the swing is hanging from. Noortje reveals the mystery: the swing hung on an old railway line across the water, no longer in use. The special feature of this video is the calming effect, the meditative character. A loop has been made of the film, so that the rocking movement continues forever, like a een perpetuum mobile. In her work Noortje often chooses herself as a model, because she wants to show her own experience of nature.

Petra and Irma were so enthusiastic that Noortje was offered a solo exhibition at Galerie Pennings. The exhibition could be realized immediately after ZIN, because there was a gap in the planning. This actually never happens. The video ‘Heen en Weer’ was projected on a screen in the middle of the room, so that it was visible on both sides. Music, a monotonous sound in a fixed cadence (composed by Noortje herself) was an essential part of the installation. Image and sound together created an atmosphere of Zen. Visitors sometimes set down for an hour, to leave the building completely relaxed. In addition to various videos (in a loop), there were also photos to be seen.

The video work 'Heen en Weer' had a relaxing effect on the visitors. Solo exhibition at Galerie Pennings 2014. photo Noortje Haegens


From 2014 to 2016, together with three other gallery owners in Brabant, Petra was involved in the talent hub process jump!, an initiative of bkkc. Noortje was asked by Petra to participate in this project. (see blog 19).

“It was a group happening, it was new. But it also meant to investigate. What do we need as creators? Sparring with a group, organizing exhibitions together. And focus on it intensively, so that you can really jump.”

Exhibitions of jump! in the Van Abbemuseum (photos Marcel de Buck) and at Art The Hague (photo Noortje Haegens), 2016

What did it bring her?

“I made progress technically. For the presentation of my video art I started using a ‘plug in and play’ system. The photographic series ‘observation in glass globe’ also originated in that period. A spatial form in my photographic images. When you walk past the works, the lens effect of the convex glass creates a movement in the image. In terms of content I have also made progress. The artist in residence OBRAS, in Portugal, has played a major role in this. and I have learned a lot in the field of entrepreneurship.”

She is still in contact with some of the creators. “It is nice to see how everyone has gone through a development. That's because of jump! The collaboration between the different gallery owners and the participation in art fairs was special.”

At Art Rotterdam 2015 Petra showed work by Paul Bogaers, Anne Geene and Noortje Haegens

Petra took Noortje's work to a number of art fairs and to the Appèl exhibitions (in which a number of galleries participated). There were also presentations of jump! at various locations, such as at Art The Hague.

The highlight was the participation in Art Rotterdam in February 2015: “That was a fantastic presentation. Beautiful things have emerged from this, such as the exhibition in the Tuingalerij in the Noordbrabants Museum and an assignment for the Dela. Everything is interrelated. ” During this period she was also nominated for the art award of the Academic Society in Eindhoven.

In 2017 the solo exhibition ‘In Flow’ took place.

Petra: “Hans Biezen turned 70 and he was offered a large solo exhibition at Galerie Pennings. But the space of the gallery was too small. The building at Geldropseweg 63 was vacant after the bankruptcy of a furniture store (the successor of Harry Pennings' furniture store). The exhibition was then arranged there by Hans Biezen. In the adjacent ‘video room’, Noortje was offered a solo, In Flow." New work was shown, including photos and video made during a working period at OBRAS in Portugal (as part of the talent hub process jump!). During this solo she gave an artist talk.

Projection of a video work created in Portugal, exhibition 'In Flow', with Noortje (right) and a visitor. photo Wiebe Zander

Petra: "After these exhibitions, I decided to move the gallery permanently to this building." April 2018 Galerie Pennings reopened with the exhibition PREVIEW, in which Noortje also participated and where she showed, among other things, a video work made in Portugal. The transition to Pennings Foundation was initiated and a year later the foundation was a fact. (see blog 16 and 17)

Groups exhibition 'Preview' with the presentation of Noortje Haegens. photo Fieke van Berkom

Noortje Haegens (Eindhoven 1985) studied at SintLucas (design and communication) in Boxtel and AKV|St. Joost (visual arts, video art) in Breda. She lives and works in Breda.

Later this year the exhibition ‘landscapes’ is planned at Pennings Foundation, where Noortje's work will also be shown.

Petra Cardinaal now organizes the second edition of jump! as a coordinator. Pennings is no longer involved as a gallery. Art works by the young participants of jump! will be shown at the KunstRAI in Amsterdam and later in Museum Jan Cunen in Oss.

Review on the first solo exhibition of Noortje Haegens by Rob Schoonen in Eindhovens Dagblad, May 8, 2014

Interview by Joep Eijkens (2014):

Interview by Anneke van Wolfswinkel (2018):

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