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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