top of page

#37 Art in corona time

Speaking: Noortje Haegens and Hanneke Wetzer

Noortje Haegens, May 14, 2020

The lockdown inspired visual artists Noortje Haegens and Hanneke Wetzer to create completely different work. Both kept in touch with their audience by posting photos on social media. Their series became extremely popular in a short time.

Presentations of these new series are on show at Pennings Foundation for a few months now. We hope that we will be able to reopen soon and that the public can view the installations again.

On the first day of the lockdown in March 2020, Noortje Haegens started photographing the view from the stairwell in the apartment building in Breda where she lives before sunset. During the first lockdown from March 15 to June 1, she repeated this ritual daily. This resulted in a series of images of beautiful skies: Quarantine view.

“Normally the starting point of my work is the walk. The function of that, the delay of perception, the return to the power of the silence, that is what it is all about. The work Quarantine View arose from a standstill. A totally new way of working. What started as a first image has grown into a beautiful collection of the clear sky that can be seen every day. The clear sky that could not be captured in this way before. Whether it is the lack of exhaust fumes, the reduction in emissions from the factories, the near absence of planes: the fact is that the sky appears brighter, brighter than usual. A beauty that offers comfort.”

Noortje Haegens in front of her installation 'Quarantine View'. photo Lore Clercx

“The meditative movement of the passing clouds is visible through the window. Every evening it is special to experience the spectacle of the sunset, the play of light and clouds, through the frame of the window in my home. There is something meditative about it, sometimes even a spiritual experience. The window is also a metaphor for the isolation of the corona time. What started as one photo has become a series of 81 photos.” An installation of those 81 photos is now on display at Pennings Foundation.

After a successful crowdfunding campaign, Noortje published a book about this project. The launch of the book was scheduled at Pennings Foundation during Dutch Design Week, but had to be postponed due to corona. Finally the presentation took place in mid-December. Shortly afterwards, another lockdown was announced.

Noortje still photographs the view from her window almost every day.

During the DDW, also Hanneke Wetzer would show work from a series at Pennings Foundation, which was created in corona time. Her new series fitted in nicely with the theme of the DDW 2020, ‘The new intimacy’. Unfortunately, the DDW only started digitally. Physical exhibitions were canceled, including the exhibition of Isola Design District from Milan planned at Pennings Foundation. Noortje and Hanneke's presentations were postponed.

Hanneke Wetzer is a visual and performa