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#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 performance artist and lives in Eindhoven. Anyone who emailed her during the lockdown received the following automatic reply:

Hi there! Thanks for your message.

Due to Covid-19 I'm currently LIVING ALONE (TOGETHER) in self-isolation with my bff Nadiah.

My photo studio is closed until uncle Rutte says it's safe to shake hands again. Mails won't be read and answered as quickly as before the Corona craze.

Stay sane, stay safe and I hope we can hug soon.


Hanneke Wetzer

“Imagine, there is a lockdown coming and you are single. You don't have anyone to cuddle with during all those lonely months. What to do? Then you look for a partner in crime so that both can remain mentally healthy. Since flights were already canceled, I was forced to send my bff Nadiah over by mail. Now that she is here we have a lot of support from each other and we share all the little moments of happiness.”

Hanneke Wetzer, Netflix and chill

During corona time Hanneke made the special series Living Alone (Together). She staged all kinds of domestic and intimate situations of herself with her new roommate Nadiah, her ‘best friend forever’ (bff). However, it was not immediately noticed that Nadiah is a (sex) doll.

During an installation at MU in Eindhoven, we had a live connection via a webcam.

Hi there! This is Nadiah.

I will be replying all incoming mails for the next coming weeks, as the personal secretary of Hanneke Wetzer.

Due to Covid-19 we are currently LIVING ALONE (TOGETHER) in self-isolation at MU Hybrid Art House.

You can send us mail digitally, but we also welcome and reply to real paper letters. Feel free to send us a postcard:

Me & Nadiah

Torenallee 40-06

5617 BD Eindhoven

The Netherlands

Stay sane, stay safe and I hope we can hug soon.



Installation 'Living Alone (Together)' by Hanneke Wetzer. photo Hetty de Groot

Hanneke set up an installation at Pennings Foundation: a homely corner with a large number of photos from the project and even a puzzle. This series is also an on going project. Have a look at the facebook and instagram account of Hanneke (@me_and_my_dollfriend) and see for yourself how creative she is. Here, you ca still watch her performances in ‘Spijkers met Koppen’ and ‘Stampa’ (both in October 2020).

Pennings Foundation scheduled a group exhibition about art in corona time. The presentations by Noortje and Hanneke are a preview.

Another book launch

Film of the making of. photo Lore Clercx

In September 2020, the Eindhoven photographer Hildegard Hick presented her photo book about life in corona time in her city, Stilstaan en Doorgaan (published by Lecturis) at Pennings Foundation. The Eindhoven alderman for mobility, culture and design, inner city and city marketing, Monique List-de Roos, gave an introduction. It was fun that the man depicted on the cover of the book was present during the book launch. However, no one recognized him until he stood in the same position, with briefcase. A short film about this project was added to the installations by Noortje and Hanneke.

Art in the shop window

The shop window at night. photo Petra Cardinaal

On Sunday, December 13, we opened the exhibition Melancholy and Reality in Het Groene Woud. The very next day it was announced that we had to close the doors again. On Facebook we wrote: "If you can't go in, we will bring the art closer to ‘outside’!"

So we placed works of art from Noortje Haegens and Hanneke Wetzer in the shop window, next to the work of Karel Tomeï and Paul Bogaers from the landscape exhibition. A beautiful spectacle especially at night. Don’t forget about the curfew!

View from the shop window into the exhibition Melancholy and Reality in Het Groene Woud. photo Hetty de Groot

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