Op atelierbezoek bij Isabelle Wenzel

Het werk van Isabelle Wenzel (Wuppertal, Duitsland, 1982) is volledig eigen en ijzersterk. Wat maakt haar foto’s zo bijzonder? Er zit een soort gruizige power in die je als een knal voor je kop raakt. De morsige soms wat klunzig geknutselde settings waarin de vaak gezichtsloze ‘modellen’ poseren oogt heel geloofwaardig. De absurde en wrange situaties waarin de modellen ongewone acrobatische poses aannemen of soms opgedwongen lijken te krijgen zijn onweerstaanbaar. Het werk lijkt te gaan over alternatieven voor de klassieke machtsverhouding tussen fotograaf en model en misschien over het lichaam als stilleven.

Welke thema’s zijn belangrijk in jouw werk?
Since the beginning of my career I have been working on various photographic projects that are dealing with the medialization of the female body. In particular I show various pictorial encounters between myself and the camera – the photographer and the model. I look upon the moment of image taking as a situation based performance the purpose of which is sculpturing an image with my body.

Waar ben je opgegroeid en opgeleid?
I’m from Wuppertal, Germany. I started to get in contact with photography during my studies in Bielefeld at the University of applied science. From where I moved to Amsterdam to study at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and graduated in 2010.

Wat inspireert je?
I’m inspired by any hybrids between exhibition and performance. By the experience of time itself and by the condition of our physical being.


Kun je ons iets vertellen over hoe je begint aan nieuw werk? Start je met een idee, een verhaal of een beeld?
My way of working is very instantaneous. I always us the autotimer of my camera. That induces that everything has to go quite fast. I press the button, run in front of the camera, I have some seconds time to get into position, the camera clicks, I check the outcome on the screen and react to it in doing the next image. This has a lot to do with improvisation. Being the creator and the model at the same time means that you can’t control everything, this loss of control and the decisive fortune is a very fundamental element of my image making. I believe that there is a way of thinking you can’t achieve while sitting on a chair; the body is my main entity of articulation and of developing ideas. These ideas are often non logical. My images are not meant to reach perfection but I’m trying to show the viewer the dynamic of my process based still-lives.


Hoe ziet je gemiddelde werkdag er uit?
Regular are the things I do but there is no regularity or specific order in my workdays.

Things I do:
1. General training; stretching and other movements
2. Paper work
3. Photographing, drawing or building something with my hands.
4. Postproduction
5. Reading

In general I like to see what is happening and interact with that. Sometimes I get up very early in the morning. Other times I do like to work at night. I basically follow my inspiration as it comes. And if there is no inspiration coming at all I start to do something, I need to move and then I’m sure something will come out of it.


Kun je voor ons je werkplek/atelier/studio omschrijven?
I have a 160 sqm studio in a backyard hidden from a main road in Wuppertal. There are two rooms, one in the front with a white wooden floor, big windows at the right and two rectangular pillars dividing the room. Through an opening you enter into the larger room. This is my main workspace. It has windows in the ceiling, which is perfect for photographing. Because of its size and construction this space is kind of cold and it keeps me moving.

Kun je 3 ongewone items opnoemen in je studio?
In a studio strange things become often very ordinary and ordinary things become abstract and strange. Basically I see everything as work material. Probably the strangest is my collection of clothes. I do have three racks filled with costumes and various boxes with shoes and other items to wear.

Werk je graag met muziek of in stilte?
Most of the time I work in silence listening to the own sound I make.

Met welk materiaal werk je graag – is kleurgebruik voor jou belangrijk?
My material is my body which I color by the careful use of clothes and paint.


Waar streef je naar in je werk? Wanneer is een werk voor jou af?
If it has to tell something indescribable, something that convulses you. Something which I do not understand and makes me wonder.

Heb je zelf thuis werk van collega kunstenaars?
Yes, works of others inspire me and make me realize how wonderful it is to create one’s own vision or to create something within oneself.


  • Isabelle Wenzel

    position_14_2_1_W_2013 (2013)
    € 1400,-

  • Isabelle Wenzel

    Forward_1_A_2013 (2013)
    € 1500,-

  • Isabelle Wenzel

    Flash #1 (2010)
    € 1645,-

  • Isabelle Wenzel

    Figure 5 (2012)
    € 900,-

  • Isabelle Wenzel

    Figure 8 (2012)

  • Isabelle Wenzel

    Bum #1 (2010)
    € 1272,-

  • Isabelle Wenzel

    Backward_I_W_2013 (2013)
    € 1787,-