Sophie Whettnall

Sophie Whettnall Videostill Brainstorming (2009)

‘I hope to give visitors the occasion to be in touch with their inner selves, or to confront deeper grey areas that we rarely challenge in today’s society’. - Sophie Whettnall, interview with Carmen Frigerio for Goes:Art

‘Medusa and the abyss, the sowers of disorder, bring about a mutation — monster. She, more or less human, but alive because of transformation. It’s a most violent incandescence, explosive, utterly staggering return, with a force never yet unleashed. There’s force in her fragility, seething underneath, threatening return. It will give her back her goods, her pleasures, her organs, her immense bodily territories which have been kept under seal, and it will knock the wind out of the codes [...]’ - Hélène Cixous - The Laugh of the Medusa

A young woman is standing on top of a hill looking at a landscape below, in contemplation, as the title of the video work suggests. We stand behind her and witness how the wind plays with her long dark hair. What does she see? What is she thinking? Are her thoughts as wild and free-flowing as her hair swaying in the wind? Can my thoughts in response meander just like hers? While having a strong contemplative vibe, the work also visualizes in a way what happens within the brain when we are daydreaming or brainstorming. If the image of an executive functioning brain looks like a spirograph drawing in which the same trajectories are repeated over and over again, then the image of a musing or dreaming brain is that of Brainstorming.

2009 - video projection, video shot with a photo camera, 7’07”, silent
Courtesy of the artist and Michel Rein Gallery.

Sophie Whettnall
°1973, Belgium

Sophie Whettnall is a visual artist working across video, performance, drawing and installation. Her practice is greatly influenced by painting, landscape in particular, and its durational sensorial experience. Her main material is light and its elusive, disorienting and seductive effects. With it she teases our sense of sight and questions the idea that seeing equals understanding. In 1999 Whettnall won the Young Belgian Painting prize (currently Belgian Art Price). Her works have been exhibited at a.o. Centrale for Contemporary Art Brussel (BE), Michel Rein Paris and Brussels (FR - BE), Museum Roger Raveel (BE), BOZAR - Paleis voor Schone Kunsten Brussel (BE), Museu de Arte Moderna Aloisio Magalhães (BR), Galleria Continua (IT – FR), Fundació Joan Miró (ES), Utah Museum of Fine Arts (US), MAC Grand Hornu (BE) and the 52nd Venice Biennale (IT). Sophie Whettnall is represented by Gallery Michel Rein. She lives and works in Brussels, Belgium.

Portrait © Lydie Nesvadba