Meet SOFT? artist: Wiesi Will
Laure Van Brempt and Vera Roggli are the Antwerp-based duo WIESI WILL. They met in 2014 when they worked as designers at Christian Wijnants. Their collaboration arises from their shared love for materials, sustainable craftsmanship, and experimental research into structures and textures. At the end of September 2018, they will launch their first capsule collection.
Collaborations are crucial for many artists in this exhibition. For example, Ermias Kifleyesus involves totally unknown people in his work, Christoph Hefti works together with craftsmen in Nepal, and Klaas Rommelaere relies on his 'madams' from a care centre in Merksem. You work as a duo and share a studio. How does it feel to create ‘together’?
We work very intuitively. We find certain techniques, colours, and structures beautiful and there is no rational explanation for that. It's all about a certain feeling. We rely on each other's feedback to further develop an idea into a good result. Of course, it is sometimes difficult to make clear to each other what exactly we have in mind. So, what we have learned above all is to execute things and by doing so convince each other of a specific idea. We are quite critical of each other, which means that you have to substantiate your ideas to convince the other person.
The expo consists of two parts. In the first space, people will discover artists from the 70s and 80s, across the staircase people will be confronted with work from contemporary artists. We asked you to create a tactile connection between these two parts. How did you ensure a dialogue between the old and the new, between these two generations that are separated in both time and space?
We wanted to create something light, transparent and colourful in the staircase and experiment with layering. In the beginning we analysed the materials and techniques with which the artworks from the 70s were made. What we particularly appreciate is the tactile side and the craft in those works. They are manually created with thick wires and rough techniques. Their monumentality is also impressive. We have embraced the industrial changes and developed our works on industrial machines. We did not start from a piece of fabric, but from the basis of textile: the thread. Our collaboration with TextielMuseum in Tilburg made it possible to experiment with yarns we could not process ourselves. We chose to work with a viscose yarn because it becomes transparent after knitting, making it look very fragile. We wanted to preserve the monumentality without losing the fragility of our work. The bright colours we used contrast with the earthlier tones of the works from the 70s. Because of the transparency of the material, our colours become softer and blend with the environment.
Did the height of the staircase become a part of your work titled ‘Air Dancers’?
The dizzying feeling we got when we were on top of the stairs became one of the inspirations for ‘Air Dancers’. We felt a great urge to throw something down. This feeling became the starting point of our research into various abstract three-dimensional structures that are ‘falling’ or ‘dancing’. We wanted to emphasize the ‘lost’ space in the middle of the staircase by using light and colourful volumes.