Relational Thingness
Yvonne Dröge Wendel

In the context of her talk Yvonne Dröge Wendel draws attention to the permeable boundaries of things in use, to the moment of encounter between the object and the human, to the moment where the object is actually seized and used. Her photos and sketches zoom into the point of contact where the hand takes hold of the object. Images document that this point of contact has different physical characteristics (forms, surfaces, textures, colours, et cetera) in each practice of use. When the focus is on use, the boundaries of the human and the thing become permeable to each other. As the focus shifts to the ‘how’ (‘how’ to grasp, handle, hold), the object melds partially with the subject. The materiality of each in the encounter is crucial.

Yvonne Dröge Wendel lives and works in Amsterdam. She was trained in the Audio Visual department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and was an artist in residence at the Rijksakademie and Delfina Studios, London. She is currently working on a PhD artistic research project at the University of Twente. She is also head of the Department of Fine Arts at the Rietveld. She publishes art books, is featured in solo and group exhibitions. In 1994 she won the second Prix de Rome and in 2016 she was the laureate of the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art. The drive behind her work is tangible and visible in her playful, philosophical studies of how objects influence human behaviour. In her PhD research project, she examines the relational and performative abilities of things, a theme that touches on present-day questions about our relationship to the (technological) world around us.