Jenny Roethe-Ritzenhoff Graduation Show 2013
Gerrit Rietveld Academy


-Graduation show 2013

Posted 16 June 2013

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Jenny Roethe-Ritzenhoff Graduation Show 2013
Gerrit Rietveld Academy


“My interest in glass runs in my veins, because my family owns a glass factory in Germany, with other words, I grew up with glass. My artistic interest comes from I got from my other family consisting of stage designers, painters, architects and dancers.

After becoming an architect I felt the desire to go back to my roots, so I started to work with different glassblowers in Germany. I got to know the characteristics and qualities of glass and wanted to free myself from limited approaches towards glass. I choose the Rietveld Academy, because I hoped to find here the freedom of working with glass. And I did.
I do make installations, because I can integrate the whole space. As an architect I am still interested in the space surrounding us. And I like people to walk between, through and around my work. I like it, if people touch my work. And they might get caught in my world.

“…powerfully, tactile and suggestive”
My work reflects on the question of gender stereotypes, which relates to a biographical background and personal experiences referring to observations I made being a girl, a daughter, a sister, a girl-friend, a mother - and of course being a female part of this society. Wondering, questioning and reflecting is what my work does and it is suggesting answers - more to myself than to anybody else.
I wonder if the associative character of material can dissolve? Or is the viewer always willed to associate something with material and shape?
For my own work I find it interesting to play with differences in materials, I like to play with their connotations and denotations.
My way of working and also the indefinite appearance ob my sculptures leave an uncertainty for the beholder and also for myself. You cannot fully determine what you see, if you do not touch it. You discover certain materials, but through their combination, manipulation and reaction towards each other, another information is added. I think, the combination of materials and their reaction with each other; the silent interaction between them can create this uncertainty. Uncertainty plays a huge part in my work, because I rarely know in the beginning what I am working on. I know what I am doing, I have this urge and compassion to make something, but many ways I understand much later what it is about. What is it then?
I only follow the interaction between me and material, shape and installment. And because I am spontaneously reacting on the material and shape, there is no direct narrative. The narrative is evoked in the viewers mind, perhaps on the same level as I react on the materials. The viewer can perceive a message through the materiality of the piece. The message is unclear, not definable, but still receivable.

I leave freedom to the pieces, because I do not have a prescribed picture and definition in my mind, and it leaves freedom and space for materials to act. I do not try to hide the materials in the sense that they represent something else than themselves. I create exactly the materials, which I want to create, so the materials gain their own specific new quality. Through that quality the materials start to communicate to the viewer.
It is a process of making decisions. There is no prescribed artwork before I start it, rather an idea. While making the artwork it develops within the creation of material, body and shape.

If I look back on the materials I used, I see that they are easily to manipulate. I see a similarity between the stockings and the glass, only that glass is very hot, when you work with it, and becomes still and stiff when it cooled down. The stockings on one hand carry also the meaning of femininity, which I am very aware of, on the other hand Lycra is a material, which is very easily manipulated and it can take drastic shapes being torn, stretched and bent, just like glass, when it is hot. Also there is the optical effect of shadow and light (which also applies to glass). Where the Lycra is denser it is darker, where it is more under tension it becomes more transparent.
Lycra has to have a structure, which keeps it in the shape I want it to be, either nails, resin, glass or flexible tubes. Glass stays in the shape it has, because it is solid.
I use ready made material, and they keep their meaning and their character. In the same time I find that they loose their original identity when combined with other materials and transform into something else, if I think of “Enough”, the hose and tight piece. Also In this piece the inside/outside relation and dependence of the materials play an important role. The tights would not have their shape without the hoses, but the hoses would not stay in shape without the tights. They form a symbiosis.
I do not want to transform materials, but I like to play with their character and identity.
And make me wonder.

The same counts for manufactured objects, which sometimes appear in my work. By putting them into a different situation, they change their identity, their pre-known use and character. So it is less about actually transforming materials than putting materials, objects or even walls, spaces and rooms into a new light, a different unknown context. Making a sculpture, which continues as a drawing on the wall questions the sculpture itself, but also the room. In how far are the room and the space maybe already sculpture them selves?
I am interested in the abstract qualities of material, but I do not value the piece on formal standards, like composition, form or aesthetic. I am using those elements and transform them into something different from before, the elements stay the same on one hand, on the other hand they become 'something else'. I am taking all the ingredients I have discovered and absorbed, and built it together in my own specific way. Since I don't have any specific theme, besides the state of mind, my pictorial language derives from my intuition, which is based on experiences in life, memory, feelings, as well as my artistic education and talent. I create holistic images, which have to suit my 'personal language'."

© Jenny Roethe-Ritzenhoff, June 2013

Gerrit Rietveld Academy
Benthem Crouwel Building, 5th floor
Fred. Roeskestraat 96
NL- 1076 ED Amsterdam
+31 (0)20-5711600

Jenny Roethe-Ritzenhoff: Ursuppe, 2011/2012
Schlauch, Nylon, von der Decke hängend, variabel
Ca. h 270 cm x w 120 cm x d 80 cm

Jenny Roethe-Ritzenhoff: Inside, 2013; blown bent glass, playdough
Approx. 45 cm, h 25 cm, w 15 cm

Jenny Roethe-Ritzenhoff: Enough, 2011/2012
Glas, Nylon, von der Decke hängend, variable Länge
ca. 270 cm x w 140 cm x d 30 cm

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CV Jenny Roethe-Ritzenhoff
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