Nadja Willekens (born in Siegen, Germany, 1969) is a contemporary artist in Leuven, Belgium. She studied painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp from 2004 to 2008. She investigates the complex interaction between reality and virtuality and questions... Read More
Nadja Willekens (born in Siegen, Germany, 1969) is a contemporary artist in Leuven, Belgium. She studied painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp from 2004 to 2008.
She investigates the complex interaction between reality and virtuality and questions the essence of things in a contemporary context. She explores how the virtual world steadily shuffles into the real world and how those worlds influence each other. Her work explores how the digital world changes our perception of reality. Within that context, she plays with concepts such as alienation, perception, transformation, manipulation, construction, meaning, value and identity.
To represent her profound contemplations, she adopts a multifaceted, mixed-media approach. Her artistic process draws from multiple sources, including philosophical reflections, literary fragments, quotes, and essays on media, culture, art history, architecture, and design. Additionally, she finds inspiration in newspaper headlines, urban landscapes, avatars, images from digital games, social media, and digital manipulation. These diverse sources serve as guiding stars for her artistic voyage.
Willekens' creative process is reminiscent of the romantic spirit of exploration. From the comfort of her desktop, she embarks on digital adventures, wandering through the vast expanse of cyberspace. Much like the Scottish romantic painter David Roberts, who captured the essence of Egypt in the 19th century, Willekens virtually visits space and time. With just a click or a search term, she seamlessly navigates between past and present, using this digital journey as the foundation for her digital sketches. Composition, editing, and construction occur first on the graphic tablet and then in her studio.
In a manner reminiscent of Caspar David Friedrich, the renowned German Romantic landscape painter, Willekens creates her own "Seelenlandschaften," or landscapes of the soul. Her works are meticulously composed of fragments across different places and moments. The result is a personal artistic narrative.
Willekens uses a specific colour palette that she employs to convey emotion. Her approach seamlessly blends traditional painting techniques, such as grisaille, washed techniques, and glacis, with the vibrancy of modern fluorescent colours, pen, marker, ink, digital and printing techniques. She integrates graphic lines, planes, patterns, and imagery from games, virtual reality, and image processing programs to craft complex, multi-layered compositions. This layered artistic language allows her to explore intriguing contrasts, such as virtuality versus reality, originality versus replication, and the tangible versus the intangible.
Nadja Willekens' artistic compositions invite viewers to embark on a journey of imagination detached from conventional notions of space and time. Her work carries a subtle undercurrent of nostalgia and melancholy, encouraging observers to reflect alongside her. It contemplates the limits of human perception in a world that is evolving at an astonishing pace, where the influence of digitization is continually strengthening, and where the concept of the "real" is gradually fading into the background.
Nadja Willekens' art aims to be captivating and thought-provoking, offering a profound exploration of digital transformation and its impact on our perception of reality.
WHO I AM
blending reality & virtuality, sparking contemplation, reflecting on modern existence