Hanae Wilke describes her sculptures and installations as inhabiting the ‘subjunctive’ – an apprehensive territory that gives expression to desire or uncertainty: ‘something that might be yet isn’t quite, or something which is almost’. With their anamorphic forms, her installations refer literally to something that is at first sight unrecognisable, something that is deliberately hidden. In Lightly Spoken, Conduit Slur for example, aluminium wire is subtly twisted in contrast with robust bent tubes.
Wilke’s sculptures often emanate from immediate memories and personal experiences. Just as these memories are rarely reliable representations of real events, language and words are often inadequate vessels in which to hold them. Distortion and recognition are continually recurring themes in Wilke’s installations. While her sculptures entertain the idea of distortion, they also suggest that their origins are also distorted and mutated.
For Under/Over, Wilke drew inspiration from the subtitle of GET LOST- art route: Where the Sidewalk Ends. She often heard this poem by Shel Silverstein recited as a child growing up in the US. Now, so many years later, rereading the poem took her back to her youth in suburban America and her memories of her own journeys of discovery as a child. Digging out a worm, finding a spider’s web, the view from the top branch of the fir tree that stood in the middle of the garden, as well as the blue jay and the scent of honeysuckle. A flood of memories of the insignificant - and yet so important - discoveries of a child that gradually vanish into the background on the path to adulthood. This is both the micro and macro perspective in Wilke’s work. Balancing on steel tubes are two slender objects cast in epoxy resin representing the abstract forms of the worm and the bird of her childhood memories. Located in the green garden of Strawinsky house, the organic forms, those intangible memories, stand in sharp contrast with the structured character of Zuidas. Under/Over subtly connects the companies and the residents of the neighbourhood with the lush jungle of shrubs and roadside grass in which a child takes her first giant steps in discovering the world.
Hanae Wilke (b. 1985) lives and works in London and The Hague. She studied at KABK in The Hague and Royal College of Art, London.