Since 2000, Anne Wenzel has been building an oeuvre of ceramics, fearlessly diverting its tradition into remarkable sculptures with a brutal sense of decay. Drawing her inspiration from art-history, Wenzel is intrigued by the symbolic language behind heroism and violence, and the extravagant spectacle that tends to accompany these subjects. Her sculptures are often described as modern-day Vanitas, subsequently undermining their own heroic aura. When looking at Wenzel’s sculptures of people and animals, is it as if witnessing some horrific event taking place. In contrast, her apocalyptic landscapes show the dreadfully calm remains of an action, rather than the action itself. In her new series of work, Wenzel focuses more on the language that lurks behind the heroism of war memorials. Her monumental florals and wreaths, a universal symbol for celebration and the commemoration of war, are frozen in a state of decay. She unmasks the monument and, through the medium of clay — which she uses unconventionally and without regard to national borders – shows that all ideologies and even personifications of power display identical stylistic and linguistic characteristics.
Anne Wenzel (1972, Schüttorf, Germany) studied at the Academy for Visual Arts and Design in Enschede (NL). Her work is shown at leading art institutions in the world. Wenzel currently has a solo exhibition at Stedelijk Museum Schiedam where she got carte blanche (2023/2024). Previous solo exhibitions were o.a. in Museum Het Valkhof, Nijmegen (2019), Princessehof Leeuwarden (2017); Rijksmuseum Twenthe (2015); TENT Rotterdam (curated by Daria de Beauvais, 2014); Villa Roth, Germany (2010); Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2010); Stedelijk Museum Den Bosch (2008) a.m. Wenzel was part of group exhibitions at a.o., Museum Jorn, Silkeborg (2018); Triennial for Contemporary Art, Duffel (2018); Rijksmuseum Twenthe (2018); 60th Faenza prize, Faenza (2018); Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam (2017); 9th Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, Korea (2017); ARTER Istanbul (curated by Selen Ansen); Lustwarande, Tilburg (2016); Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht (2015); Hetjens Museum Düsseldorf (2015); Kunstmuseum Bornholm (European ceramic context, 2014); Stedelijk Museum ‘s Hertogenbosch (Collection Presentation, 2013); Stedelijk Museum Schiedam (Collection presentation, 2013); Carré St-Anne, Montpellier (‘Sign of the time’ curated by Richard Leydier, 2013); La Galerie des Galeries (‘Into the Woods’ curated by Daria de Beauvais); Fondation Ricard, Paris (2011); Shepparton Art Gallery award (2010), Stedelijk Museum for contemporary art, Ghent (2008) and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2007). Her works are included in many public and private collections, including Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Rijksmuseum Twenthe; Princessehof, Leeuwarden; Stedelijk Museum Schiedam; Vehbi Koç Foundation, Istanbul; Stedelijk Museum Den Bosch; S.M.A.K Ghent and Frac Auvergne. Wenzel is one of the artists filmed for the series ‘Dutch Masters of the 21st Century’. She lives and works in Rotterdam.