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Rendez-vous with Babs Haenen’s creative thought and work

Dear readers,


As I begin my first artist archival journey for this special project concerning the life’s work of renowned Dutch ceramicist Babs Haenen, I have already been impressed by the vastness of her imagination and creativity. The purpose of this blog is to share with you all of my reflections and discoveries, as I immerse myself in the creative world of Babs’ thought and work.


Our first interpersonal encounter - during a team video call that challenged us with connectivity issues and lagging delays - offered a glimpse into the profound passion that fuels Babs’ dedication to her art. And despite ourselves being geographically few countries away from one another, since Babs is located in Amsterdam, and I am in Switzerland, her artistic drive and her fervent desire to preserve and share the fruits of over 44-years of creations came through crystal clear.


When I reflect on my own experiences as an archaeologist tasked with digitizing the archives of the ancient Greek vases’ collection at the Museum of Ancient Agora in Athens, Greece, as well as of a similar type collection at the Biterrois Museum in Montpellier, France, I started seeing some common threads between the work of Babs and my past experience carefully working and caring for the ancient ceramic art and vases entrusted to my hands. Indeed, their intricate designs and timeless allure served as a reminder of how ceramic art has been central to the life of human civilization and its carrying messages for meaning, function and beauty.


In observing the evolution of ceramics, from the rigid structures of antiquity to the fluid forms embraced by contemporary artists like Babs Haenen, we can witness, therefore, an evolution of thought and experimentation against the constraints of traditional convention. It seems to be a journey marked by innovation and exploration. In other words, it is a testament to the transformative power of artistic expression through tangible and heart-filled creations.


As I begin delving deeper into Babs’ world through the articles she has kindly shared with me, as well as my own research, I am filled with a sense of anticipation for the discoveries that await me when I do get the chance to visit her studio for the first time this month.


When we finally meet face to face, I am looking forward to embarking together on a creative journey for the next couple of years, in the context of the ArchivorumArk project. I wish this journey ahead of us may be filled with inspiration, enlightenment, and a renewed appreciation for art.


Stay tuned for the next blog post next week!


PS: Babs exhibition “Porcelain Mountains”, takes place at Kunstmuseum Den Haag, The Netherlands, till the 14 th April 2024 https:/www.kunstmuseum.nl/en/exhibitions/babs-haenen !


ヽ(•‿•)ノ

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