Wiebke Pandikow interviewed by Klimt02

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 26.10.2017
Wiebke Pandikow Wiebke Pandikow
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Wiebke Pandikow. Brooch: Accumulation Bridge, 2017. Recycled plastic bags, driftwood, gravel.. Wiebke Pandikow
Brooch: Accumulation Bridge, 2017
Recycled plastic bags, driftwood, gravel.
© By the author. Read Copyright.

Almost all material Wiebke uses is found on her doorstep or given to her by people. She expresses her concern about our environment through pieces made from used plastic bags and hopes her creations would make people pause for a tiny moment the next time they handle plastic bags themselves.
Do you think that jewellery is being standardized? What is there of local and universal in your artistic work?
At least when it comes to common jewelry it certainly seems to be more standardized. There is a surplus of generic fashion and precious jewelry out there that all look pretty much the same, independent of where in the world or by whom it is being made. But apart from that, there is, of course, jewelry art and to a certain extent designer jewellery, which has evolved and broadened the whole field and works against standardization. Jewelry is finally being realized as a form of fine art with more to it than just the material and the aesthetics of it. New methods and materials seem to spring up constantly, which is exciting and wonderful.

In my own work, the universal would probably be the seeking of beauty. The traditional idea of jewelry being something that adorns, is visually pleasing, is very present for me. What is more specific and not so traditional is questioning what is precious, what material is worth all the work put into it. As for a locality in a geographic aspect: almost all material I use is pretty much found on my doorstep or then given to me by the people around me. Additionally, especially plastic bags are at the same time local and universal. They are everywhere and everywhere they are in intimate contact with humans. Almost all of us handle them every day, never quite realizing how much we unwittingly depend on them.

What do you expect when exposing your work to the public (for example with an exhibition)?
I tend to expect people to be surprised and at first almost disbelieving. Usually, someone who sees my work for the first time doesn't recognize the material it is made of without a further prompt, like the text beneath the work or me telling them what it is. I hope for people to approach the work because they find it visually pleasing or interesting somehow, and then, after they get to know what it is made of, to take another look. I have succeeded if they remain for a few moments longer and think of what this might mean generally, but also personally to them. It would be great if it makes them pause for a tiny moment the next time they handle a plastic bag.

Are other areas besides the jewellery, present in your work?
Environmental activism is pretty obvious in my work and is a big part of it. But I also see myself based somehow in science or at least in a somewhat scientific way of working: examining a material thoroughly and trying all kinds of weird things with it, testing reactions and comparing results. I am curious and like doing research and for the future hope to be able to work together with scientists as well.

The last work, book, film, city that has moved me was...
There is a lot of art that inspires and moves me, but some more or less random things that have stayed with me in particular: the movie Winged Migration, Art Nouveau style, Chris Jordan's Running the Numbers and Midway works, traditional Japanese architecture, Terry Pratchett's novels, Iceland, the post-rock music of Caspian and If These Trees Could Talk, the illustrations of Shaun Tan and playing the exquisitely beautiful PlayStation game Journey. Computer games generally interest me, maybe especially because they are pretty far removed from my own medium. I like playing them just to unwind, but I'm also excited to see how they are emerging as an art form and are nowadays finally starting to be taken seriously as such.

A place, space, country whose creativity surprises me...
I was very fascinated by Iceland and how it seemed as if many Icelanders are creators, amateur artists or simply ready to accept weird and odd things as beautiful. Be it strange scrap metal sculptures decorating a garden, plants potted inside doll heads or a lot of tiny churches out in the middle of nowhere building in modern architecture. At the same time a lot of places seem messy or uncared for and there's a lot of abandoned buildings around. Then again, some of these places like a former herring factory in the village of Djupavik are then used as venues for art. Personally, I'm fascinated by derelict human places slowly being taken down by the elements and love the harshness of Icelandic landscapes.

Is there any designer, jeweller, artist, you appreciate a lot?
I deeply appreciate craftspeople in general, people who spend their lives becoming as close to perfection in their craft as they can. Especially to mind come Japanese crafts. Urushi lacquer works, ceramics, metal- and woodworking or even things like making sushi (the movie „Jiro dreams of Sushi“ is a fantastic example of this).
In fine art, I love the paintings of J.M.W. Turner and the sculptures of Rodin.
As for my own field and from my country of choice I would have to mention Terhi Tolvanen, Janna Syvänoja, Sari Liimatta, Chao Hsien Kuo – many more artists from all around the world come to mind the more I think about it, but if I started listing them the list would soon be too long for this interview.

What piece or work has given you the most satisfaction?
I'm always the most satisfied to be starting out on a new piece or to be working with the newest technique I have just discovered. Then when a piece is actually finished the satisfaction often drops immediately and then I need some time before I can look at it and be happy with it again. I've heard other artists expressing the same so I guess this is normal. Some pieces I've become particularly happy with in hindsight are the Grace crown (skulls and bones are interesting and I want to work more with them), Tropaeolum necklaces (the round leaves interest me more than the other shapes I've developed) and from my newest series the Absence necklace (one of the most beautiful pieces of driftwood I've worked with so far) and Accumulation Pine (color gradients are wonderful).

Do you read Jewellery Magazines? What is your source to get information?
I don't really read any magazines at all. Klimt02 and other forums and artist associations are my main source of information when it comes to jewelry art, as well as for example Instagram for discovering new artists.

Do you discuss your work with other jewellery artists or any other person?
I do talk with my family and a few friends about my work, but actually quite little on a day-to-day basis. The most I talk about it with my partner since we live together and he tends to be the first to see new pieces pretty much by default (my working space is in our bedroom but we are looking for a house now so I can finally get my own workroom).
The best place to really discuss my own work as well as other artists' is of course on exhibitions or fairs. It's especially interesting and rewarding to do this with fellow artists.

What is your first thought when you hear the word Future?, What do you expect for?
A lot of the world's problems look huge right now and I am a bit worried. Soil depletion, climate change, pollution, certain political developments – there's lots out there to be scared about. I find myself hoping that the time we live in is a better time and the world is generally a better place than it has been and things won't get as bad again as in past times but I'm not exactly sure about this... inevitably, we will see how things turn out. In contrast to that, in my personal life, I am excited about the future. I am lucky and privileged to have been born where I was and to be living where I do. My life is secure and at least at the moment shows mainly nice things and a lot of possibilities ahead.