Winnie Claessens' artistic practice encompasses video art, scale models, and installations. Additionally, she has curated various group shows.

Whether she focuses on modernist utopias (based on traditional techniques) or future dystopias (shaped by a reality that sometimes seems to trump science fiction), Claessens makes no judgment. With a lucid curiosity, she recreates worlds in which interpretations are stimulated, the imagination enticed. Claessens's installations are strongly narratively charged and testify to her background in scenography and fascination for film. Each installation is an immersive universe in which the beautiful and the abject, the comic and the tragic, the good and the evil can coexist.


Claessens usually translates these grand stories into a smaller material form. She reconstructs the often melancholic scenes and atmospheres in fragile models. These

aesthetic scale models transcend their purely applied function; they are an ode to manual making and attentive observation. Herein, Claessens's approach feeds on her predilection for old Japanese theater forms and film effects, in which the same care and craftsmanship are central.


For Claessens, every imitation is an attempt to make things more comprehensible, better understood. By doing so, she reduces inconceivable experiences to a conceivable scale. She manages to capture the sublime feeling of the overwhelmingly uncontrollable in a controlled, still fragment. And although that recording seems naturalistic, the realistic is a mere starting point. Claessens rethinks and reworks and does not hide her constructions. Sometimes advanced CGI worsens emotional engagement and visual  imagination more than analog effects. The magic of "make-believe" doesn't disappear because the apparatus is showing - maybe even, quite the contrary.


Winnie Claessens (1989) resides and works in Antwerp, Belgium. She graduated from the Sint Lucas School of Arts and further pursued theater scenography at the Amsterdamse Theaterschool in the Netherlands.