Liesbeth is a a visual artist working in still-life Photography, living in Amsterdam since she was 17 years old. She started working professionally after her art education in 1996. In 2009, having worked together on various projects (and being a couple), she teamed up with photographer Maurice Scheltens consolidating their professional collaboration and creating Scheltens&Abbenes. They recently had an overview show of our work at Museum Jan Cunen in The Netherlands, published their latest book “Unfolded”, shooting archive collections of Balenciaga for Musée Galliera in Paris. At the moment they’re shooting for COS magazine followed by Fantastic Man, The Gentle Woman and Plant Magazine. And they’re even not done yet!
Could you please tell us more about your background and career?
I have studied at the Gerrit Rietveld academy in Amsterdam at the department Audio Visual. After I studied for two years at the post graduate Rijksacademy for Fine Arts in Amsterdam. In 1996 I attended a Summer Residency program, Skowhegan in Maine, U.S.A. Coming back in Amsterdam I started working in a studio complex in Amsterdam working on independent art works.
How did your collaboration with Maurice Scheltens start?
Since 2005 we shared in the same building our separate studios. Our collaborations have been naturally build up to the point where we are now. First basically the editorial and commissioned works but gradually also all exhibition works. In 2009 we have connected our studio’s physically, and puting the “&” sign between our last names.
Could you please tell us more about your projects?
Previously I had been working on hand embroidered wall tapestries on felt I was very used and interested in working with textiles. With this background it was exciting to start working on these photographic still-lifes which are made with the same patience with an eye for details without loosing the bigger picture.
What ideas did lead to the creation of your latest book “Unfolded”?
We were invited to do an overview in Museum Jan Cunen in The Netherlands. It holds a whole floor with different rooms that one can wonder through. During the process of getting a grip on the whole exhibition with our Photographic still-lifes, we started to make a maquette of the museum. From this point the idea for a book, that was planned simultaneously, was born. With graphic designers Julia Born and Laurenz Brunner we had a wonderful collaboration in which we developed the idea of making a book as an exhibition space and the imaginary route the viewer could make along the different works. Moving from editorial - to works that have previously shown in our gallery and other cultural venues.
What are the pros and cons of mixing between the media, art and fashion industry?
The mix makes our work complete and I could not speak of pros or cons knowing that these different industries actually feed one another. It’s a vibrant mix as long as we can have a good amount of freedom to work in.
Which of your skills would you like to improve? Why?
The skill of thought translated into the image. Always and every time over and again!
What are your fav art venues / galleries in your city? Why?
Honestly, we don’t see a whole lot at the moment, being so busy with our own work. I like the way our own gallery Martin van Zomeren in Amsterdam deals with his different shows. Seeing the gallery also as a place that’s open for experiment as well. The Foam (Photography Museum) and Dutch Doc Awards.
Which place you’ve traveled to did definitely change your life? Why?
I don’t feel strong about traveling and the effect it could have in changing my life. Traveling was good in order to feel good about were I am and still be able to be open for the world as well. Going from being on my very own to being a family now with two kids is more of an extreme travel and change.
Who is the woman you’d like to see featured / interviewed here?
Eylem Aladogan. Visual astist who is making beautiful installations/objects which are a combination of craftmanship with modern technology. www.eylemaladogan.com
File under: Interview