Sophie Whettnall (born 1973, Brussels, Belgium) is a multidisciplinary artist whose work is greatly influenced by painting, landscape in particular, and their sensorial experiences. Through performance, installation and film, she explores the relationship of the body to its surroundings. Whettnall enjoys international recognition ever since she won the Prix de la Peiture in 1999.
Whettnall’s works are silent exercises in contemplation, yet they are also often performative in their activation of the beholder. Her main material is light and its elusive, disorienting and seductive effects. With it she teases our most important sense, sight, and questions the idea that seeing equals understanding.
Since the nineties, Sophie Whettnall’s work offers a reflection on the forces that define our relationship with the world around us – by materialising and documenting them. Whettnall focuses on light and analyses its presence and zones of absence and passage. The aesthetic pieces demonstrate – in a sensitive and at the same time powerful way – a dialectic tension and attempt to evoke a link between contradicting concepts and perceptions: between softness and sensuousness, yin and yang, women and men and so on.
Sophie Whettnall’s work has been exhibited at the Think with the Senses, Feel with the Mind, Art in the Present Tense, (cur. Robert Storr), 52nd Venice Bienniale (Italy), at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (Salt Lake City), MAC’S, Site du Grand Hornu (Hornu), DOT. Project (London), Leal Rios Foundation (Barcelona), Centrale for Contemporary Art (Brussels), Palais des Beaux-Arts (Brussels), Museu de Arte Moderna Aloisio Magalhães (Recife), CGAC (Santiago de Compostella), COAC (Barcelona), Vera Cortes Art Agency (Lisbon), Krinzinger Projekte (Vienna), L’orangerie, espace d’art contemporain (Bastogne), Fresnoy, Studio national des arts contemporains (Tourcoing).