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Lisette Schumacher Explores Memory Grounded In Buildings

Artist Lisette Schumacher talks about her work and the art scene in Rotterdam.

Can you share a few words about the city you are living in and how is the local art scene?

Lisette: I was born and raised in Rotterdam, the biggest harbor city of Europe. What they say is true, people from Rotterdam are hard workers but also open-minded and very social. We always have a goal to achieve and once we have, it is on to the next mission. This certainly applies to me as an artist!

I always feel there are quite some opportunities for emerging artists like me in Rotterdam. There are open calls, competitions, talks, many openings to attend, many opportunities to network and some great museums and art spaces like Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Kunsthal and TENT Rotterdam. I found a great platform for emerging artists and designers by applying through an open call. They are called Assembled by Root and for over a year have represented my work in Rotterdam.

I feel there is always some art event or opening to visit, you never need to feel bored over here! One of the things I like best about living in Rotterdam is its architecture. I have been a fan of modern architecture for years, so I love visiting cities with a skyline. So how luxurious is it to actually live in one!

My favorite icons are our new Central Station and the vertical city of Rem Koolhaas. Also I will never forget walking across the Erasmusbridge at the opening event and in the years after I danced across it during the annual music festival. So many sweet memories for me in this city and many to come. I cycle and walk through the city on a daily basis and it never bores me.

AscendingII, 2016, Acrylic on Canvas, 95 x 80 cm

How would you describe your work and what are your main influences?

I explore notions of perception and memory grounded in buildings and their surrounding areas. I visit abandoned buildings, preferably factories. I experience its atmosphere, usually it is quite peaceful, sometimes a bit eerie. The building and its surroundings hold a long history and as I walk through it each space shows me its past.

Usually the buildings a quite run down through the passing of time but I can only see the beauty of it! When I am back at my studio I start making paintings from the spaces. Using both my memory and photographs I start reconstructing fragments of the building into new works, thereby capturing the atmosphere I experienced in which light plays a vital role.

"I explore notions of perception and memory grounded in buildings and their surrounding areas"

What made you want to become an artist?

As a child I was always drawing, claying and thinking up stories with my toys acting them out. Even today I usually wake up early, being half awake I start imagining all sorts of scenarios that turn into vivid dreams. Being creative is part of me, always has been. I have to create something on a regular basis, otherwise I go mad.

My father followed the technical advertising school, way before Internet and the digital era, I inherited his creativity I am sure. Also he has been my number one fan, always supporting me whatever I do he is there and he is proud. This has always given me the confidence to keep going.

Are there any artists in particular that you identify with today?

I regularly visit exhibitions also when travelling in order to try and stay up to date. I have a long list of artists and a few favorite galleries. I even have a small art collection at home. I know how important it is to support an artist, not just by attending the opening of their newest exhibition and by giving out likes online, but also by supporting them financially. It can be quite frustrating not selling any works for long periods of time, especially with all the time, effort and money you have put in, I know from my own experience.

Also I follow some interesting artists online. It is good to mirror yourself with other artists, see what their goals are and what they achieve over time. But most importantly I continue working on developing my own artistic practice, studying materials, practicing techniques and collaborating with artists. I believe in the power of collaboration. Together you get a broader perspective and you support each other.

NY Travelnotes, 2015, Oil, wax on Wood, 30 x 23 cm

What are you working on currently or your plans for the near future?

Currently I am setting up a group exhibition collaborating with artists who have similar starting points in their artistic practice. I have written an exhibition proposal to an exhibition space and am waiting on their reply, so fingers crossed!

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