Corriette Schoenaerts is a Rotterdam-based artist who works in visual arts, fashion and advertising. As an artist, she strives not to bear one specific label in terms of style or medium, even though her work is always colorful.
When Arttenders launched the We Serve Art Box Vol.1: the Christmas Edition in December 2019, Corriette Schoenaerts designed a scarf that embodies the Schoenaerts signature way of working. The other artworks in this art box are a print of a photo by Pim Top and a pin by Saïd Kinos.
About Corriette Schoenaerts
Autonomous, fashion and commercial photographer. Known from her work for Converse, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Camper and Die Zeit, among others.
Surrealistic scenes for LE Carpet.
Can you elaborate more on the work you have created for We Serve Art?
I was inspired by the history of the technique of rib jacquard knitting. In knitting, jacquard is generally used to manufacture Fair Isle designs. This traditional kind of knitwear uses strips of concatenated geometric shapes that are knitted in different colors. By combining the initially primitive patterns, distorting them and recombining them, a complex but balanced new pattern arises.
I am currently fascinated by the endless possibilities of CGI 3d modeling software. For the design of this scarf, I took the idea of Fair Isle designs as a starting point, but created a contemporary variant in response. 3D modeling often starts with geometric figures that get distorted and recombined to create a new reality. This common basis was the starting point for the design.
If you approach it very practically, knitting is just like code a symbolic language used to create and produce patterns, which in turn evoke an alternate reality. It is composed of an endless combination of one’s and zero’s, resembling computer language. This simplification to binary input is also applied in experiments in architecture and other fields.
I started the design for the scarf by inserting architectural shapes in CGI, distorted and combined them into a new composition and transformed this into the pixelated print for the scarf. Actually, it is the merge of the limitations of the knitting technique and binary computer language translated into graphics.
I am currently fascinated by the endless possibilities of CGI 3d modeling software.
Fashion series for the traveling issue of Magazine Magazine.
How does this approach relate to your other work?
I was always fascinated by building a universe. In my photography and set designs, I used to create worlds by playing with the boundaries of the medium I worked with. This is also the common thread in my work: exploring and commenting on the medium I work in. Often, I come at it from the technical side. For example, some of my earlier works include studies of the focal plane in photography. It combines the relation of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional possibilities. This way, I created non-existent realities by combining photography, set design, drawings, projections and clippings.
I am expanding the possibilities by including a virtual component to these mediums. In my exploration of CGI 3D software, I can add an entire universe and combine the analog and the digital. It enables me to create even more complex scenes and include moving imagery to the things I create. A very practical example: when using just the possibilities of photography I used to work with a crane and rope if I wanted objects to levitate. Now, I have the opportunity to create this scene with a very different set of tools.
The approach remains the same: I create an alternate universe in which I can translocate and move around. However, the components inside this universe became more and more elaborate. By integrating the digital component, the purely physical aspect of this universe becomes both tangible and digital. It opens up an entire new medium with endless new possibilities. However, the logic behind it remains the same.
The design I made for We Serve Art embodies this approach by combining the digital, analog and photography into a very tangible object.
'Passion = Violence' for Sleek Magazine.
'Poland' for Europol.
'Greece' for Europol.
Do your works also include a common thread in terms of storytelling?
Not really, I consider myself the eternal student. I love to find a challenge in any type of project. I try to look at it from different perspectives, question the matter and then reinterpret whatever I am working on. My work does therefore not consist of a consistent signature, but is a series of interconnected topics, themes and techniques that feed my knowledge and my urge to investigate. I will dive into them, and then find the next challenge.
What is your ultimate dream or dot on the horizon?
Hopefully not an unreachable dot, but one of my dreams is to create the entire scenography for a large opera. Some type of multimedia experience. Opera Ballet Vlaanderen is currently a huge inspiration. The ballet and opera departments are so tightly knit and the influence of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (artistic director of the ballet department) and Jan Vandenhouwe (the artistic director of the opera department) are ubiquitous.
Opera for me represent the summit of the arts. There are few art forms where so many domains are intertwined. It combines music, literature, performance, lighting design, costume design, set design and so many other domains. Not even to start about the rich history opera has. It must be the ultimate challenge to control a hydra like the opera and transform it into a well-balanced performance. To be part of such a production, that would be the ultimate challenge.
Series for Die Zeit Studienfuhrer: Engineering.
'Eclipse', FW 09/10 collection of Conny Groenewegen.
In the preparation of the We Serve Art Box we eventually decided upon a title for your work. What is the deal between you and naming your work?
Assigning a title to a work is a complicated process. Pinpointing something with words is such a different process than developing something visual. Language is so accurate that is limits the spectator’s interpretation. It creates an additional dimension and therefore has to be so spot-on that I usually decide not to get into that at all.
Therefore, I mostly end with something like Untitled 1,2 or 3 or something of that order. Officially few of my works have a title. Of course, I assign working titles to the things I do, because I need to give some name to the documents on my computer. Those are mostly mainly descriptive. When I have to assign a title it usually also stays very descriptive. Hence, it has very little to do with what a title should be or should do for the work in my opinion.
So, which number in your series of untitled works would this work be?
I am not really sure. Assigning numbers is always a random process. Especially since not everything you create is imperishable. Just like life, you continuously shape your own history, so things are not timeless. Many things disappear, become more or less significant. I honestly wouldn’t know. You can spin the wheel of fortune or assign one yourself.
After this interview we kindly took up the task of naming the scarf Schoenaerts designed for the We Serve Art Box Vol. 1. We randomly named it ‘Untitled 1468.’