Graduated from University for the Creative Arts, Farnham
Selected by Edith Garcia
Cécile Witteman was born in The Netherlands and graduated with a BA at the Amsterdam School of Arts and progressed to graduate with an MA at the Farnham University College of the Creative Arts, England.
Drawing her inspiration from the veiled and masked women around the globe whose dress codes provided a sense of mystery linked to hidden emotions and identities. The work to date seeks to express this in a dramatic and exaggerated form.
It begins with the construction of patterns, which transform selected materials, to produce a unique fabric design, which is then further developed through sketches before its final installation intuitively sculpting the textiles around the human figure.
This approach can be adapted for the catwalk or the theatre which would open up a whole new dimension of movement integral with the design.
The work in the form of fabric sculpture has been exhibited in Finsterwolde, The Netherlands, New Designers 2007, London, Farnham University of the Creative Arts, England and will be at the Mall Galleries, London in January 2008.
Items exhibited have also been used as a location background by the new BBC TV Inspector Lewis series due to be broadcast in January 2008.
Cécile Witteman has turned fashion into installation art, textiles into sculpture. Joining the dots between Lucy Orta, Hussein Chalayan and Rei Kawakubo, she explores the possibilities of transforming textiles - by using print, fire, and stitching as a way of sculpting.
In her current collection Witteman has constructed three complex sculptural garments that explore the function of the human form and the role of the body in fashion. Sculpting the surface from initial patterns, she creates work that riffs on hidden emotions in society, secreting the human condition deep within levels of materials and choosing fire red, green and black, to represent passion, jealousy and the darker self.
These almost theatrical costumes use a multitude of layers to tell a story, printed images floating above the fabric to create a three-dimensional illusion between surface and form. Thematically the mask of fashion remains a central focus.
Conceptually rigid, these works focus on hiding the identity of the wearer, reversing the theatrical role of fashion, whilst experimenting with the performative aspect of clothing and style. Today these astonishing sculptural garments would be hanging in the closet of Leigh Bowery.
(Edith Garcia, 2007)
Qualifications and training
- 2007 MA Contemporary Crafts Textiles, University College for the Creative Arts, Farnham, Surrey
- 2005 Bachelor of Fine Arts in Education (Textiles), Amsterdam School of Arts