i am Wypke Jannette Walen, teacher at the Breitner Academie (Amsterdam University of the Arts) & photographer in Amsterdam.

  • master of Fine Arts, Sandberg Instituut, graduated 2009
  • bachelor of Arts in Education, Academie voor Beeldende Vorming, Amsterdam University of the Arts, graduated 2004

  • 2008-present, teacher Breitner Academie, Amsterdam University of the Arts
  • 2004-2014, museum guide Foam

As a museum guide in Foam photography museum I developed a great pleasure in telling stories about art works. As a coach at the Breitner Academie I also learned the value of asking good questions and, even more important: keeping my mouth shut to give space to the creative proces of the students.

Teaching is an extravert activity, making my own photos is introspective. I am interested in the still lifes I can squeeze out of everyday life. The photos are tiny in subject and in pretention; like the pits in an apple, a few leftover things when the apple is eaten, although you could say these pits are the heart of the fruit.

When I was a student at the Sandberg Instituut writer Alex the Vries portrayed all students in a small publication. I still feel at home in the text he wrote: “Being an artist gives you the opportunity to do the things that are really occupying your thoughts, according to Wypke Jannette Walen. That may be the reason why, until recently, she never took into account the possibility of becoming an artist herself. Rather, she sought the solution in becoming a fine arts teacher. Now that she is a student at the Sandberg Institute, completely different plans are coming to light. These could already be glimpsed in a documentary entitled 'De Groote Stilte' ('The Great Silence'), which she made after her teachers' training: a film about the monastic life of two old monks who had to leave their ancient building. In that film, the use of the camera is not like that usually seen in a documentary. She tells the story visually, in a bunch of keys, a wilted plant, a view. The visual concept behind these is quite evident.
    Wypke Jannette Walen deploys video, film and photography in order to transform her interest in the dissolution of time into images. These means also possess a transitory quality, yet they give things permanence. To her, the point is to capture the passage of time in the desolation that abandoned buildings and interiors exude. She ingests it in quiet concentration and breathes it out again. She made a series of photographs in a house whose every room had been hung full of clothes representing a complete life-cycle, thus showing how people grew up in and became one with these rooms.
   By now, she has also learned how to think beyond the camera's framing. She widens her view, practising to represent an intuitive scenario in a single, long shot. She is getting hold of the elusiveness of being. Of course she ends up empty-handed, but this she liberally shares with the viewer.”