Spaces of Silence by Winnie Teschmacher

Following on from the Enchanted Modernities project and the collaboration with dr. Marco Pasi on the occasion of the exhibition and publication Beauty as the Imprint of the Cosmos in autumn/winter 2013-2014, the Ritman Library intends to build a bridge between her literary treasures and the world of art. From this perspective, Ritman Library director Esther Ritman was invited by Winnie Teschmacher, director of De Ketelfactory, Schiedam, to participate in the art symposium ‘White Radiance’ together with three artists, Bernadet ten Hove (1957), Frank Sciarone (1951) and Ton Mars (1950) on February 26th 2014. For an atmospheric video of the symposium, click here.

Besides organizing various exhibitions and art events for De Ketelfactory, Winnie Teschmacher is a refined and crafted artist with experience over more than 30 years. She exhibited in various galleries and museums in The Netherlands and abroad and has just returned from a journey to the Asian countries. Her creative ideas find form in delicate glass sculptures in a constant practice of concentration on the needs and wants of aesthetics, functionalism and representation. Inspired by the ever-changing and moving universe as well as our perception of it, she challenges her audience to observe again and again and so to stay in motion and transform into a more refined embodiment of time and space. It is in motion that time and space are coming to life. They remind us, human beings, to constantly make them our own by becoming detached and so to evolve into a ‘magus’ of our own life-world.

'Universe' by Winnie Teschmacher (2007).

‘Universe’ by Winnie Teschmacher (2007).

Everything changes and moves… –  Winnie Teschmacher.

In her sculptures, Winnie aims to transcend boundaries and travel beyond the material and technical dimension in order to enter the open space of ideas. A space of the silent, the ever-moving though unmovable primordial ‘Ungrund’, a term borrowed from the mystic Jacob Boehme (1575 – 1624) which later inspired the philosopher Friedrich von Schelling (1775 – 1854). Another term that comes to mind is ‘Urraum’, a concept derived from the philosopher and psychologist William Stern (1871 – 1938). And, then there is also the Platonic realm of ‘Forms’ or the intelligible world of ‘Ideas’. Briefly put, all these terms seem to refer to a kind of ‘Architect’s home’ which is tacitly present in all shapes and objects. Plato, the great forefather of philosophy, expressed his ideas on this primordial ‘Space of Silence’ in many of his dialogues, such as his Timaeus and The Republic. However, his ideas not always seem to overlap and he never really gives a precise definition. So it remains an open question, to be pondered again and again by all people of all ages staying constantly in motion without ever totally revealing its true meaning. Yet, it does invite us to remember the knowledge, that is deeply present within us all. Plato called this process anamnesis which he argued, was the essence of learning.

'Stille Kracht 2' by Winnie Teschmacher (2010).
‘Stille Kracht 2’ by Winnie Teschmacher (2010).

This is exactly what Winnie’s ‘Spaces of Silence’ are nourishing. The careful, yet powerful and almost extraterrestrial designed shapes of her sculptures invite the viewer to actively engage in them, leave any associations as they present themselves behind, become open to the object and receive it as it is. The philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908 -1961) asks the same of his audience and advocates an attitude of going ‘zurück zu den Sachen selbst’, as his great predecessor in phenomenology Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), would say. In his extensive and highly metaphysical study Phénoménologie de la Perception (1945) Merleau-Ponty asks:

Are the phenomena in the human sphere not becoming incomprehensible because of their (methodical) objectification?

With this query he criticizes the academy as well as the society of his age. The post-modern philosopher Jean Baudrillard (1929 – 2007) also addresses this issue in his Simulacra and Simulation (1981) by claiming that the rise of a ‘hypereal’ society had reached the limits of its existence. In this kind of society, reality has become a ‘simulacrum’, a copy of a copy of the real. Having completely lost its referent and with it, its original connection to the source, in this social reality signs of the real are substituted for the real.

Spaces of Silence by Winnie Teschmacher (2009/2010). Upper left: Akasha, upper right: Touching the Void, bottom left: Cycle of Time, bottom right: Purple Flame.

*Spaces of Silence* by Winnie Teschmacher (2009/2010). Upper left: ‘Akasha’ | upper right: ‘Touching the Void | bottom left: ‘Cycle of Time’ | bottom right: ‘Purple Flame’.

Winnie Teschmacher’s Spaces of Silence might therefore be seen as alchemical portals, fixed yet flowing doors of perception or tools for transformation as we might say, which re-open the viewer in an age that has gone beyond the apocalyptical. An age wherein the two forces that were torn apart and almost lost sight of each other, come together again in a sacred marriage or the royal ‘chymical wedding’ related to the inner transformation of the Soul. It are Winnie’s sculptures, which playfully invite the viewer to heal this rupture in a meditational practice. And although this practice never seems to end, it is in the unexpected moment, the essence (from Eidos derived from the root -‘weid’ meaning ‘see’) or ‘Idea’ of the object reveals itself, allowing the viewer to transcend it and so himself.

When the viewer is no longer asking what it is, or what it’s for: that’s when the object has truly become sculpture, when the object has abolished itself as it were – Frits de Coninck about Teschmacher’s work.

It is in this moment that a zero-point field emerges in which the object has become a living sculpture and the viewer a human vehicle. They have both realized a dimension which merges them by transcending their individual existence, though without loosing this. This zero-point field becomes clearly visible in the ancient wisdom symbol of the ‘Vesica Pisces’ or ‘Mandorla’ which refers to this merging process; the ‘unificatio’ of the previously separated forces followed by their transcendence. It is a healing process by showing a way out of the perception of opposites or in fact a way-in. A process that ‘re-links’ that what seems apart. Re-linking derives from ‘re-ligare’ (religion) means: ‘to bind together’ or: to make whole.

The Vesica Piscis or Mandorla. First stage separation | second stage unification | third stage transcendentio.

The Vesica Piscis or Mandorla. First stage separatio | second stage unificatio | third stage transcendentia.

The inseparability of sculpture and vehicle made possible by a mutual openness implies that studying the perceived sculpture reveals the vehicle perceiving. The perceiving vehicle is the perceived sculpture for they now resonate with each other. It is perhaps interesting to add that the word ‘resonance’ has its etymological roots in ‘re-sonare’ (to sound again) from its root ‘sonus’ (sound), though it is also associated with sound in the translation of ‘sund/sunda’, which means health or having the organs and faculties complete and in perfect action. From this perspective, resonance might also be read (again) as to be whole. This is exactly what Spaces of Silence seem to foster and what Merleau Ponty attempts: to re-link man with himself, the human with the divine, the subject with the object, the inner with the outer, expression with perception ad infinitum.

The world is wholly inside and one is wholly outside oneself – Merleau Ponty

'Temple' by Winnie Teschmacher (2010).

‘Temple’ by Winnie Teschmacher (2010).

Spaces of Silence are vehicles that welcome the previously unseen in a mutual interplay of glass and light. The omnipresent and indefinable light can be captured in matter that provides it with the necessary form in order to make it tangible. And matter holds the promise to shape light in order to become perceived, to become alive. Together they help each other coming into existence, light by way of matter, matter by way of light, both mediated by the hands of the maker. Man, their Creator, who by means of expressing his ideas, makes meaning of his world and hereby works towards his infinity:

When is a work complete? Not complete in the sense of being sufficient in and of itself, but rather, how do I finally come to leave a work as it is when I can always go further, I can always view it differently, when there is always a surplus of the unsaid over the said? These are the kind of thoughts which seem to be necessary in the face of ambiguous embodiment… – Merleau-Ponty

'Enso' by Winnie Teschmacher.

‘Enso’ by Winnie Teschmacher (2010).

For more information about Winnie Teschmacher’s art see the book ‘Spaces of Silence’ (2014) written by Frits de Coninck. It combines beautiful imagery of her optical as well as hot glass sculptures together with philosophical and metaphysical insights. This blog is partly inspired by this book, which can be ordered directly from the artist by contacting her at:

The contents of this blog expresses the author’s own ideas and opinions. If you would also like to post a blog with content relevant to the BPH please contact us at The Ritman Library reserves the right not to post blogs that have no bearing on any of the library’s collecting areas.


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