Interviews & Conversations Projects Women I've Shot

Women Who Create
This is Barbara Wildenboer

Women Who Create is an ongoing portraiture project all shot in B&W in my studio in Woodstock, Cape Town. I love to connect with other creatives and see what motivates them and find out what is behind their work.

Barbara Wildenboer’s work mostly consists of collage, photo- and paper-construction and digitally animated photographic sculpture. She uses a combination of analogue and digital processes to create work which explores phenomena such as temporality, fractal geometry and the interconnectedness of all living things.

Wildenboer exposes the connections between a myriad of life forms – from the microscopic to the immense. Her main focus is on environmental aesthetics. She sees this as something that not only encompasses natural territories, but as also extending to human interaction with the natural realm.

There is a playful aspect of creating references within other references in the paper sculptures and collages. Using media images and information selected from various sources, Wildenboer constructs an alternate reality.

The three dimensional paper works reflect on how humankind is affected by globalisation, economic upheavals, scarcity, political corruption, wars, epidemics and natural disasters.

The collages are a musing on modern human life and the fragility of the symbiotic relationship between man and the ecology. A nebulous relationship that is jeopardised by consumerism, wastefulness and a sense of disconnection with the natural world.

Why do you create?
I find artmaking to be a very effective medicine to counteract a particular poison. It offers me an efficient way to connect with myself and stay sane.
Favourite quote:
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ” — Aristotle.
What is/are your greatest extravagance/s?
Chocolate. Daily. Plants. They currently bring me much joy. I want to live in a jungle.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Actually. Haha. Both of those actually.
When and where are/where you happiest?
Lying on the warm rocks after an icy sea swim with a certain sea lion.
What is your most treasured possession?
A two-headed African fetish that I got somewhere on the equator while traveling overland 20 years ago.
What does your (physical) creative space look like?
I create wherever I am. This has included my bed, a garden, a waiting room, a queue, a car, a beach, a plane (before the blade got confiscated), and sometimes my studio in Woodstock. I always have a pair of scissors and a scalpel in my handbag.
When creating what is your biggest frustration
Some works feel resolved quite soon but then I choose to continue to work on them until I feel it’s time to stop. But this is not always the case. When I’m interrupted and I have to stop working on something while it still seems unresolved I feel uneasy until I’m able to get back to it. This also applies to life in general I guess.
When you’re in your ultimate creative space what word would you use to describe the process?
Chance / stream-of-consciousness
Name a quirk that others may not know about you?
I make dolphin noises when I’m in a good mood.