Untitled, from 'Composition with Sisters'

Untitled, from 'Composition with Sisters'

Untitled, from 'Composition with Sisters'

Untitled, from 'The Unsent Postcard Series'

Untitled, from 'The Unsent Postcard Series'

Untitled, from 'The Unsent Postcard Series'

Untitled, from 'The Unsent Postcard Series'

Untitled, from 'The Unsent Postcard Series'

Untitled, from 'The Unsent Postcard Series'

Untitled, from 'The Unsent Postcard Series'


Plovmand is a visual Artist who puts a great emphasis on process. She works with paintings, objects, photography and found imagery as constructions and structures, often using a particular collage technique where she paints, cuts up, over-paints and moves around pieces. Her work is often thematically related and cross-pollination of physical aspects between her projects is very common and part of her overall practice, suggesting a symbiotic relationship between the artworks. Inspired by psychoanalysis and the concept of hysteria, Plovmand thrives to balance her work method by shifting between controlling the process and giving up control. Her creative formation becomes a playful struggle between the unconscious process and the management of conscious decisions. By creating work that contains familiar aspects that subsequently manifest themselves as uncanny constructions, her artworks strives to question the enigma of fantasy and desire.

Lately Plovmand has been working on a new body of work The Unsent Postcard series -a collection that explores subjective perceptions and ideas relating to the concept of reality. Inspired by Lacan’s take on “The Unsent letter” the work focuses on a series of found, unsent postcards, as the starting point and as a way to investigate and transform psychological experiences related to the act of travelling both in a physical and symbolic understanding of the concept. The work manifests itself as constructed souvenirs stemming from emotional experiences embedded within fundamental psychological references. In all of Plovmand’s work, themes such as relationships, constructions, otherness, totems and emotional memories inform and construct her layered aesthetic.


Wendy Plovmand interviewed by Niccolò Fano


Niccolò Fano: Let’s start from when we both enrolled on the Fine Art MA at Central Saint Martins in 2009. Tell us about the road that took you there.

Wendy Plovmand: The MA at Central Saint Martins was a major turning point in my artistic career. I finally got to pursue what I always felt like doing – working with Fine Art full time. For a couple of years I had interest in finishing a second MA within the Fine Arts to develop my work, get challenged by fellow artists, thinkers and professors. I believe it’s a huge privilege to study –you often don’t realize this when you are very young but once you get older –studying just becomes an exceptional opportunity to focus 100% on your interests without having to worry about anything else. A good friend of mine recommended Byam Shaw at Central Saint Martins in London and after doing an interview there I knew it would be the right course for me: the combination of Philosophy and Art was perfectly in line with my interests.

My family mostly counts labour workers – so I first became aware of my artistic urge after watching a television program in 1987 about the world famous Danish fashion designer Erik Mortensen –from then on I instinctively knew where to look and started to follow my interests in the creative field. I guess I always had a creative urge for something that at the time was undefined. At a young age, I got the opportunity to work with the world famous Utzon family in Denmark and Spain. One thing followed the other and suddenly I had a BA in Fashion and an MA in Graphic Design from The Royal Danish Academy of Arts. I met good people in the business – founded a design studio which quickly grew a lot of attention and our work gained great international acclaim. I was headhunted to work as the Art Director of the leading Danish fashion magazine. The years just flew by but nevertheless I always took time to work on my art projects, which were all very well received. I guess I could have chosen to follow my artistic career 10 years ago but for me this has been the right way to approach it. I am an artist and an entrepreneur and I get a lot of ideas along the road. Being an artist or creative is a way of living –it’s not only about your work. Therefore I have been moving around in the creative field before finally taking the step into a full time art career.


NF: Your work is informed by a wide selection of mediums with the use of sculpture, illustration, painting and photography. How did you form your methodology and what is the driving factor pushing your creations?

WP: My work is informed by a number of things. Having an expanded work experience within the creative fields allows me to work with many different methods and medias. Overall my work reflects my diverse background; I work with construction and image structure, paintings and objects. I construct and use a collage technique, where I paint, cut up, over-paint and move around pieces. I often translate elements from one work in another, therefore creating a symbiotic relationship between the two. As an artist I find my work to be driven by exploration, curiosity and process. The driving factor behind it all is the merging of process, thought, materials, intuition and personal history that creates something quite unique, yet something that questions a specific social condition or experience that is then shared with the audience.


NF: Your use of colour seems to be an element that translates across your numerous projects, regardless of the subject matter and medium. What is your connection to this particular feature?

WP: With a background in the Graphic Design field, colors have always been a very important part of my work. Colour to me is like language – intuitively I compose with colours. Composition and the dynamic of an image are heavily dependent on the relationship between colours. I strive for a balance or unbalance – a combination that perhaps irritates, annoys or make one curious.


NF: You have recently focused on photography for your series The Unsent Postcard. Tell us about this body of work and what prompted the decision to use photography as your primary medium and more specifically the postcard?

WP: The Unsent Postcard series is an ongoing project I started to work on last year. When moving between studios I came across a selection of old postcards I had collected 10 years earlier from flee markets. I had labeled them Spectacular Postcards. At that time I was working on a group exhibition called Paper Match and one of the guidelines was to somehow use paper, either in it’s physical or philosophical form.

Working with paper is an inspiration –I instantly thought about letters; the ones we write or do not write anymore and the postcard as a visual manifestation of our lives and adventures. My profound interest in the concept of the ‘Unsent’ is inspired by Lacan’s idea of the unsent letter. Lacan argues that ‘The Unsent letter is a subjective truth and therefore too precious to be entrusted to the gaze of the actual addressee’.  And therefore ‘the unsent letter/postcard precisely reaches its true destination because it is never sent’. It’s all about the unspoken truth.

The starting point for The Unsent Postcard series is a carefully selected group of found postcards that serve as a departure to investigate and transform subjective experiences related to the act of travelling both in a physical and symbolic/psychological understanding of this act. The works relate to an unconscious psychological journey through what is real and what is subjective. The cliché images from the postcards reflect both the dream and the illusion of life in the depicted locations. The countries and their history blend with the cliché – the crowded, glorified holiday resort. This is precisely where my interest in the project manifests itself, lying in between the pop culture commonplaces and a psychotherapeutic symbolism that leads to the questioning of true and false, the familiar and the unknown. The whole idea of The Unknown in the Well Known or The Well Known in The Unknown is essential to the project.


NF: In The Unsent Postcard series, landscapes, portraits and still life are merged together creating a layered aesthetic. Many of the images are made to look somewhat unrecognizable and abstract. Tell us about this aesthetic choice. Layers are like skin – we live within layers of truth, the subjective versus the objective. How many layers must we unveil to understand the real meaning of truth? To me it’s about investigating and asking questions.

In my work I draw lines between recognizable objects & places and aestheticise the undiscovered by twisting parts of the image. It can be a simple little act of remodeling an image or changing something unexpected quite abruptly –a small change that changes everything. The end result is abstract imagery that appears to be remotely recognizable yet uncanny in terms of referencing the unconscious and the symbolic.


NF: It’s always interesting to have a glimpse into what an artist – that doesn’t use photography as a primary tool – thinks of the photographic medium. How would you describe your relationship with photography?

WP: For me photography is a medium and a material I use like I use paint or paper. I also use it to document a piece of work or employ it as an artistic act. For instance I had to dump a huge sculpture when moving from London back to Copenhagen: I photographed the gesture and it became a new piece of work. Photographs supply me with a bridge to reality and allow me to work with imagery in a way that enables us to question truth and fiction. Recently I’ve been working on a series of photographs staging sculptural elements of my paintings in different locations  – the Swedish wood for example. With this particular project I am interested in investigating photography’s capability of representing a heavy gesture. I like the idea that the final art work is a single photographic print and condensed in the photo is all the effort of a painting, a sculpture, a stage, a location.

In The Unsent Postcard series and Composition with Sisters I use photographic material as a resource and starting point for an investigation of a place, a condition or a construction. I am interested in what happens when you change the history of an image. How can you change it without eliminating its initial relevance and meaning? I recently encountered the work of Matt Lipps and Sara Vanderbeek who both work with found images (photographs from books and magazines) and sculpture creating very captivating constructions.


NF: Has your recent focus on photography changed your view on the medium?

WP: I see a lot of potential in photography in relation to my own work. I feel the medium is somehow more accessible and relevant to me than ever before. I have worked with photography early in my career but it never felt coherent at that stage. By using found images and working with them as I work with painting and other media, photography suddenly seems to offer a new dimension to my artistic practice.


NF: You now live and work in Denmark and seem to be juggling your artistic career quite well whilst simultaneously having a family and working on a number of separate creative projects. How important is creative versatility in terms of allowing your career to proliferate without deviating too much from your artistic goals?

WP: Well that is always the challenging part isn’t it? I choose to work on meaningful projects by being selective. A good project is an inspiring one and one that pays your rent at the same time. I need to make a living and I have chosen not to see, manoeuvring in between artistic fields, as an issue and I don’t regard working on commercial projects as a problem. I feel very lucky to be able to make a living by working on creative projects rather than having to do something entirely different. Having 2 small kids also makes you very effective and focused because you don’t have the luxury of endless hours in the studio. I like to work with tight deadlines and under pressure – I am a bit of a work sadist I guess.


NF: Tell us about New Shelter Plan, the new gallery you just set up in Copenhagen.

WP: I am very excited about this new project. Together with 3 other Artists I have founded New Shelter Plan – a contemporary,  non-profit exhibition space dedicated to challenging the existing Danish art scene. It’s an unusual 200 m2 exhibition space -a former part of a huge industrial storage space in the old Carlsberg district in Copenhagen.

Our primary focus is new contemporary art by showcasing up and coming as well as established international Artists working in a wide range of media. We especially encourage concepts that challenge the art scene and projects that offer the artist a chance to explore new artistic avenues. New Shelter Plan distinguishes itself from other artist run exhibition spaces by the constellation of an advisory board (that counts curators, writers, artists and head of exhibitions) that meets 4 times a year and selects which exhibition proposals to accommodate, from the open calls. Our aim is to consolidate a vibrant, dynamic and engaging exhibition space that is able to maintain flexibility and energy throughout the exhibition program.


NF: Will you be using photography again after the experience with your recent full immersion? What is your focus and plans for the immediate future?

WP: In terms of exhibitions I am planning a solo show in Rome and a Group Show in Copenhagen. After a great number of independent projects, curatorial work and some commercial commissions – I really look forward to immerse into my own work for a while. I get new ideas all the time -so spending most of the time in my studio for the next couple of months will be essential to develop my projects –I am always working on several projects at once. We are working on a publication in relation to our most recent New Shelter Plan show, GamingGaming that featured a few pieces from The Unsent Postcard series. It will be reminiscent of an exhibition catalogue because we will include process related material form the artist’s creation processes. It will include notes, sketches, comments, thoughts and whatever additional material the artists have used to achieve the final result showcased in GamingGaming. The publication will include texts by Art critic Lisbeth Bonde, Dr. Vanda Playford and Barry Phipps, fellow at Cambridge University and curator at Kettle’s yard.

In the immediate future I will be working on a mural commission for a 160 m2 facade painting of a Copenhagen urban structure –we will start the work early May when the temperature in Copenhagen is more permissive.


WP Portrait


Wendy Plovmand graduated with an MA in Fine Art (Distinction) from Central Saint Martins School of Art in 2010. The same year she was shortlisted for Future Maps 2010, chosen as Finalist in Scope Miami 2010 & as Finalist in the Celeste Art Prize 2010. Plovmand additionally holds an MA from The Royal Danish Academy of Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation. Her work has been awarded grants from Danish Art Council, Knud Højgaards Foundation, L.F. Foght Foundation and Politiken Foundation.

Wendy has exhibited her work internationally and is one of four founders of New Shelter Plan – a contemporary art venue in central Copenhagen and she has curated several group exhibitions in Copenhagen.