Author Archives: WOW

  1. Duologue with Natacha Mankowski

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    After graduating with a master’s degree in architecture at École Speciale d’Architecture, Natacha Mankowski (1986, FR) worked with Vito Acconci, Jean Nouvel, Anne Demians, and Dominique Perrault. In 2012, Natacha won the Tony Garnier Prize for Architecture and Urbanism awarded by the Académie Française d’Architecture. From 2014 onwards, she became a member of the Taylor Foundation. That same year she makes a U-turn into art and begins her first art residency of many.

    “I was just missing creating on the day to day. With architecture, you have such a long span of time until you get something built. It’s also a very administrative work. I didn’t feel totally myself. (…) In a way, I entered painting through space. I was studying a lot of abandoned buildings, empty rooms, and I would draw that. I used architecture as a way to paint, and I still do. When I go on residencies, I visit specific spaces: quarries, dry docks, big empty structures built by humans in nature. It began with this idea of looking for unwanted architecture or resulting from the hand of man. I would paint that, and I still do. (…) I was never someone who was based somewhere. Every two-three months I would go on residencies. This is how I started my work as a painter because I never had an art education in college … So I decided I would teach myself through those residencies. I tricked the system a bit, but in a good way! I entered this residency about urbanism and public space using my architecture portfolio. Arriving there I said ‘okay I am just going to paint spaces’. I switched the whole perspective of my work but they were really open-minded with this.”

    Photo: Roman Ermolaev

    Her work shows the transition from Natacha as an architect to Natacha as an artist. Initially, her focus lies on creating an architectural space on the canvas. There is a gradual shift of focus towards the texture and the materials she uses. Now, she usually mixes sand, clay, and marble powder in the oil paint. It makes for a thick paste-like texture.

    “I think it’s going more and more towards ‘sculpted painting’, if you could call it that. I’m very much interested in how you can make a mark in the painting: with your fingers, with instruments – a bit like you would play as a kid with modelling clay – very raw, very brute. (…) I am trying to use the painting not as an object but as a wall or as something you could enter into. I am not sure yet of how it’s going to look. (…) I also started to work on the idea of the frame. This [frame] is literally the same texture as the painting. I use clay, or I mix oil, wax, marble powder, or whatever I find on the ground, [dried] flowers, pigments, and then I melt them. Depending on the quantity of oil it becomes soft or hard. You can sculpt it or model it. I just put my fingers into it to stretch it and even I use my shoe. I’m trying to recreate what you find on the floor of the place I visit and take it into the painting or the frame. Basically, the frames are made from the same [material] as the paint. (…) I am trying to go beyond the limit of the canvas (…).”

    Photo: Roman Ermolaev

    During her first residency in Amsterdam (and the Netherlands), Natacha has easily integrated into the Amsterdam art scene. Last year, Florence Parot, one of the curators of Play Station Sloterdijk, reached out to Natacha. The two met during Florence’s curatorship at Centre Pompidou in Paris. With Natacha’s background in architecture, making art in the public space of station Sloterdijk fits within her practice. The result is The Square, an architectural diorama on the NS depot, which leaves the viewer wondering: what takes place inside? Since then, she has had group shows at ISO and De School, collaborated with sculptor Alexis Bondoux, and is currently working on a series on Andalucía.

    “This series [Andalucía] is strange. I lost my grandmother in April this year. She was a pillar in my life. I did this series on the region where she used to live and where I started to paint when I was with her. It was a personal story that I wanted to tell. (…) Sometimes you have all these ideas of how you want to honour a person when they die. Sometimes I would see myself knowing what to say at their funeral because she was such a special person. So I envisioned this and when you can’t have this, you still want to honour this person. Then you just do it the way you do it best. You use your art to push yourself to remember this person, and how you can honour them differently. [My grandmother] lived in Andalucía. She was English, and she travelled a lot. I visited her many times. When you are alone with somebody, you develop intimacy. I was really able to paint with her and experiment. She wasn’t an artist per se, but she always was very supportive of the Arts. She had really strong opinions – even if she would change her mind – she would always be vocal about them. I think this is part of being an artist: believing and fighting for your ideas – sometimes being intense about it – but just going for it. I think I learned that from her.”

    What is next for Natacha Mankowski?

    “I recently went to the island of Evia in Greece. There are hot springs there. The whole floor is made of clay and you can bathe on it. Hot water comes out of the ground at 50-60 degrees. It’s extremely hot but because it’s next to the sea, the two waters mix to create this strange communion of two worlds. It really looks special. I would like to do a new series about this place.”

    Photo: Roman Ermolaev

    “I have all these ideas but I think it needs context.”

    Visit Natacha Mankowski’s website

    Photography by Roman Ermolaev

    Written by Nilsu Göçer

  2. WOW LIEVEN: new living space for creative talent!

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    40 brand new artist resindecies in Delflandpleinbuurt

    Housing association De Key is developing the project Lieven in the area between the Vlaardingenlaan, the Maassluisstraat, the Overschiestraat, and the Voorburgstraat in the Delflandpleinbuurt in Amsterdam New West. This is happening in eight different parts (Lieven 1 to 8), each which consist of different types of residential areas for about 1200 starters between the ages of 18 and 27. The whole project is expected to be finished by 2021.
    On 2 October 2019, phase 4 of the living project Lieven will be delivered: WOW Lieven. Following WOW Amsterdam, and in collaboration with Bureau Broedplaatsen, WOW Lieven will also become a creative hotspot where temporary housing (max. 5 years) is offered to 40 artists.

    Creative Hub

    WOW Lieven will have her own creative programme with two gallery spaces where exhibitions and performances will be organised, from artists active in different creative disciplines (like music, fashion, film, theatre, dance).
    On the ground floor, there will be a laundromat – adjacent to a gallery space, and a hospitality space with flex workspaces and a shared dining concept, where (local) residents can cook and eat together for an affordable price. There is a common courtyard for residents of WOW Lieven.
    Also, in WOW Lieven there will be a learn-work trajectory set up, in collaboration with the ROC and with House of Hospitality, for young people distanced from the workforce. WOW Lieven has the ambition to play a positive and a unifying role in the neighbourhood.

    Practical Information

    WOW Lieven offers 40 living spaces where ready to graduate or recently graduated artists can live for a maximum of 5 years. Tenants of WOW Lieven can receive housing allowance under certain conditions.
    There are 2 types of studios:

    1. 36 studios of ± 43 m2 with a monthly rent of € 653,24 incl. service fees.
      a. Studio: 38 m2
      b. Bathroom: 4 m2
      c. Balcony: 4 m2
      d. Accessible by elevator
      e. Service fees: € 45,78
      f. Rent: € 607,46 (excl. service fees)
      g. Maximum income with 1 person € 22.700, with 2 persons € 30.825
      h. Suitable for 1 or 2 households
    2. 4 studios of ± 46 m2 with a monthly rent of € 766,20 incl. service fees.
      a. Studio: 31.5 m2
      b. Vide: 9.5 m2
      c. Bathroom: 5.3 m2
      d. Balcony: 4 m2
      e. Accessible by elevator
      f. Service fees: € 45,78
      g. Rent: € 720,42 (excl. service fees)
      h. Minimum income with 1 person: € 22.701, with 2 persons: € 30.825
      i. Maximum income: 38.035
      j. Suitable for 1 or 2 households


    • Aspirant-tenants must be in the possession of a positive mark for the CAWA-test. For more information, see the conditions for the CAWA-artistry. Positive results will be forwarded to De Key. IMPORTANT: notify bureau AVA per email of your application: Candidates have to enter address 68 (type 1) or address 140 (type 2) after having uploaded their portfolio.
    • At the beginning of their lease, aspirant-tenants must be younger than 28 years.
    • Aspirant-tenants sign a 5-year lease agreement with De Key.
    • When signing the lease agreement, aspirant-tenants must be in the possession of a IB-60 form, to be requested from the Belastingdienst via DigiD or by phone via 0800-0543.
    • Aspirant-tenants from outside Amsterdam must be in the possession of a Historical Excerpt (Historisch Uittreksel), to be requested from the municipality where the tenant is registered.
    • Aspirant-tenants must be in the possession of Lessor Statement from a previous lessor, in which it is stated that an independent housing is vacated. Tenants that own a house have to submit an official mandate to sell their current housing.
    • In the event of divorce or separation, a court ruling is requested.

    WOW Lieven is an inspiring place where different groups of people can meet each other, and where artists can work and live in a creative environment. As a tenants, you are expected to make a positive contribution to this intended atmosphere.


    Are you interested in an artist residency in WOW Lieven and can you meet the requested conditions?
    Send your application (CV, motivation letter, portfolio) as soon as possible to

    How to apply to CAWA in 6 steps:

    1. Fill in the form to register for Ateliers en Broedplaatsen Amsterdam (ABA)
    2. Pay a fee of €25,-
    3. After ABA receives your payment, you will get an email with your login info to your account
    4. Upload your portfolio and fill in your application for the CAWA-test (basistoets)
    5. Send an email to, in which you tell them that you uploaded your portfolio and that you’d like to register to WOW Lieven. Mention “address 68” for type 1 (the smaller studio) or “address 140” for type 2 (the bigger studio). CC
    6. Once ABA filed your application, they will ask you to send your motivation letter and your tax assessment (belastingaanslag) to

    Your job is done. All you have to do now is wait for the results…

  3. City Circles Amsterdam

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    21 and 22 June | WOW Gallery

    In collaboration with Irene Fortuyn, Ketter&Co and Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE), WOW presents City Circles Amsterdam during the WeMakeTheCity Festival.

    City Circles is a project investigating the human factor within an urban circle with a diametre of one kilometre. City Circles inspires, activates and shows the ability and resilience of man to shape their lives in any given urban microclimate. After City Circles in Athens, Madrid and Istanbul, this year Rotterdam and Amsterdam hosted City Circles.

    Over the past months, six WOW Artist in Residence and eleven students of DAE researched the Kolenkitbuurt based on the following themes: Learning, Food, Materiality, Craftsmanship, Flora/Fauna, Human Interaction, Rituals, Economy, Flow.

    Friday, June 21st the new WOW Gallery opens its doors to the public specially for the City Circles Amsterdam exhibition. The results of the investigations in the Kolenkit will be shown in a variety of media.

    On June 21 and 22 a variety of excursions guided by the researchers, will take you into the neighbourhood. Curious to find out the best place in the Kolenkit to sing out loud? Or are you interested in an intimate tour of the architectural highlights of the hood? Join us on Friday, June 21st at 17:00 for the opening of City Circles Amsterdam.


    WOW Artist in Residence

    Kristina Daurova / Arie de Fijter / Louis Hothothot / Miyuki Inoue / Tom Kemp / Monica Mays

    DAE Students

    Jade Badra / Aurelie Defez / Hao Du / Daniel Laufs / Britt Peeters / Janneke Schouten / Imke Sloos / Filips Staņislavskis / Ignacio Subias / Lola Tual / Marvin Unger