Stef on Stef

In my work I investigate the interplay between individuals and the masses. I give expression to this process by creating collections from individual elements, with rhythm, structure and order as guiding principles.

The order found in nature, which fits together so marvellously in patterns and endless variation, is a great inspiration in my work – patterns found in a red cabbage sliced in half, a zebra’s stripes, pomegranate seeds, cloud formations, a honeycomb, ridges in the sand, crystals, a school of fish, broad beans, shells on the beach, birch forests, flocks of birds, a carpet of leaves – these move me and fascinate me over and over again.

People, too, provide countless inspiring collections: of tiled floors, fish displayed at the market, filled bookcases, brick walls, stacks of  folded linen, piled-up vegetables and fruit, handwriting, skyscrapers, music scores and traffic patterns. And then there are the crowds of people…

What interests me is the interplay between uniformity and diversity, between order and confusion, between symmetry and asymmetry.

It’s always a great surprise how one small part can change the whole; a small shift in colour, form, material or rhythm can cause great variation.

I am fascinated by the regularity of irregularities in swarms, flocks, herds, schools and crowds. I keep asking myself questions, such as when is an animal (or person) acting as an individual and when can it be called a collective? And does a collective function as one whole, like one individual? How can you retain your individuality when working in collaboration?

My fascination for people’s life stories also fits within the framework of my investigation into the individual aspect of people in plurality – their behaviour, their contact with each other and their cooperation.This involvement can be made visible through the donation of a cherished object that becomes a building block in an artwork such as the Monument of Consolation or the Wailing Wall of Lonely Socks, as well as via a physical contribution such as in the work Six Degrees of Separation.