Between March 12 and 28, 2021, poetic light art by Anne Fie Salverda could be seen on the windows of the Baptist Church in Balk. Every evening when it started to get dark, until curfew, the windows inside lighted up and dragged you into stories of movement and light.
Spring! was a series of two animations by Anne Fie Salverda, a young artist from Leeuwarden. Anne Fie makes animations, performances and sound art. Spring! was conceived and produced by Media Art Friesland at the request of Podium Gorter, the foundation that organizes cultural activities in the church.
MOVEMENT AND EMOTION
The first series of images of Spring! was born out of a spontaneous collaboration with artists who were staying at the residency in Blanca at the same time. “Besides myself, there were seven other artists there, all women. It was a cool place with beautiful spaces to work in, and it was very international. The two girls who dance in my film were from Chile.”
Anne Fie immediately felt a connection between her own work and that of the South American dancers, between movement and emotion. “The two ladies inspired me with their work, they improvised a lot with movement. And I was just fascinated to see people who also use their own emotions in their work, but not in the way I do – so not visually but with movements as a means of expression.”
FROM FILM TO ANIMATION
The personal was an important starting point for Anne Fie’s award-winning graduate project. After creating an animated figure of herself for that work, Anne Fie became interested in continuing to transform other people into abstract images. “The dancers are more like a rotoscoping technique. So, you film the people or the subjects, and you just draw over them frame by frame.”
For Anne Fie, this transition from film to animation is much more than a technical step. She not only wants to capture the world around her, but also to make something new that extends to the edge of her imagination and comfort zone. “I’m always creating a little bit of my own world,” she says. In the resulting animation, the softness of Anne Fie’s lines magically melds into movement. A background of stars creates a dreamy, sparkling effect.
INSPIRATION FROM THE FRISIAN NATURE
For the second phase of the project Spring! Anne Fie reached into her personal archive by building on her love for the Frisian landscape. “I have always loved nature and bird watching. When I think of the Wadden Sea, of the space with mudflats and tides, I always think of a lot of little seabirds roaming the sea.” Anne Fie first tried animating birds in a collaboration with Frisian poet Eeltsje Hettinga and musician Kanako Inoue about the Wadden Sea. After that work, it was a natural choice to adapt these images for the Baptist Church in Balk, because birds also remind her of the changing of the seasons.
“When I think of spring, I also think of the geese leaving for the north. They always pack their bags and go. I always think of the geese, of the sounds they make in the air as they leave.”
If there is enough grass to survive on during their journey, they know it’s time to leave. Similarly, in Anne Fie’s animation, spring is heralded by the budding vegetation. “I’m very much into plants, so that’s another link to my old inspiration.”
Each of Anne Fie’s images alludes to a story: a collection of memories, thoughts and images. But ultimately, it’s not just about the narrative content of the animation. “As an artist, I am still looking for the way to exhibit my work.” explains Anne Fie. “In a museum or gallery, I always resort to showing things on a projector, but that’s not really the kind of connection I want to make with a person looking at my work.”