Contemporary artist Celia Hadeler grew up in The Hague, the Netherlands surrounded by two creative parents — a German father and a Peruvian mother. As they are both not Dutch, she grew up just in a different way:
‘Since I was a little child I was fascinated by how both families and people, in general, could be so contradictory. My German family was very reserved and introvert while my Peruvian side was extrovert. I have a big admiration for my father and how he became an artist. Back in the days he really had to fight for being an artist. He grew up in the middle of nowhere, without any support, in times after World War II. Despite these hard conditions, he went for it anyway and with full dedication! This story is a reminder to me that you really have to do what you like. To follow your heart and to listen to your gut feeling, even when it is not the easiest way possible.’
In other words, Celia’s father plays a big role in her becoming an artist. As she explains further:
‘He is a very disciplined and talented lithography artist with an incredible eye for details. I guess at the time being mostly surrounded by art; art exhibitions, art students have influenced me a lot. And as an only child, I was easily pleased with a pencil and paper.’
Celia loves and loved making art, although she didn’t expect to go to art school or making a job of it. Ultimately when Celia finished High school, she decided to go to the Royal Academy in the Hague KABK.
Nevertheless, after a year of studies, she realized that something was missing: ‘I am a very analyzing person. Back then I realized that I wanted to think and to approach art in a more conceptual way. So I decided to switch to Graphic Design at the WDKA, Rotterdam.
In fact, It was a huge change and very challenging for me because I dropped in a kind of ‘nerdy class’. Everybody talked only about computer programs and I never used a computer in my life, except for Word program. And I just played and experimented with all those programs, which also happened of lack of patience. By using and clashing all different kinds of computer tools, interesting designs started to pop-up. But when somebody would ask ‘how I made it’, I had no clue. So I think this a bit who I am — a ‘playful’ person.’
Celia fell in love with Fine Arts when she started her studies at the art school. With every assignment, she would become very enthusiastic and excited to work with new materials and techniques. Everything seemed new and at the same time, she felt like everything was possible.
In other words, while Fine Arts gave her the feeling of working freely and thinking in no restrictions. Graphic Design forced her to think more in terms of form and function. She started to search for a way to combine the craft versus technique.
‘I was always asked the question ‘why’? I find it interesting to think about how we as human beings act in certain ways and I ask this question ‘why’. Art is so interwoven and connected with philosophy. A color or a shape, everything has an effect on us. In graphic design, I got closer to that conceptual aspect. For example, using a red dot, I had to answer; Why red, Why round?’
From both studies, Celia learned different skills. KABK was a year of freedom and happiness. Throughout that year she produced all sorts of arts and studied a broad range of techniques. Unlike at WDKA where she mostly learned how to deal with hard critics and defend her ideas.
During her studies at the art academy, she felt confused: ‘Though I studied so hard for it during the internship I directly realized I didn’t want to become a graphic designer. I am not the kind of person who can sit still the whole week behind a computer. So after I finished my studies I decided to go to Peru for 3 months, but not for a holiday. I wanted to work and to experience daily life.
After all, I found work in a creative advertising agency where I designed. Usually, I was a window dresser, while some days I worked together with a friend who was an interior designer. She introduced me to the world of rugs and textiles! In the end, I stayed 1.5 years, it was a very intense period where a learned a lot.’
For Celia, the beginning in Peru turned out to be very rough, a lot of things went as not planned. She wanted to create a new rug or wallhanging, something that didn’t exist yet, an art piece:
‘I produced my first art rug in Peru. I’ve made a complicated design and to use shading in the textiles was not easy to do. By the end of 6 months, I finally saw my finished rug. It was absolutely not the design I had in mind! It opened my eyes because it forced me to come with a new idea. I started to look for a new way to produce my art rugs and a manufacturer close to the Netherlands.’
Celia born and raised in The Hague and is a quite high-sensitive person so she felt like overload in Lima, Peru. Too many impulses appeared: sounds, smells, lights, people, everything was ‘a lot’. At some point, she realized she needed a more neutral and natural environment, something she was used to.
So when she came back to the Netherlands she started to appreciate the Hague so much more than ever before. In particular, her life in a safe city with nearby by the sea and forests. For her, it felt like the freedom to bike again.
At home, still fascinated by the trip to Peru she didn’t stop thinking about rugs. She discovered beautiful old ancient Inca textiles and a lot of colors in general that South America offers:
‘I think previous years I needed more color in life. When I arrived in Peru I wore a lot of black colors. I don’t know why but suddenly I felt almost like a gothic person, although nothing wrong with that. I simply started adding more colors to my life and in particular to my artworks.’
When Celia came back to the Netherlands she had no money or house — she started from scratch. Surrounded by a lot of contrasts she grew up with a simple life thus never felt like missing something:
‘In life, you always need contrasts. For example, whenever my father sold a painting (lithography) the whole family always celebrated it! I think it’s good to not get too much attached to the material things in life. Everything becomes extra if you can appreciate it. I grew up with different cultures and traveled as a kid, which exposed me to new people and situations. It is good to feel humble. I try to translate my personal character and experiences into my work, everything is connected.‘
Celia went through a path with its ups and downs to become a professional artist.
This being said, for her the best experience became life itself: ‘Life is a paradox; it’s beautiful and at the same time challenging. Life consists of contrasts. For example, suffering from heavy migraine seizures. Since the age of 13 it forced me to deal with contrasting extremities. As a coping mechanism, looking for ways to give me peace and quiet, I started making collages, searching and cutting folds and structures in the fashion magazines. Which led to the project Folds.’
From the beginning and as an initial idea, Celia thought to develop and create an art piece, an art rug or wallhanging.
For a long time, Celia searched for a technique that could translate shading into textiles. In particular, she uses dark and white contrasts in all of her art pieces, which our eyes deceive as almost 3D. Trompe-l’oile (French for ‘deceive the eye’) a modern art technique that emphasizes her designs in the right way. In other words, it is a method that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion of depicted objects existing in 3D.
Production of the series Folds starts with a search of an ideal and interesting shape, a fold or a drapery. Sometimes this process takes weeks or months. Celia uses a lot of different kinds of fabrics to find an ideal appearance; the right softness or shininess.
When she finds the right texture she takes a lot of pictures. During a photoshoot, lighting plays an important role as it influences the appearance dramatically. Then she edits the images and prepares the production file. In the end, when everything is ready she sends her design to a producer in Belgium. Who afterward ships it to another company in Holland which specializes in the finishings of a rug. Every art rug must be cut out by hand as Celia Hadeler uses irregular shapes.
She works in an intuitive way with color. Every art rug is different and depends on the choice in folds and colors:
‘Using a specific fabric; more velvet or silky kind adds a certain feeling. For example, the artwork ‘Old Pink’ has very minimal folds and the soft pink color. When ‘Orange Orange’ has very ‘out there’ colors and the bold voluptuous drapery that beams totally different energy.’
Hadeler’s fearless choice of scale and color immediately attract all attention to the art piece, no matter the space size it is presented in. More than that, it transforms the space completely and involves viewers in a game. It makes them wonder if, in fact, the surface is flat.
When in real life, the artworks also may serve as day-to-day floor rugs thankfully to its dense soft pile structure made from polyamide or wool.
To summarize, Celia finds a feeling of peace and calmness in a single piece of a fold, in its abstract and figurative way. The series Folds resulted from her contrasts in life. She creates a new world when shifts the focus of a fold: zoom in and out or play with lighting, color, or texture. With Folds, she translates her perspective on the simple beauty of a fold.