See News

University of Twente shortlists three artists for new iconic landmark

The University of Twente aims at revealing a new work of art on the university campus in 2021, at the occasion of its 60th Birthday. For that, the UT has invited artists to come up with creative ideas for a new iconic landmark. Three artists have been selected to present a proposal, after being selected from 55 candidates.

Until 31 December, Dutch artists (or artists that work and live in the Netherlands) had the opportunity to submit a first draft proposal. There were no restrictions to the proposal. No specific distinction was made in discipline, medium, art type, the field of expertise and interest or materials to be used. Also, there were no guidelines for the type of project to be submitted. Artists were asked to motivate why the artwork would be of additional value to the UT campus and how it fits specifically in this period of time. A connection with technology was considered a bonus. Also, the project needs to be sustainable, with an expected life span of sixty years. The project proposals were judged on quality. By doing so, the CAAC, the art committee of the University of Twente underlines the pluralism and inclusiveness that is in the nature of visual arts, design and cultural heritage.

In total, over 50 proposals were submitted, showing a great deal of diversity and innovation. The CAAC took all proposals into consideration and carefully weighed the proposals. Three proposals were selected to match the most to the predetermined criteria. The UT’s Executive Board took over the advice of the CAAC.

Selected artists

The three selected artists are: Atelier van Lieshout, Studio PolyLester and Yvonne Dröge Wendel

-          Atelier Van Lieshout: Sculptor Joep van Lieshout was born in Ravenstein, The Netherlands, in 1963. In 1995 he established Atelier Van Lieshout, where he has been creating artworks over the past three decennia. Van Lieshout creates art on the intersection of art, design and architecture and recurring themes are systems, power, life, sex, death and in the individual versus the whole. Atelier Van Lieshout received international acknowledgement for sculptural installations with a controversial, sinister and playful tone.
Joep van Lieshout: “Art and Science are inseparable. The past, the current time and the future of society are formed through them. For the anniversary of the University of Twente, I would like to establish a work in which the importance of research and art are melted together.”

-          Studio PolyLester: Established by Gabriel Lester in 2013, is an atelier that focusses on art, public sculptures, architectural interventions, landscaping, interior, scenography, and more. Gabriel Lester has been working in a variety of art disciplines, including installations, performance and film. His artworks stem from a desire for storytelling and construct environments that support these stories or represent their own narrative interpretation. After his studies at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, his artworks became what could be characterized as cinematographic, without necessarily involving film or video. These type of works of art rarely convey an explicit message or a single idea, but rather represent ways of relating to the world and wondering which mechanisms and components form our perception and understanding of it.
Gabriel Lester: “Stopping time, capturing movement and momentum in a sculpture. This creates a parallel universe; a frozen moment that you can walk around or pass by, but also stop at.”

-          Yvonne Dröge Wendel (born Karlsruhe, 1961) lives and works in Amsterdam. She was educated at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and was affiliated with the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten Amsterdam (1993-1994) and the Delfina Studios in London (2002-2003). As a visual artist, she is a PhD candidate at the University of Twente. She is also head of the visual arts department at the Rietveld Academy and teaches the master's program Contextual Design at the Design Academy Eindhoven. The motivation behind her work is tangible and visibly present: in a playful, philosophical way, Dröge Wendel investigates how objects and people influence each other.
Yvonne Dröge Wendel: “A better environment is not achieved by producing more and better objects. What we need is a new attitude towards things, based on insight into the active role that things have.”

The three selected artists will have three months to develop their proposals into a more advanced version. After, the University of Twente will select one of the three project proposals to proceed with. Within one-and-a-half year, it should be possible to realise the iconic artwork, so it can be revealed by November 2021.

More information

For more information, visit the website of the CAAC. Further questions can be addressed to Jessica Voorwinde or Judith Öfner, via

L.P.W. van der Velde MSc (Laurens)
Spokesperson / press officer (available Mon, Wed-Fri)