Joep Caenen (b. 1991) is a Dutch artist who graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Maastricht with a BA in Fine Arts in 2019. Since 2018 he has participated in a series of group exhibitions, and the year 2020 has been a flourishing one for the artist, as he took part in many events including CineSud, Limburg Film Festival in Venlo, Bijenkorf at Room on the Roof and Marres and Limburg Biënnalena in Maastricht. 

His artistic practice shifts between painting and installation, with which he gives life to real participatory moments of involvement and social sharing. 


Often finding inspiration in everyday life, Caenen creates works in which he combines moments derived from worldly experiences with childhood memories, particularly those referring to the time he lived in Africa. In his artistic practice, the artist observes objects, moments, people, and environments and goes beyond their form and appearance. His installations - or as he likes to call them, social sculptures - explore the various possibilities of exchange between people and the world, with the primary objective being to involve the audience actively. Simple games and daily activities present in our society often accompany these installations: through the ordinary and the universally accessible, the public is invited to participate, dialogue and experience a moment of sharing. The artwork entitled Wishing Well is an interactive installation that refers to the tradition of throwing a coin in a fountain in exchange for a wish and good luck; inside the fountain, there are pools with signs that read: Patience, Joy, Love and Blessing. These categories are derived from autobiographical experiences that refer to the time the artist has spent in Nigeria and, in particular, to the practice of naming one's child to reflect certain character traits later in life. Wishing Well invites the visitors to take a coin and then choose a pond that attracts them the most: by simply throwing this coin into the pond, they can invoke the corresponding trait for themselves or someone dear. The act of participating in this simple ritual can be considered a broader gesture. As visitors engage with the installation, the number of coins and wishes put towards the artwork grows. The combined energy and concentration create a connection between every desire; together, they represent a perspective, a wish for positivity and a better future. 


Text by Laura Pieri


Wishing Well, 2021