The art of Femmy Otten

The human face is the basis of Dutch artist Femmy Otten’s work and the starting point of her diverse visual associations that go beyond the limits of gender, the classic depiction of women and men in art history, the stereotypes and uncertainty of beauty, the taboos or praise of sexuality, in order to create a new body, both male and female, in an equilibrium untouched by imposed standards, guilt or shame, perfectly natural, a result of an intuitive and meditative process.

The sculptures rising directly from the wall, an excellent liaison and representation of time and space, show figures reminding of ancient gods and totems, with no emotion or gesture that may alter their arresting appearance and permanence, with a powerful gaze in search of something perennial and different from our narrow understanding, while also emitting a magnetic energy and fascinating confidence, thus amplifying the mysterious nature of their unexpected presence in our world and their unknown, perhaps mythological roots as well.

Attached to the portrait is sometimes the body, with the absence of certain parts, a mutation, exchange or addition of elements to further intrigue the viewer. The choice for wood as primary material highlights the organic connection between what is revealed before us, what the work stands for and the source of its existence. At the same time, the erotic postures, bold references and strange rituals generate a combination between light and heat – both penetrate and exhale, manifesting as burden and also as escape.

Femmy Otten

Studio view, 2015


Untitled, 2015/2016, lime wood, 120 x 60 x 50 cm

FemmyOtten - Untitled, 2014

Untitled, 2014, lime wood, 42 × 13 × 17 cm (photography: G.J. van Rooij)

FemmyOtten - Yellow Minutes, 2012

‘Yellow Minutes’, 2012, lime wood, plaster and tempera on the wall, size of two persons

FemmyOtten - Untitled, 2012

Untitled (detail), 2012 (installation at Rijksakademie Amsterdam), plaster, oil colour, tempera

FemmyOtten - Untitled, 2010

‘The seven joys of Mary’, 2010, lime wood, oil colour, plaster


‘Rearranging the sky’, 2013, oil on canvas, 39 × 49 cm (photography: G.J. van Rooij)


Studio view, 2016

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Images courtesy of Fons Welters and Femmy Otten.

Find out more on her website.