photo artist Carina Wagenaar

Artist Carina Wagenaar (NL, 1969) graduated from the Amsterdam University of the Arts. Her life-sized medallions are intriguing wall objects. These unique crossovers in art, fashion and design are inspired by cameos, small medallions, lace, relics and narrative symbolism. Expressions of feelings, thoughts, spirituality and world events are translated into these large works of art. Her work is highly appreciated internationally and has been seen in recent years in Milan, New York, Paris, London, Florence, Dubai, and various places in the Netherlands.

Carina introduced her luxurious medallion artworks to the art and design loving world. In every unique work she creates, her vision of the importance of details can be found. Historically, the shape of the medallion has been linked to a way of preserving valuable and personal things. She translates information into a new 3D world behind semicircular acrylic glass.

If you look closely at the contents of the medallions you will enter a new world. These modern cameos come into being using all the abundance we have on this earth. With a view to sustainability, it is very important to recreate from this abundance. The medallion artworks are made up of all kinds of known and lesser known objects. Telling stories, creating new worlds and marveling people is something she likes to do. Within her works Wagenaar combines nostalgic feelings with both classic and modern, playful and tough elements.

There are plenty of stories to tell and themes to work with. For example, she has created a series based on human processes. Periods everyone experiences in a similar way. Titles such as ‘Personal Identity’ and ‘Faith’ refer to this.

Everyday stories also attract her attention. In the works known as ‘Can we flush it’ and ‘Same Source Frequency’, she lets people think about the situation in the world. She invites the viewer to take a good look and record all the details. It is the art of zooming in and out.

International appreciation

In 2016, she made a rigorous decision to present her work to the world. After years of hard work and developing her ideas, she felt the time was right. Her first exhibition abroad was in Italy. She chose for the art and design loving city of Milan. A month later she presented her work in New York, followed by Paris and -at Paul Smith’s store- in London. Shortly afterwards she exhibited works in a gallery in Florence, her work was shown in the Hamptons in New York and she presented her work in Dubai.

Her strong interest in history brought her to a new theme. As with the shape of the medallion, in which you would like to preserve something from the past, she combined ancient Egyptian wisdom with modern ideas in a new way.

Also works arose inspired by historical figures from the Dutch Golden Age. About Elizabeth Stuart, aka the Winter Queen, and Frederik Hendrik, The Prince of Orange and Stadholder of the Netherlands. Two important aristocrats who have meant a lot for the international development of art and culture in the Netherlands at the time. Still a part of Dutch DNA.

These wall jewels contain many details about their personality, appearance and life. They were shown during the first edition of Masterly in 2018 in The Hague as well as in April 2019 in Milan. Since that time, these life-sized medallion artworks were also noticed by colleagues from Russia and China. The prestigious Saatchi Gallery in London has also selected photos of her works for several times. These are shown on a large screen in the gallery in London.

The Netherlands

In the meantime, more attention is being paid to Wagenaar’s work in the Netherlands. She has previously exhibited in the Kazerne in Eindhoven, during Salon Residence in the Singer in Laren and with various high-end interior architects in Rotterdam, The Hague, Stompetoren and in Amstelveen.

In September 2019 Carina collaborated with the high-end department store De Bijenkorf in a beautiful shop window. Here she showed two of her works combined with a master painting from the 17th century. During this second edition of Masterly the Hague also new works were exhibited in this royal city. Medallion artworks inspired by the images of royalty on playing cards. The ‘Queen of Hearts’, ‘King of Hearts’ and ‘Jack of Hearts’, as being part of her ‘Royal Card Collection’.

Art Award

In 2020 her work is awarded by Build Magazine as ‘Most Innovative Object D’Art Interior Decor Artist 2020’.


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