Wervel / Turmoil
Wervel / Turmoil
Wervel / Turmoil
Wervel / Turmoil
Wervel / Turmoil
Wervel / Turmoil
Wervel / Turmoil
Wervel / Turmoil
Wervel / Turmoil
Wervel / Turmoil
Wervel / Turmoil
Wervel / Turmoil

Wervel / Turmoil [2019]

Wervel [Turmoil], is a flowing 20-metre long double-sided videosculpture based on the formal qualities of a tornado and a representation of turbulence in the form of the sculpture. The public art sculpture is saturated in intense colours achieved through video and LED light and follows the architectural contours of the Forum Garage beneath the newly built Forum Groningen by NL Architects in the city centre of Groningen.

Wervel [Turmoil] shows a range of colourful and digitally composed videos that originate from natural phenomena such as turbulence and fluid dynamics and the scientific processes behind them. It shows transitions of colour and nebulous forms undulating across different dynamics of viscosity and fluidity, revealing mesmerising abstract images and organic visual patterns. The visuals are immersed in, what Assmann refers to as hypercolours, which she finds both in nature and the digital colour spectrum, and are characteristic for her work.

Phenomena as turbulence and fluid dynamics create patterns that recur at a microscopic, macroscopic, and cosmic level and Assmann is inspired by visual patterns that arise from such phenomena. The work is inspired by the colourful turbulent patterns that occur in her previous works with liquid soap films, by fire tornadoes that are fuelled by forest fires, as by turbulence seen on a larger scale; such as turbulent patterns seen in solar storms and centuries lasting super tornadoes on the planetary atmosphere of Jupiter, as in the chaotic flow patterns and vortices in fluids, air and eroded into our earth’s surface that multi-spectrum telescopes and space probes can now reveal.

Years of collecting related images and videos viewed at different scales resulted in a personal database and are used by Assmann as input for the two specifically custom-built video synthesizers based on the same principles as these phenomena. Allowing her to compose and alter the continuously-changing visuals of turbulence and fluid dynamics into 22 unique videos. These composed videos are shown in a random and continuous order. Combined with the various angles from which the sculpture can be viewed when walking or driving around the sculpture, placed in the spiral oval shaped centre, allows for a diverse experience upon visiting the Forum Garage.

With Wervel [Turmoil] Assmann is looking at the world around us by means of zooming in and zooming out and by contrasting the micro, macro and cosmic, she discerns recurring images and patterns to gain a sense of reflection and relativity.
Wervel [Turmoil], both refers to these natural phenomena such as turbulence and fluid dynamics and serves as a metaphor for the turbulent and fluid times in which we live.


flexible LED modules, steel construction, steel cables, led control system, power and data cables, power supplies, custom-built video synthesizers, custom-built computer, custom-built software for video control, 22 composed videos


20m x 127cm x 9,4 cm, with a 7m height difference


In order to come to the right shape and size for the video sculpture in the Forum Garage I performed several pre-studies to mimic the flow and shapes of tornados.

Publications & reviews Wervel [Turmoil]:

Publication/Booklet Wervel [Turmoil] with an essay by Thomas van Huut: available at Forum Groningen
CBK Groningen - text Wervel [Turmoil] in Dutch
Vernissage Wervel [Turmoil]
Mondriaan Fonds
Article DvhN: Kunstenaar Nicky Assmann veroorzaakt wervelende turbulentie in parkeergarage Forum Groningen, Joep van Ruiten, 4/10/2019
Article Royal Academy of Art: 20 meter long artwork by ArtScience alumna Nicky Assmann in Forum Groningen
NRC article: Unieke cultuurkolos voor alle Groningers, Bernard Hulsman, 28/11/2019
Parool article: Forum in Groningen, Henny de Lange, 29/11/2019
Sikkom Article


Wervel [Turmoil] is Assmann's first permanent public art work and was commissioned by CBK Groningen and made possible through the generous support of Gemeente Groningen & Mondriaan Fund.

Concept, research, design, artistic direction, videos: Nicky Assmann
Constructive design, steel construction, placement of sculpture: DOK
Technical design & realisation: Spectro Productions
Co-production videos: Joris Strijbos
Development video synthesizer 1: Nenad Popov
Development video synthesizer 2: Jean-Michel Couturier
Video playback software: Joris Strijbos, Dieter Vandoren
Assistance scale model: Jeroen Molenaar

Additional thanks to:
Art Committee Wervel [Turmoil], Nicoline Wijnja, Jan Samsom, Mare van Koningsveld, Tonneke Mulder, Forum Groningen, Bussel Engineering, BAM, ABT
& NL Architects

Documentation Wervel [Turmoil]:
Video Wervel [Turmoil] by Tanja Busking, Koen Dijkstra
Video Wervel [Turmoil] by Mondriaan Fund: Thijs van Gasteren
Video and film stills made during pre-research Forum Garage: Julia Sterre
Photography Wervel [Turmoil]: Jenne Hoekstra, Knelis, Nicky Assmann
Shown image of super tornado on Jupiter: NASA, JPL-Caltech, SwRI, MSSS