Bettina Furnée


My multi-disciplinary art practice includes text-based installation, print, moving image, performance and public art. As a Dutch-born artist working in the UK I became aware of the instability of language and identity, the contradictions of social constructs and beliefs, and our shared need for belonging and to survive.

My work features wordplay, text and sound, absurdity, the everyday, slippage, displacement and fear of no-return. For instance, Even You Song is a choral evensong based on interviews with twelve couples contemplating a space mission, and Powerhouse is a multi-authored text, film and posters resulting from an 8-week word association game at Cambridge University Library. I often collaborate with artists, writers, musicians and audiences on longer-term projects and public art schemes.

Thoughtful, poetic, playful and at times gritty, my work is viewed through the lens of agency, and I often situate my work in places where power resides, to explore the fragility of the dominant narrative and alternative readings. Site-specific works are a response to the history or narrative of a certain place; and harvested for literary source material contributed by local participants through interviews, language games or polling, blending a multitude of voices from the community to sample the collective.

Short biography

Based in Cambridge (UK), Bettina Furnée is studio artist at Wysing Arts Centre, Bourn, where she was artist representative on the Board of Directors (2010-15). She initially read art history and trained at David Kindersley’s Workshop, before graduating with a Masters in Public Art from Chelsea College of Arts.

She has been commissioned extensively by art organisations and public sector bodies; exhibited in solo and group shows, and has been awarded residencies and grants in support of self-initiated projects. She was selected for Syllabus VI (2020/21) and in 2019 toured collaborative and participatory choral performance work Even You Song with writer Lucy Sheerman and composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad, supported by Metal, Peterborough Cathedral, National Centre for Writing, Wysing Arts Centre, Arts Council England and many others.

Further major public projects, live events and solo shows include:  A World To Come (A+C 2019); Counting In A Different Language (Ruskin Gallery 2015); Near Holme, Call Your Home Poetic (MKGallery 2018); Live Neutral Earth (Central Bedfordshire Council/Amey 2014-18); Material Response (National Gallery of the Bahamas/Ipswich and Colchester Museums 2011-12); Reality Rules (ARU/Futurecity 2012); I Will Do Right (Ministry of Justice 2009); Powerhouse (Kettles Yard/The Arthouse 2008) and If Ever You’re In The Area with coastal installations and solo show (firstsite 2005-06).


Bettina Furnée       

Home: 46 Devonshire Road, Cambridge CB1 2BL, United Kingdom

Studio: Wysing Arts Centre, Bourn CB2 32TX, Cambridgeshire




Major projects or live events

2019        Even You Song Tour of East Anglia 2019 (King’s Lynn, Kingston, Cambridge, London), supported by Wysing Arts Centre, King’s Lynn Festival and Young Norfolk Arts

2017        Even You Song, choral evensong, world premiere Peterborough Cathedral (with Lucy Sheerman & Cheryl Frances-Hoad)

2012        Reality Rules (with Dylan Banarse), New Rules for a Fair Society in augmented reality, Parker’s Piece, Cambridge, Visualise Art & Technology commissions by Anglia Ruskin University and Futurecity

2008        Powerhouse, 8-week live event, web archive, film, posters, Cambridge University Library, part of Space for 10, 8-week residency at Kettle’s yard, Cambridge (with The Arthouse, Wakefield)

2006        If Ever You’re in the Area, The Naze Tower, Walton-on-Naze, Lines of Approach live performance day with BBC Radio Essex

2005        If Ever You’re in the Area, five temporary installations, East Lane, Bawdsey, Suffolk


Solo Exhibitions

2018        Near Holme, Call Your Home Poetic, MKGallery project space, with text by Fiona Boundy

2015        Counting In A Different Language, Ruskin Gallery, Anglia Ruskin University

2011        Material Response, Ipswich Art School Gallery, Ipswich, part of Eastern Exchanges, International Exchange residency, Nassau, Bahamas

2006        If Ever You’re in the Area, The Naze Tower, Walton-on-Naze

2005        If Ever You’re in the Area, firstsite @ the Minories, Colchester


Selected Group Exhibitions

2015        Expanded Studio Project, Primary, Nottingham & Aid&Abet, Cambridge

2012        Roaming, Aid&Abet, Cambridge

2012        Poetry, Language, Code, Ruskin Gallery, ARU, Cambridge

2011        Invisible Dust, Science Festival, Cambridge

2011        The Tyranny of Grammar, Fishmarket Gallery, Northampton

2010        Late Shift, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich

2010        Pulse 10 Fringe Festival, The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

2010        Salon Video Art Prize, Matt Roberts Arts, London

2010        Wysing Arts Contemporary Presents, Wysing Arts Centre, Bourn

2003        Making it East, firstsite, Colchester

2003        Out There, Craft Outside, Crafts Council Gallery, London

1998        The Art of Remembering, Blickling Hall, The National Trust and Memorials by Artists

1997        William Morris Revisited, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

1996        Words Revealed, MAC, Birmingham


Selected commissions

2018-19  The World To Come, site-specific installation for All Saints and St Andrew parish church, Kingston, commissioned by Art + Christianity

2017-18  Near Holme, Call Your Home Poetic, public art for Claridge Park, Middleton, commissioned by MK Gallery

2014-18  Live Neutral Earth, public art scheme (with Marcus Leadley), Houghton Regis, commissioned by Central Bedfordshire Council

2013        Collective, Wysing Corporate Collective, participatory event and prints

2013        HIGHST, Bedford High Street, commissioned by Mary Portas Pilot and Bedford Creative Arts

2012        Reality Rules (with Dylan Banarse), New Rules for a Fair Society in Augmented Reality, Parker’s Piece (Cambridge), Visualise Art&Tech commissions by Anglia Ruskin University and Futurecity

2012        Het Huis des Levens, Portland stone memorial, Groningen (NL), commissioned by Stichting Historisch Joods Groningen

2009        I Will Do Right, United Kingdom Supreme Court, glass entrance screen, Courtroom Two screen and library doors, Parliament Square, London, commissioned by Ministry of Justice

2007        Piped Poetry, 52 stenciled texts on water pipes, poetry by Year 5, Millbank Primary, Westminster, London, commissioned by Futurecity Ltd and Barratt Homes

2003        Paradise Is, steel/copper structure, light, signs, planting, Letchworth Garden City Centenary art commission, commissioned by  North Hertfordshire District Council

2003        Running through the blue…, mild steel panels with text by Neil Rollinson for Eastrop Park link tunnel, commissioned by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

2001        Space/Place, concrete seats and stone pieces with text submitted by park users, Heigham Park, Norwich, commissioned by Norwich City Council

2000        Return of the Rivers and Spell against Sorrow, two sets of 3 modular stone seats, New Operations Centre, Bath, commissioned by Wessex Water Services Ltd

1998        Don’t Push Me, seven granite bollards, Cardinal Park, Ipswich, commissioned by Moore, Piet and Brookes, landscape architects

1998        Witness, Church Street bridge parapet in cast iron, Bilston, commissioned by Wolverhampton MBC

1997        State of Rock, four curved benches, Shoreditch Campus, poetry by Benjamin Zephaniah, commissioned by Hackney Community College

1993        Inscriptions on pool edge (T S Eliot) and wall, Victoria Square, Birmingham, commissioned by Birmingham City Council

1990        Portland stone panel and floor slab, Great Peter Street, London, commissioned by Arts Council England


Residencies / Grants

2021                          DYCP Grant, ACE

2020-21                    Syllabus VI, Wysing Arts Centre, Spike Island, eastside Projects, Iniva, Studio Voltaire

2019                          Project Grant ACE, Even You Song Tour of East Anglia 2019 (with Lucy Sheerman)

2015-17                    Two phased Grants for the Arts, for Even You Song (with Lucy Sheerman)

2014-17                    Time and Space Residency, Metal, Peterborough (with Lucy Sheerman)

2013                          Cambridge Sustainability Residency, Sustainability Institute and School of Art, ARU

2010-12                    Two phased Grants for the Arts award with Roam collective, Arts Council England

2011                          Material Response, International exchange and residency, Nassau, Bahamas

2009                          Escalator Visual Arts, retreat, Wysing Arts Centre, Bourn

2007-08                    Space for 10, 8-week artist’s residency at Kettle’s yard, Cambridge (The Arthouse, Wakefield)

2004-06                    Three phased Grants for the Arts award from Arts Council East for If Ever You’re in the Area


Book / CD Publications

2018                          Near Holme, Call Your Home Poetic, project pamphlet (essay by Fiona Boundy)

2017                          Hard Werken, One For All, Graphic art and design 1979-1993 Ian Horton & Bettina Furnée, Valiz, Amsterdam

2017                          Even You Song, CD, Peterborough Cathedral Choir, music Cheryl Frances Hoad, First Hand Records

2017                          Neutral Earth Live, CD with three tracks, sound compositions by Marcus Leadley

2013                          Oral History in the Visual Arts, Eds. Linda Sandino and Matthew Partington, Bloomsbury

2013                          Visualise: Making Art in Context, ed. Bronac Ferran, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

2012                          Roaming, exhibition pamphlet (essay by Colin Perry)

2012                          Here’s Luck / Bettina Furnée, ed. Michael McMillan, AND Public, London

2008                          Space for 10, The Arthouse, Wakefield

2008                          Piped Poetry / Bettina Furnée (Limited edition with DVD), Futurecity, London

2006                          If Ever You’re in the Area / Bettina Furnée (essay by Elizabeth Fisher), firstsite, Colchester

1995                          Words & Pictures Issue 2, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard



1997-1999               BA Hons Art History, Anglia Ruskin University (First Class)

1992-1994               MA Theory and Practice of Public Art, Chelsea College of Art and Design

1983-1989               Letter Carving, David Kindersley’s Workshop, Cambridge

1981-1983               Archaeology and Art History, Leiden University, Netherlands