Unseen Dialog

When earth is thinking... Photograph, tippex and scratchmarks, 15 x 10cm

When earth is thinking…
Photograph, tippex and scratch marks, 15 x 10cm

Recently I bought a beautiful book about the artist Ana Mendieta. Most people have never heard about her. And people who have heard about her, usually only know or have access to a small portion of her art.

“Ana Mendieta (November 18, 1948 – September 8, 1985) was a Cuban American performance artist, sculptor, painter and video artist who is best known for her “earth-body” art work. Originally born in Havana, Mendieta arrived in the United States as a refugee in 1961, shortly prior to the beginning of the Cuban Revolution.”

The book is entitled Unseen Mendieta and tries to give an insight into her creative output during her short live, which came to an abrupt end when she fell from her 34th floor apartment window after a row with her husband.

Several weeks after placing the order the book arrived by snail-mail in a blue postal bag. I was so excited!

Several weeks after placing the order the book arrived by snail-mail in a blue postal bag. I was so excited!

Although she produced many ground-breaking, interesting and amazing works, most of it had never been exhibited before her death and has left her family with the huge task of researching the work and try to decide what to make available to the public and in what form. A daunting task.

I am sharing this with you, as it made me think about my own work, and how many of my artworks or creative outpourings will probably never make it into a gallery or a publication. And I am not sure if anybody will care (or have the time and nerve) to comb through my computer and other documentation and artworks, and then decide which is worth to keep and to share. It is a task that even I would find too daunting.

I had to search through my old folders for some specific works which have been requested for a publication and realised that I have accumulated so much work, that I need to find a better system of storing and finding it again. If that is possible…

When airplanes leave secret signs in the sky...

When airplanes leave secret signs in the sky… (Photograph and scratched text, 10x15cm)

Fortunately today we have the internet and can share many works without ever officially exhibiting them. And people can see art they like, at their own convenience. No need to travel to visit a gallery to see an artist’s work from another continent. No need to stick to opening times of a gallery.

And today’s world also makes it possible to share the ‘little works’. The ones which happen in between, which are fun, creative, curious, etc. but which do not amount to a serious body of work ready for a gallery show. When I searched for my other artworks, I stumbled across some of these, and thought: they put a smile on my face every time I see them.

They make me feel alive and creative, in a different way than the more formal artworks.

Small Accidents happen and turn into tiny, fun artworks. (home printed images with water spilled onto them by accident, deliberate felt pen markings added) about 5x5cm

Small Accidents happen and turn into tiny, fun artworks. (home printed images with water spilled onto them by accident, deliberate felt pen markings added) about 5x5cm

Small Accidents happen and turn into tiny, fun artworks. (home printed images with water spilled onto them after accidentially finding out what cool effect that has) about 5x7cm

Small Accidents happen and turn into tiny, fun artworks. (home printed images with water spilled onto them after accidentally finding out what cool effect that has) about 5x7cm

I decided to share some of them with you, so that they get noticed by a few people, if only for a few seconds, possibly maybe gifting you with a smile or a short moment of curiosity before they return to their secret and forgotten virtual life.

After all, I believe art is visual communication, so it needs an observer to make it complete. I hope you enjoy this chat and turn my monologue into a dialog, even if that just takes place in your head.

Say What? Secret dialog happening between the rider statue and a bird. (Photograph with scratched text) 10x15cm

Say What?
Secret dialog happening between the rider statue and a bird. (Photograph with scratched text) 10x15cm

...and another secret dialog possibly happening between the miltary men in Istanbul.

…and another secret dialog possibly happening between the military men in Istanbul.

9 thoughts on “Unseen Dialog

  1. Christine Holzkamp

    Liebe Imke,

    ein mich berührender und spannender Text . Ich habe ihn gleich an Carolin weitergeschickt.

    Beim Lesen von Deinem Text fiel mir ein, , was Carolin von ihrem PhilosophieSeminar über “Digitale Revolution” ( ich weiss den Titel nicht mehr genau) erzählt hast, wo es auch um Fragen zur Informations-und Bilderflut, über – was heißt noch erinnern? – und viele anderes Spannendes geht.

    Und über die Bilder habe ich mich gefreut . .

    Herzlich christine

    1. Imke Rust Post author

      Ah wie schön, ich höre es natürlich immer gerne wenn meine Blogtexte berühren und erfreuen. Vielen Dank, Christine! Ich glaube das Digitale Zeitalter ist wirklich spannend, mit den neuen Möglichkeiten, und aber auch wie man damit umgeht, damit man nicht überflutet wird. Was ja auch für Kunst immer die Frage ist: wieviel zeige ich und ab welchem Punkt wird es zu viel für den Betrachter? Und wie präsentiere ich es, damit es nicht zu verwirrend wird? Liebe Grüsse!

  2. Matthias Hanselmann

    Liebe Imke wir können leider nicht zur Filmvorfuehrung kommen aber zum Glück kenne ich ihn ja schon. Viel Erfolg dabei LGMatthias

    1. Imke Rust Post author

      Hallo Matthias,
      Sehr schade, aber ja, ein paar ausgewählte Freunde hatten ja schon die Gelegenheit in zu sehen. 😉 Bis hoffentlich bald, liebe Grüsse, Imke

  3. Janet

    I LOVE Ana Mendieta’s work! I also have SO much art and progress/process work that either gets lost in the back of a studio closet, gets worked over/reworked, or even discarded completely. And just like you I’ve realized I need a good way to document/sort them out (but until know haven’t figured out a good system yet, other than flip files for flat pieces). I really value my blogs as a ‘catalogue’ system, and while I’ve lost photographs of works due to corrupt files and damaged backup disks before, I fortunately have this online archive. The wonders of technology. Imagine how organised artists in for example the Renaissance had to be?

    1. Imke Rust Post author

      If you love her work, I can really recommend this book. Her work is so interesting and inspiring.

      Have you ever tried out one of the computer programs designed for cataloguing work? I might just have to try them at some stage.

      I wonder if the life of the artists in the Renaissance was possibly easier in that regard, as they did not have to deal with digital files, photographs, prints, etc. – people would come to their studios to view the work or they carried a selection to the patron?

      1. Janet

        I would much rather work with digital files and photographs than slogging the actual work to all my possible patron’s or galleries. Haha, but you’re very right and they probably spent much more time actually creating work than we now spend updating our website, facebook and blogs and doing visual ‘research’.

        Well, I have a database of my work using the database software that forms part of OpenOffice, and it works well (although I can’t add the actual image to the entry) but I keep putting off adding all my recent artworks so it’s VERY outdated. >.<

  4. Indigo Spider

    I’ve often wondered how many works of art, how many stories, how many poems, how many sculptures, etc., are undiscovered and/or ‘lost’ when creators die. Even artists who are not famous, how many great works remained hidden in a drawer only to be tossed away when they died?

    The photographer Vivian Maier was completely unknown until after her death. She never shared her thousands of photographs with anyone, worked as a nanny but always took photos as well. She was only discovered when someone bought her storage locker at auction and found thousands of photographs and video (many never even developed) that are amazing. Her official website: http://www.vivianmaier.com/

    How many Vivian Maier’s are there in the world still undiscovered? Even with well known artists, how many works wind up lost or never seen? Rather makes me sad to think of all the lost and never seen art in the world. Which is one reason I’m always happy when artists, like yourself, share works online even if it never makes it to a gallery. At least it isn’t lost to the garbage bin!

    I love that little photo of the spilled water circle. Simple yet mesmerizing and reminds me of your Tokolosh circle of thorns 🙂

    1. Imke Rust Post author

      I think there are sooo many creative works that go unseen. Yet fortunately there are also so many that do get seen, published, listened to…
      Vivian Maier is a great example.
      I wonder if the reason for that is, that we have such a strict definition of good and bad, of acceptable or not, being hip or not and strict gatekeepers (ie galleries, patrons whose money decide on what gets promoted, curators etc.)? Also maybe because of our imagined need to become famous or ‘make it’ in someway, so that your works actually pay the rent?

      If, for instance, a gallery does not accept your work, we will think of it as ‘not good enough’, (which might or might not be true) and next time we will try to select or make other works which we assume fit better with the trend and likes of the times.

      Maybe many of the works from Ana Mendieta (or Vivian Maier) would have been rejected or missunderstood, if they tried one of the normal avenues at hand. And it is only today, in hindsight, that we realise that there was magic in their work.

      I just realised how much I personally am conditioned by these scissors in my head, about what I can show and what not. I am so grateful for the internet and being able to have a blog, where I can share stuff. It might not pay the rent, but at least it is shared with a handful of people outside of my studio. 🙂


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