Category Archives: Installations

Rust imagines Twyfelfontein in Sweden

By Martha Mukaiwa for The Namibian Newspaper (copied here with kind permission)

and further down: an interview with Johan Adeström published in Söderhamns Kurieren (translated to English via the internet and copied here with kind permission.

Imke Rust in her art installation ‘Drawing Certainty from the Spring of Doubt’, at Erik-Anders Farm, Asta, Sweden

IN a once derelict hut in Sweden, award-winning multidisciplinary artist Imke Rust draws the spirit of Twyfelfontein across space and time.

Her installation which connects the decorated farmhouses of Hälsingland and the famed site of ancient rock engravings in northern Namibia was created for this year’s World Heritage Scholarship.

Rust was awarded the residency from a crop of 101 applicants from 34 countries and spent four weeks living and working at Sweden’s Hälsingegården Erik-Anders and Kristofers Farm.

The scholarship invited artists to connect the aspirational and elaborately hand-painted farmhouses of Hälsingland with another Unesco World Heritage site and Rust quickly saw a link with the rock engravings of Twyfelfontein, some of which, like ‘Lion Man’ and ‘Dancing Kudu’, are said to depict shamanic rituals and trances.

“Both sites are not ‘mere decorations’ but are intentional creative interventions, which allow us to transcend into an alternative reality,” she says.

Transforming the hut into a fairy tale-like space by painting wallpaper in the style of the decorated Hälsingland farms while referencing Twyfelfontein in images rendered akin to the famed rock engravings, Rust engaged in a highly intuitive process that combined found natural and man-made objects with retro telephone book pages which culminate in an installation she titled ‘Drawing Certainty from the Spring of Doubt’.

Though the installation is in Sweden and draws on Twyfelfontein, Rust maintains that neither becomes the other.

“The installation creates a room where both sites are in correspondence with each other, without imposing one on the other. Correspondence is an open-ended, dialogical process of unfolding and becoming,” she says.

To Rust, this straddling and correspondence between realities, cultures, time and space, provides a unique opportunity for learning and connection.

“Maybe a bit like eavesdropping on a conversation between the two sites and making up your own story from the elements you recognise and the ones which seem strange and unfamiliar. Or like stumbling into an unknown cave and finding more and more treasures as you look, but not fully understanding them.”

Honoured to have her installation supported and on show at the Erik-Anders World Heritage site which receives around 30 000 visitors per year, Rust left Sweden with the feeling of having highlighted our shared humanness.

“One of the central ideas of my art and installation is to show how humans are much more alike than different,” Rust says.

“We marvel at the ‘other’ and how exotic they are, but once we look a bit closer, we can realise that we all have the same needs, hopes and fears.”

Visit imkerust.com to explore the installation online.

–martha@namibian.com.na; Martha Mukaiwa on Facebook and Instagram; marthamukaiwa.com

See more images and info HERE.

Interview:

International artist weaves together world heritage from Africa and Hälsingland: “Feeling a bit like a curious child”

What do artistic elements in Hälsingland farms have in common with rock carvings from a world heritage site in Namibia?

“Quite a lot”, says the acclaimed Namibian artist Imke Rust, who for a month worked on an art project at Erik-Andersgården in Söderala.

This is the third time that the World Heritage Scholarship has been awarded by the Gävleborg Region. This year, the Namibian artist Imke Rust has received 5,000 euros to create art where two world heritage sites are linked: Twyfelfontein, an area with rock engravings in Namibia and Erik-Andersgården in Söderala.

This year, more than a hundred applications were received from 34 different countries, but the jury stuck to Imke Rust’s application.

She was born and raised in the Namibian capital Windhoek and has on two occasions received the country’s finest art award from the Namibian national art gallery. Nowadays she lives mostly in Germany.

The visit to Sweden is her first, and she did not know much about the country.

– I had an image that it is a well-ordered country far north, with cold winters, she says and smiles, after just having had experienced a hot summer.

Four weeks ago, she came empty-handed to Erik-Andersgården with the task of pursuing her creative idea: to interweave the Hälsinge farms in an interesting way with Namibia’s first world heritage site Twyfelfontein, which means the doubtful spring in Afrikaans, as there is not always water.

– From the beginning, I thought I would do something inside the house at Erik-Andersgården, but the ideas did not work completely, says Imke Rust.

And she is not an artist who works conventionally, strategically and goal-oriented. One of her watchwords is “trust the process”. Usually many small things must happen before the big thing falls into place.

“I had a vague idea, but I was also clear that I am open to the creative process to happen. The places and the material tell me what to do next. It’s like a dialogue. Communicating with the places and the objects and asking how they want to get together”, she says.

She prefers to call herself a multimedia artist. Which means that she uses what is available to take the creation forward.

“I love working like this, to just listen and feel and accept the process. In a way. But it can also be frustrating. As a person, I am really structured as well and like to have a plan for what to do. There may be some conflict …

– And of course I can feel stressed when I have a limited time of four weeks and I have received a scholarship where there are expectations. It can feel a little strange when people come and ask: How are you, what are you doing? And one can only answer: I do not know yet. But I have realized that this is how I work, she says.

But what began with empty hands and an empty sheet has now resulted in an art installation. A walk in the meadows around the farms in Söderala has now ended in a small abandoned cottage a few steps from Erik-Andersgården, which has been given new life.

It with the help of old objects found in the cottage and with new elements of paintings from Twyfelfontein.

– The first thought is of course that there are totally different places from completely different parts of the world. But people have always decorated and used art to communicate and tell things. It does not matter if it was 5,000 years ago in Africa or 300 years ago in Hälsingland. The need is the same, says Imke Rust.

She describes the rock engravings in Twyfelfontein as a way to create an alternative reality. Something that has also been common in Hälsingland.

– Even in the Hälsinge farms, people painted and tried to imitate precious materials such as marble. To make it look more glamorous and finer than it really was.

The tiny cottage was abandoned and full of dust and debris, but also contained a wood stove, wooden chair and some other small items have now been given an alternative reality.

The walls are now decorated with old pages from a telephone directory with exotic painted animals similar to those in Twyfelfontein and small rock carvings in miniature.

– It was only in the last few days that everything came together. I have not really been able to show anything before now.

And how does it feel to leave it behind you now and leave here?

– Exciting and a little sad. I have put so much energy into it. But I like working with things that are non-permanent. When I open the door and walk away, perhaps nature and the rain will destroy it over time. It is also an interesting process…

– If you look in here, you may not understand everything immediately. But your mind will surely create new stories. I hope you feel a bit like a curious child when you look around here, says Imke Rust.

Johan Adeström for Söderhamns Kurieren, originally published in Swedish, translated via Google Translate.

Offenes Atelier und Ausstellungen

Es ist viel passiert und viel geplant…
Gerne nutze ich die Gelegenheit euch einzuladen und zu informieren.

 
Gerade bin ich von meinem 4-wöchigem Welterbe Stipendium aus Schweden zurück gekommen und gleich geht es mit ein paar spannenden Events weiter zu denen ich euch einladen möchte!
Zu dem Welterbe Stipendium will ich in den nächsten Tagen noch einen ausführlicheren Post schreiben.


Tage des offenen Ateliers in Brandenburg:
Am 21. Und 22. August öffne ich wieder mein Atelier für Besucher, Sammler und solche die es noch werden möchten.

Unter anderem kann man einige meiner neuen Arbeiten aus Schweden sehen und ich erzähle gerne über meine ortsbezogene Installation und Erfahrungen dort.

Jeweils von 10-18Uhr
Birkenstr. 11, 16515 Oranienburg OT Neu-Friedrichsthal.

Gransee zeigt Gesicht


Am 28. August (12 – 16Uhr) eröffnet die Ausstellung
Gransee zeigt Gesicht
Marina Hillebrand | Reiko Kammer | Imke Rust


Die Ausstellung endet am 24. Oktober.
Ruppiner Strasse 61 · 16775 Gransee
Di bis Fr 10 – 16 Uhr · Sa und So 12 – 16 Uhr
Ein Projekt von KuNO e.V. 

L’andart21 – 4a Biennal Internacional d’Andorra


 

Als Teil des Künsterinnen Kollektiv ZAC (Zest Artist Collective) stelle ich noch bis zum 15. September 2021 bei der

L’andart21 – 4a Biennal Internacional d’Andorra
in Spanien eine Raum und Audio Installation ‘Nature’s Dance’ aus.

Weitere Informationen und Bilder: http://landartlexviral.com/project/zest-art-collective/

Kurse an der Volkshochschule Oberhavel



Bei der Volkshochschule Oberhavel startet das neue Semester und ab Ende August gibt es wieder einige Kurse von mir.
 
Zur Zeit gibt es in allen Kursen noch freie Plätze, aber aus Erfahrung werden sie dann doch schnell voll.
 
Hiermit also eine Erinnerung euch bald anzumelden, wenn ihr Lust habt wieder kreativ zu werden mit dem beliebten Art Journaling, der intuitiven Malerei, Kunst in der Natur, Leporellos oder Vision Boards gestalten oder zu lernen wie man eine Instagram Seite gestaltet und vermarktet.
 
Ich freue mich auf neue Teilnehmer*innen, und natürlich genauso sehr auf bekannte Gesichter!

Informationen zu den Kursen und Daten findet ihr auf der Seitei der VHS Oberhavel. 
Buchungen bitte auch über die VHS online, oder telefonisch unter 03301 601-5752

Imke Rust receives the World Heritage Scholarship


(Text quoted from the original site of the The Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland.)

The Culture and Competence Board with Region Gävleborg has awarded the World Heritage Scholarship for 2021. It will go to artist Imke Rust, born in 1975 in Windhoek, Namibia, and now based in Oranienburg, Germany.

Imke Rust is an established artist and was educated at the University of South Africa, and other places. In her work she examines relationships between myth and reality, people and nature. She challenges common conceptions about what it’s like to be a person, and offers fresh perspectives. Imke Rust´s art is profoundly personal, and its aim is to create meaning through processes, narratives and materials, with a will to bridge gaps between cultures and continents, history and the present, and between people and nature.

It’s incredibly exciting that the World Heritage Scholarship has made its breakthrough this year, and that so many people from around the world have applied. With this year’s World Heritage Scholarship we are also connecting two fascinating world heritages on two continents through art. The very keynote of world heritage, says Magnus Svensson (C), Chairman of the Culture and Competence Board.

Motivation:

Farmers in Hälsingland built and decorated many beautiful farms during the mid-1800s. Thousands of years earlier, hunters and gatherers in Namibia meticulously decorated the surrounding landscape with rock carvings, showing scenes of animals, people and abstract patterns. This year’s World Heritage Scholarship holder, artist Imke Rust, grew up on a farm in Namibia, but has been living and working for some time in Oranienburg in Germany. She sees a direct link between the Hälsingegårdar World Heritage and Namibia’s first world heritage; Twyfelfontein.

Example of a Namibian rock painting scene

The World Heritage Scholarship has made a real breakthrough this year. 101 applications were submitted in total – 42 national and 59 international. They have come from 34 different countries: Indonesia, Italy, Germany, Egypt, Spain, India, France, Portugal, Namibia, USA, Syria, Algeria, the Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Austria, Finland, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Singapore, Mexico, Iceland, Hungary, Serbia, Cyprus, Nepal, Zambia, Greece, Poland, Iran, Japan and Sweden.

Find out more about the: Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland.

Example image of an interior of a decorated farm house. (Svenska: Jon-Lars, Image by Sanna.lonngren)
Example image of the Swedish farmhouses (Svenska: Gästgivars med den högra byggnaden. Author: Catasa)

Collaborative Art Project on Show in the Netherlands

Kunstwandeling EB | Art walk EB  
​MUSEUM SCHOKLAND 
26 Juli – 26 Oktober 2020

Kunstwandeling EB | Art walk EB  
​MUSEUM SCHOKLAND 
26 Juli - 26 Oktober 2020
(Poster)

Together with Karin van der Molen, Karen Macher, Lucia Loren, Elena Redaelli and Sally Kidall, I am currently exhibiting our collaborative artwork Cross Pollination at the art walk EB.

Cross Pollination
Six artists from 4 different continents bring their ideas together in this installation. The six women know each other from their international nomadic artist’s existence, which suddenly came to a halt due to the corona pandemic. Encounters and exchanges are an important source for transcending a low tide situation. The idea for a ‘message in a bottle’ project originated from an intensive exchange via digital channels. They sent seeds, plants, soil, bones and ashes from Namibia, Australia, Peru, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, to represent a small collection of our worldwide ecological DNA. Long ago, the continents of the six women were originally linked  together and our soil, plants and ancestors share a similar yet very different DNA. Our continents remain connected by the oceans and the air, which share the global consequences of our existence. Cross-pollination is necessary to keep it liveable.

Installation view (Photo by Karin van der Molen)

About my contribution:

Over the past months the world has changed dramatically. Everybody had to adapt to a changed reality of lock-downs, closed borders and isolation. Life turned more digital and virtual, but at the same time many people became sensitive to essential needs and self-sustaining practices, remembering old, traditional ways of life.

This crisis has forced us to reconsider what is essential and important to us and find alternative ways of being.

Based on the idea of communicating through messages in a bottle, I am offering messages about the essence of life. They are preserved and sealed in isolation of the bottle and can travel safely through the oceans of the world. Together with the bottles of my fellow artists they form a database of knowledge, beauty and a symbolic starter-pack for a new future. 
 
I am interested in the connection between the physical and non-physical world. In my art I explore the relationships between myth and reality, in order to create meaning. 
​Therefore, my messages take the form of physical, mythical and soul essences. Three types of Namibian seeds (representing ancestors and beginnings, beauty & pain and nourishment); fertile ground from my home country Namibia, and soil from my current home in Germany; my hair, as an essence of myself; huge white thorns of the Camelthorn tree, as an essence of protection and a decayed leaf as a thought about death.

Please click on the image to read more about the contents of the bottles.

***********

Have a look at the group’s website and information about the contributions of my wonderful fellow artists from Peru, Spain, Australia, Italy and the Netherlands HERE.

.************

Visitors at the artwork. (Photo: Karin van der Molen)
Detail view: click on the image to find out more (Photo: Karin van der Molen)

Frauen Silhouetten – Gedenkort Waldbaulager KZ, Neubrandenburg

Public artwork by Imke Rust (commissioned)

Three of eight female silhouettes at the Waldbaulager Gedenkort

(Deutsch weiter unten)

Last year I have been commissioned by the RAA Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to create a public artwork to commemorate the plight of women who have been incarcerated in the Waldbau KZ satellite camp, close to Neubrandenburg.

This secret, underground camp has been established by the Nazi regime in 1943 to support production for the armaments industry. About 2000 female prisoners were stationed here and used as forced labour. The living conditions have been described as inhumane and horrible, and many women have died.

When I researched the history of this place, one small detail grabbed my attention: several combs or pieces of combs were found hidden here.  Ex-prisoners who described the conditions, shared, that they were not allowed to have combs in these camps. Being found with a comb could be punished with death. The women secretly made their own combs out of leftovers from the production materials and these were shared amongst them. Unfortunately the self-made combs were not helpful against the fleas – the big problem in the unhealthy living conditions. One lady was able to smuggle in a fine comb and one had to pay half a ration of bread for the use of this comb.

This story of the combs made me aware that the women, despite all their suffering, still had the will to try and create ways to make their lives a little better. Through my art I wanted to restore some of their dignity and also commemorate their strength. It was also important that visitors could relate to these women as fellow human beings on a very personal level.

Therefore my eight life-sized female figures, which have been installed in small groups at different places in the forest, seem to dissolve on one side into the shape of a broken comb.

The women stand proud and strong, while at the same time they fade into the background and are only clearly visible from a certain angle. Making us aware that history can be forgotten quickly, if we make no effort to remember.

A short documentary video by Steffen Holzkamp (2:17min, German with English subtitles)

Visitors at the first public event – I love how the “historic women” stand silently amongst the guests:

Some more impressions:

Deutsch:

Zur Installation der Frauen-Silhouetten am Gedenkort Waldbau

Die wenigen Fundstücke, die direkt auf die Frauen deuten, bestehen aus Resten von Kämmen. Durch die Kämme, die eingeschmuggelt oder vor Ort heimlich aus Produktionsmaterial hergestellt und versteckt werden mussten, haben die Frauen sich ein klein wenig ihrer Würde zurückerobert.

Mit dem Kunstwerk möchte ich den Frauen symbolisch die Achtung zukommen lassen,die sie damals nicht bekamen. Mein Wunsch ist es ihnen ein positives Andenken zu setzen, an dem man aber auch das durchgemachte Leid erkennt.

Angelehnt an die Fundstücke der oft zerbrochenen Kämme, die sich heute im Regionalmuseum befinden, stellen meine abstrakten Frauensilhouetteneine Verbindung zwischen Frauenkörper und Kamm her.

Diese etwa lebensgroßen, abstrakten Silhouetten erinnern an einfach erkennbare, weibliche (Ur)Figuren. Sie sind wie ein Kamm flach gehalten. Die Auflösung der Figur in die Zähne der Kämme deutet auf die Vergänglichkeit, das Leid und auch unsere verblichene Erinnerung an diese Frauen und ihr Schicksal hin.

Als erste Installation die am Waldbau Gedenkort errichtet wird sollen die Silhouetten neugierig machen und auch schon auf die Geschichte des Ortes hindeuten.

Weitere Information zu dem Ort finden sie HIER.

Circle of Life – Meeting the Rainforest

(Deutscher Text weiter unten)

Initially I felt overwhelmed by the rainforest and how unfamiliar this environment was to me. I spent the first day getting to know the forest and made small, quick artworks to introduce myself to the forest and ask its blessings for me to work there.

Small creative offerings to Banco forest:

Following is a short meditation which I have written in my sketchbook on the first day in the Banco forest:

Introducing myself to the forest.

A desert girl coming from the cold.
Feeling fragile and overwhelmed.
It is noisy.
My headache is slightly better.
I think it is raining.
I can hear it, but not feel it.

I feel a lot of pressure. And some loneliness…

I must trust that Banco will also introduce itself to me.
Open up and invite me in. Share its secret and let me know why I have come here.
Why are we brought together?

I feel a certain sadness.
I don’t belong. But that should be obvious.
This is a foreign place.
Africa, but far away from home.

Desert. Contained.

I am here. In the rainforest.
The lungs of Abidjan.
The heart of the rain.

I am here for a reason.

To bring a gift and to receive some.
As a pioneer. As a creator. As an African and a German – I meet in the middle (of my two homes).

I am coming to the source of the rain.
To learn, to understand, to transform and be transformed.

There is something the forest needs from me. That is why I am here.
I am open to all I can be and listening and feeling into what needs to happen.

Desert. Contained. In a rainforest.

I witness. I create. I play. I move. I am moved.

The space which chose me

By the end of the day the forest invited me to this space and I knew this is where I should start. A few initial ideas were considered and offered to the forest, but then discarded, when I realised it is not what wants to happen there.

Working with no plan and with this kind of careful dialogue with the nature around me is exciting and yet always a challenge too. I am challenged to trust, to become quiet, to hush my ego and to ignore my inner critic (and she is a real tough one).

The dialogue happens on a soul-heart basis. I imagine a next step and then feel it in my body. Does it feel good? Is there a YES? Are there any other images coming up?

As soon as there is a yes-feeling, I start with that step. Even though I usually do not know where the road leads to or how the final artwork will look like. I have learned, that the idea, which I form in my mind, of how it should be, usually gets tumbled over pretty quickly. Unless I try to hold onto it, then the artwork does not flow along, but gets sticky, like stepping into old bubblegum.   

Starting to create a circle

All the time I had this idea to work with clay. Yet, that did not want to happen. At least for now. The idea of a circle felt good, so I mapped it out with some fallen branches. Then I found more branches and thought, ok, I can just as well add them.

Part of the benefits of the AGA was, that there were several art students who would assist us artists with our work. Having an assistant, especially an enthusiastic and hard-working student, who is curious, open and friendly is a real blessing. I still had no idea where this will be going. Silue, my assistant, wanted to know what he can do. After asking him to wait a few times, I realised that I needed to just give him some task. So I asked him to collect some more branches.

After the first day of working, with Tenena Francis Silue.

And I too collected some more branches and slowly this nest-like structure grew. As I worked on it, I realised that not only is it positioned between 2 large trees and enveloped by their roots, but also that there is a small tree at the entrance to the ‘nest’. I also realised that one of the large trees was in actual fact dead.

While I placed the branches along the circle, I saw the resemblance to life: we are born (small tree) then grow up (large tree) and then die (second large, dead tree) and that this cycle continuous endlessly. That is how it got its title.

Small tree, large tree and dead tree…

As I finished, I also noticed that during the two days working, I started to feel more at home and at ease in the forest. It was as if the forest has invited me to consider it as a friendly home, by allowing me to create this nest-like structure and protective circle.

I heard it whisper to me “Now you have a home in the forest too. When you are mindful, you recognise that you are part of nature and therefore always safe and protected. Similarly nature needs you to help raise the awareness, that this, our all home, needs to be protected too.”

Circle of Life (Imke Rust, Banco Forest, Abidjan for the Abidjan Green Art Biennale 2019)

View more works created during the Abidjan Green Arts Biennale HERE.

German:

Kreis des Lebens – den Regenwald kennenlernen

Am Anfang fühlte ich mich überwältigt von dem Regenwald und wie fremd ich mich in dieser Umgebung fühlte. Den ersten Tag verbrachte ich damit den Wald zu erkunden und ein paar, kleine, spontane Arbeiten zu erschaffen um mich dem Wald vorzustellen und um seinen Segen zu bitten, damit ich dort arbeiten kann.

An dem Tag entstand auch der folgende meditative Text, den ich in mein Skizzenbuch notierte:

„Mich dem Wald vorstellen.

Ein Wüstenmädchen das aus der Kälte kam.
Fühle mich zerbrechlich und ein wenig überfordert.
Es ist laut.
Meine Kopfschmerzen sind etwas besser geworden.
Ich glaube es regnet.
Ich höre es, aber fühle es nicht.

I spüre einen großen Druck. Und etwas Einsamkeit…

Ich muss Banco vertrauen, das er/sie sich mir vorstellt.
Sich mir öffnet und mich einläd. Seine/ihre Geheimnisse mit mir teilt und mir zeigt warum ich hier bin.
Warum wurden wir zusammengeführt?

Ich verspüre eine gewisse Traurigkeit.
Ich gehöre nicht hier her. Aber das ist ja offensichtlich.
Dies ist ein fremder Ort.
Afrika ja, aber sehr weit weg von Zuhause.

Wüste. Eingegrenzt.

Ich bin hier. In dem Regenwald.
Die Lungen von Abidjan.
Das Herz des Regens.

Es gibt einen Grund warum ich hier bin.

Um mein Geschenk zu bringen und etwas zu erhalten.
Als Pionier. Als Schöpferin. Als Afrikanerin und als Deutsche – wir treffen uns in der Mitte (von meinen beiden Heimaten).

Ich komme zu dem Ursprung des Regens.
Zu lernen, zu verstehen, zu verwandeln und verwandelt zu werden.

Es gibt etwas das der Wald von mir braucht. Darum bin ich hier.
Ich bin offen für alles was ich sein kann, höre und fühle was passieren soll.

Wüste. Eingegrenzt. In einem Regenwald.

Ich beobachte. Ich schöpfe. Ich spiele. Ich bewege. Ich werde bewegt.“

View from inside out.

Am Ende des Tages hat der Wald mich zu diesem, einen Platz geführt und ich fühlte hier soll ich anfangen. Ich hatte ein paar erste Ideen, die ich dem Wald anbot. Aber sie wurden verworfen, sobald ich merkte, das sie nicht passten.

Es ist spannend und gleichzeitig eine Herausforderung so ungeplant zu arbeiten und mich dabei auf einen sensiblen Dialog mit der Natur zu verlassen. Ich bin angehalten zu vertrauen und still zu werden, meinem Ego und inneren Kritiker auf stumm zu schalten. Gar nicht so einfach.

Dieser Dialog findet auf einer Herz-Seelen Ebene statt. Ich stelle mir einen möglichen nächsten Schritt vor und spüre dann in mich hinein. Fühlt es sich gut an? Ist da ein JA? Kommen irgendwelche anderen Bilder hoch?

Sobald ich ein JA-Gefühl habe, fange ich mit der Umsetzung des nächsten Schrittes an. Meist habe ich aber keine Ahnung wohin er führt oder wie das finale Kunstwerk aussehen soll. Ich habe gelernt, die Idee, die ich selber davon habe, was passieren soll, meist sehr schnell übern Haufen geworfen wird. Es sei denn ich halte zu stark daran fest, dann will es nicht fließen und die Arbeit wird zäh, als sei man in ein altes Kaugummi getreten.

Die ganze Zeit meinte ich, ich solle mit Ton arbeiten. Aber das wollte nicht passieren. Immerhin vorerst nicht. Die Idee eines Kreises lockte mich, also fing ich an, mit heruntergefallenen Ästen einen Kreis auf den Boden zu legen. Ich fand noch mehr Äste und legte sie auch auf den Kreis.

Einer der Vorzüge der AGA war, das es einige Kunststudenten gab die uns geladenen Künstlern assistieren sollten. Es ist wirklich ein Segen, einen Assistent zu haben, noch dazu jemanden, der enthusiastisch, fleißig, neugierig und offen ist. Allerdings wusste ich immer noch nicht was genau ich machen sollte und Silue, mein Assistent, wollte natürlich gerne etwas tun. Nachdem ich ihn einige Male gesagt habe, er solle einfach noch warten, bekam ich ein schlechtes Gewissen. Ich musste ihm eine Aufgabe geben. Also bat ich ihn, mir erst einmal noch Äste zu suchen.

Circle of Life (Imke Rust)

So entstand langsam ein nestähnlicher Kreis. Während ich immer mehr Äste einbaute, merkte ich, das der Kreis zwischen den Wurzeln zweier großen Bäumen war. Außerdem stand ein kleiner Baum am sich entwickelnden Eingang zu dem Kreis oder Nest. Und mir wurde klar, dass einer der großen, starken Bäume eigentlich tot war.  

So wie die Wände des Kreises wuchsen, verstand ich die Verbindung zum Leben: wir werden geboren (kleiner Baum), wachsen auf (großer Baum) und irgendwann sterben wir (zweiter großer, toter Baum). Dieser Kreislauf wiederholt sich unendlich. So bekam die Arbeit ihren Titel: Kreis des Lebens.

Nach vollendeter Arbeit fiel mir noch etwas auf. Während den zwei Tagen, in denen diese Arbeit entstand, fühlte ich mich immer mehr zuhause und wohl in dem Wald. Es war, als ob der Wald mich eingeladen hat, ihn als ein freundliches Zuhause zu erkennen, indem er mich dazu anhielt diese nestartige Struktur und einen schützenden Kreis um mich zu bauen.

Es war, als wollte er mir sagen: „Nun bist du auch im Regenwald zuhause. Solange du Achtsam bist, erkennst du dich als Teil der Natur und bist sicher und beschützt. Genauso brauche auch ich deinen Schutz und Hilfe diese Botschaft mit anderen zu teilen.

Kreis des Lebens von Imke Rust im Banco Regenwald, Abidjan. Für die Abidjan Green Art Biennale, 2019.

Hier sind weitere meiner Arbeiten die während der Abidjan Green Art Biennale entstanden sind zu sehen.

The Seven Gates of the Rainsnake

The Seven Gates of the Rainsnake / Die sieben Tore der Regenschlange


Ephemeral Installation, approximately 10m long x 1,70m heigh. Bamboo, Sisal rope, branches, talcum powder and sunflower oil. / Vergängliche Installation, ungefähr 10m lang und 1,70m hoch, aus Bambus, Sisal, Äste, Talkum und Sonnenblumenöl.

(Deutsch weiter unten) This work was created during the last two days of the Abidjan Green Arts Biennale. The original idea was to create a work directly linked to the title of the AGA Biennale ‘DÉCHIFFRER LA FORÊT’ (Decipher the Forest) by creating mysterious signs or codes which seem to float on an almost invisible line. As I worked these signs slowly took on the idea of a mythological snake which protects the rainforest and the rain. Hence the title.

During the opening I introduced this work to the audience under blue sky. As everybody passed the rainsnake to continue to the next work, there was sudden and unexpected deep and long rumbling of a thunder. A few minutes later the rain started to pour down on us – just maybe the rainsnake wanted to remind us of her magical powers…

To see more works created by me during the AGA 2019 click HERE

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(Deutsch) Diese Arbeit entstand an den letzten 2 Tagen. Ursprünglich hatte ich die Idee nach dem Titel der AGA Biennale ‘Entschlüsselung des Waldes’ eine Kode / geheimnisvolle Zeichen zur Entschlüsselung in den Wald zu setzten, die auf einer fast unsichtbaren Linie zu schweben scheinen. Während der Arbeit wurden diese Zeichen immer mehr zu einer Art mythologischen Schlange, die den Regenwald und den Regen beschützt.

Bei der Eröffnung war strahlend blauer Himmel, als ich dem Publikum diese Arbeit vorstellte. Als das Publikum dann an der Regenschlange zur nächsten Arbeit vorbei lief, donnerte es plötzlich tief und lang. Kurz darauf fing es an in Strömen zu regnen – als ob die Regenschlange uns vielleicht wirklich von ihrer Magie überzeugen wollte.

HIER gibt es weitere meiner Arbeiten zu sehen die bei der AGA 2019 entstanden sind.

A short video of the work with the original sounds from the forest

Participating in the Abidjan Green Arts Biennale, 2019

Imke Rust at work in the Banco forest, Abidjan. ©Gaël Gellé and Cyrille Kouassi for Abidjan Green

(German version below)

Recently I had the honour to take part in the first Abidjan Green Art Biennale. Only twelve international artists have been invited to participate in the two-week event in the Cote d’Ivoire, which took place between the 25th of November and the 10th of December.
 
The artists were invited to create new artworks in the Parc National du Banco, one of the last primary rainforest in the country. The works should raise awareness about the danger of deforestation and the necessity to protect the environment. Banco is unique, as it is a protected area of about 3500 hectare in the middle of the coastal city of Abidjan.
 
An exciting prerequisite of the AGA Biennale is, that the artists were only allowed to make use of materials, which they found on site to create their works. If they needed any additional material, it had to be natural and biodegradable. They were also not allowed to cut or damage any living trees to create their works.
 
As a multidisciplinary artist I am known for my artworks created in and with nature. Already in 2012 I have started to raise awareness about environmental issues in Namibia with my art project and exhibition ‘An Infinite Scream’, commenting on the dangers of the ever-increasing uranium mining and plans for marine phosphate extraction.
 
For the Abidjan Green Art Biennale I have produced four new artworks. One work is a huge nest made of branches, titled the Circle of Life. The second work is made of bamboo, branches, and a natural paint made of talcum powder and cooking oil, it is called ‘The Seven Gates of the Rainsnake’. While the third work, The Passage, is made with clay on a dead tree trunk. The fourth ‘Magical Rain Collector’ is a less obvious object made of Bamboo and local seeds – and used in a performance
 
The initiator of the AGA 2019, Jems Koko Bi, famous Ivorian sculptor, commented that the new artworks are a welcome and poetic tribute to the forest. All works are ephemeral and will sooner or later return to nature.

You can find an overview of my artworks created at the Abidjan Green Arts Biennale HERE.

Who else participated or was involved?
Jems Koko Bi (Ivorian sculptor and initiator and organisor)
Ute Ritschel (Curator – Germany)
Ousseynou Wade (Curator – Senegal)
Artists: Elena Redaelli (Italy), Ri-Lee Eung Woo (South Korea), Karin van der Molen (Netherlands), Ernest Daetwyler (Canada), Soly Cissé (Senegal), Franck Abd-Bakar Fanny (Coté d’Ivoire), Nathalie Vairac (Performer, France / Senegal), Adama Adepoju Dit <Taxi Conteur> (Storyteller, Coté d’Ivoire), Joseph Baffrou Dit Bee Jo (Slam poet, Coté d’Ivoire) and Sow Souleymane (Comedian, Coté d’Ivoire)

Detail of ‘The Seven Gates of the Rainsnake’ by Imke Rust

(Deutsch)

Vor Kurzem hatte ich die Ehre an der ersten Abidjan Green Arts Biennale teilzunehmen, die zwischen dem 25. November und 10. Dezember in der der Elfenbeinküste stattfand.

Aus aller Welt wurden 12 Künstler ausgewählt, in einem geschützten Regenwald in Abidjan Kunstwerke zu produzieren. Diese Arbeiten sollen auf die Bedrohung der Regenwälder durch Abholzung und die Wichtigkeit des Umweltschutz aufmerksam machen. Der Parc National du Banco ist ein etwa 3500 Hektar großer, streng geschützter Urwald mitten in der Meteropole Abidjan. Hier wurden die Künstler kreativ. 

 
Mir liegen solche Projekte sehr am Herzen und ich bin inzwischen ja auch schon bekannt dafür, dass ich mich mit meiner Naturkunst immer wieder gerne für den Schutz der Natur einsetzte. Gleich vier Arbeiten produzierte ich direkt vor Ort.  
 
Die spannende Voraussetzung der AGA Biennale ist, das die Künstler nur Materialien die sie vor Ort finden oder natürliche, biologisch abbaubare Materialien in kleinen Mengen gebrauchen dürfen, um ihre Arbeiten zu produzieren. 
Ausserdem durften auch keine Bäume gefällt werden oder oder die natürliche Umgebung sonst irgendwie zerstört werden. 
 
Der Initiator, Jems Koko Bi, ein international bekannter Bildhauer aus der Elfenbeinküste, nannte die entstandenen Werke eine poetische Bereicherung für den Wald. Alle Werke sind vergänglich und werden nach und nach wieder Teil der Umgebung werden.” 

HIER findest du einen Überblick von meinen Arbeiten die bei der Abidjan Green Arts Biennale entstanden sind.

Visitors in my artwork ‘Circle of Life’: (from left) Jems Koko Bi – artist and initiator of the AGA Biennale, unknown, me,  the Italian Ambassador H.E. Stefano Lo Savio, the Swiss Ambassador H.E. Anne Lugon-Moulin, artist Karin van der Molen, (not visible) the Spanish ambassador H.E. Ricardo López-Aranda Jagu, the Italian ambassador’s wife Valeria Lo Savio and artist Elena Redaelli)

Some Press Links:

Ivory Coast: carving in the forest to protect it (France 24, 10.12.2019)

Abidjan (AFP) Ephemeral carvings of international artists in the middle of the rainforest is the challenge of the first biennial Green Arts which has invested the Banco National Park in Abidjan.

“Deciphering the forest instead of clearing it.The idea is to create, while sensitizing to the protection of the environment,” says the artistic director of the event, the famous Ivorian sculptor Jems Koko Bi, who played with his relationships to attract fellow sculptors from all over the world for a 12-day residency: Senegal, Canada, South Korea, Namibia, Italy, the Netherlands … (…)

Enabling Art in Challenging Environments

C& (Contemporary&) By Cédric Vincent, 18. December 2019

In Conversation with Illa Donwahi
In just over ten years Illa Donwahi has transformed her family home in Abidjan into a space dedicated to an ambitious artistic, cultural, and educational project. With C& she talks about the launch of her artistic complex in the midst of Côte d’Ivoire’s political and social crisis in 2008. (…)

Floating Energy Video

I am so excited and grateful!

My talented husband, Steffen Holzkamp, has once again created a video to document my latest site-specific nature art installation. A big thank you also goes to Hans-Peter Wollmann, who has kindly provided us with his video material to use in combination with mine.

In this short video clip (1:49min) you can the ‘making-of’ and get an impression of the artwork itself.

But – it is still much better to experience it in person! If you can, please go and visit it.

I got so much wonderful feedback from the visitors while I was working there and even afterwards. All saying what a lovely surprise it was for them when they first noticed it on their walk through the forest. And then as they came closer and realised how long it was, how it was winding its way down the hill and crossing two paths, they got even more excited. It brought them so much joy, they said.

For those of you, who cannot go and visit the forest and my installation yourself, this video gives an impression, adding to the photographs in my previous post.

Enjoy! And do let me know in the comments what you think. I would appreciate it.

Floating Energy – 9. Int. Forest Art Path, Darmstadt

Floating Energy by Imke Rust

The Site-specific Installation

106 Red branches seemingly floating about half a meter above the ground. Flowing down the hill, winding its path through the forest. The total length is approximately 70m and the width varies between 1m and 4m.

Created in August 2018 as part of the 9th International Forest Art Path, in Darmstadt, Germany. Located in the forest behind the Darmstädter Böllenfalltor.

The Idea Behind it

The environment is comprised of energy and energy is always in motion. We can see many of these energy streams or sense them in one way or another. Many other such streams we are not as aware about, as we have unlearned to sense them. When we understand these energies better, we know how to flow with them or understand why crossing or opposing them might be more difficult.

When thinking or talking about nature, we often forget, that we are part of nature and we are nature too. We bring our own energy to the world, just by being who we are and doing what we do.

Usually I work in a very ephemeral way or I take my works away after I have documented them. This is the first time that I will leave a work in nature for an unknown period of time.

How will my energy and installation impact on its surroundings? And how will other energies of the forest react to it or interact with it? Will the wild pigs manoeuvre around it or destroy it or not even bother? What kind of energy will the visitors to the park bring to it?

Floating Energy (Detail) ©ImkeRust

The Process and Details

Before I installed the work, I walked around the forest to find a suitable place. While I kept some necessary artistic criteria in my mind, I mostly looked for a place that felt right.

Once I had the right place I spent quiet time walking around, sitting, listening, noticing and feeling into the place, to know where the energy comes from and where it wants to flow.

There is a special fountain of energy at the beginning of the energy flow of my installation. It starts from a large beech tree, but the real fountain is only noticeable from close by and for visitors who are willing to look and listen a bit closer. There is a root hole in which there is a lot of life and activity. Mosquitoes are buzzing around in it, seemingly in a constant energetic flow. Because of this very strong natural concentration of energy I decided to start my installation from here. From the starting point or well, I used my senses to feel how the installations energy would best flow, and followed this intuitive path.

After completion of the installation, I have been able to spent lots of time in and around it, to feel and understand the energy that was created. Once I was satisfied, I placed an offering of water at the origin of the flow and carried a second bowl down the ‘river’ to place it at its end. This way I hope to create even more of a flow and a connection throughout the installation.

I also believe that giving an offering to the forest and its spirits/energy/beings is a way of showing them (and myself) that I am aware and respectful of their existence as equal to mine. I chose water, as it emphasis the flow and also, as it is desperately needed during this very hot and dry time. While I was installing my work, I also realised that the red branches emphasise a warm, fiery energy. I felt a bit apprehensive about this, in a time where the danger of fire is a very real and everybody is on high alert. Water would symbolically cool down the fire energy – I hope.

The energy stream crosses two paths. Here the energy seemingly disappears into the ground and reappears on the other side, so that anybody can cross the stream easily and safely. I have connected the separate parts with a small water ceremony.

The Colour and Materials

I have used Signal Red spray paint for the beech branches, which make up my installation. I consciously choose a colour that symbolizes energy and which is very noticeable in the forest. Especially noticeable as something that was introduced by humans.

It was important to show that we are not separate from nature and everything we do is part of nature. There is only one nature, one energy. This installation is an attempt to better grasp this idea in its complexity and meaning.

Thin metal rods hold the branches up.

…but, is it Environmentally Friendly?

I have used graffiti spray paint from Montana, and doubt that it would be considered as really environmentally friendly. Once the work is starting to decompose, the organisers from the Waldkunstpfad will de-install it and dispose of it through the right channels.

I do hope that this artwork raises the question with everyone who sees it. While contemplating about the environmental friendliness of the paint, I hope we ask ourselves how environmentally friendly our own lives are? The plastic that our food is wrapped in, the cars we drive, the flights we take, the washing powder we use… Even the energy of negative thoughts we bring into this world.

Hopefully each of us is doing whatever we can to live more consciously and I do believe that making people happy through a beautiful artwork adds a lot of positive energy to the bigger equation.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this artwork! Do you have questions? Let me know in the comments below.