Category Archives: Installations

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.

9th International Forest Art Path Darmstadt

Art and Ecology – that is the theme of this year’s Forest Art Path (Waldkunstpfad) curated by Ute Ritschel and Sue Spaid.

Walking Along a Crack in a Rock, Performance documented as a photo collage (© Imke Rust, 2017)

I am very excited that I have been invited to install a site-specific land art installation for this event. The large-scale installation which I will be creating is entitled ‘Energy’. I will post progress pictures on my Instagram account and here if I find the time.

From next week on I will be in Darmstadt and creating alongside a wonderful group of 23  artists from 9 countries.

I thought I let you know, just in case you are in or close to Darmstadt and want to come and say Hi.

There are a few official dates where you can learn more about my art:

Wednesday, 25th of July, 20h00 I will be speaking at the Wednesday Forum Artist Talks at the International Forest Art Centre. Ludwigshöhstr. 137

Tuesday, 31st July, 20h00 I will be giving a presentation about the ‘Creative Secrets of Rainmaking’ at the International Forest Art Centre. Ludwigshöhstr. 137

And the official opening of the 9th International Forest Path will take place on Saturday, the 11th August 2018 at 15h00 at the Ludwigshöhturm.

Hope to see you there. But you are also welcome to contact me to arrange to meet me in the forest while I am working. (between the 23rd of July and the 10th of August).

Click HERE for the full program and details (PDF in German).

I will also be revisiting some of my old works, which I have created in this forest in 2017 during the Global Nomadic Art Project Germany – Urban Nature Art.

Bark Figure, Waldkunstpfad 2017, © Imke Rust

Here is a list of the other artists who are participating and whom you might like to meet too:

431art – Torsten Grosch und Haike Rausch (Germany)
Isabelle Aubry (France)
Emanuelle Camacci / Fulvio D’Orazio (Italy)
Rebecca Chesney (UK)
Mark and Beth Cooley (US)
Georg Dietzler (Germany)
Kim Goodwin (South Africa)
Joachim Jacob / Florian Schneider (Germany)
Daniela di Maro (Italy)
Anke Mellin (Germany)
Imke Rust (Germany/Namibia)
Noboyuko Suguhara (Japan)
Kevin Sullivan (USA)
Vera Thaens (Belgium)
Stefanie Welk / Bianca Bischer (Germany)
Susanne Resch / Christoph von Erffta (Germany)
IMD Projekt Julia Mihaly, Stockhausen Konzert

For further information please visit the official website of the organizers: https://2018.waldkunst.com/

Three Young Muses* Unveiled in Dnipro City

(*a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration)

Finally I am back in Germany and need to catch up on so much news to share with you! So, without further ado, I jump in with news from the Ukraine: On the 28th of September (while I was busy creating land art in South Africa) my public sculpture project  “Three Young Muses” has been unveiled in Dnipro City.

I was invited by the German Consulate of Donezk and Artsvit Gallery to create a public artwork as a gift to the city. It was a challenging project, due to several logistical, time, budget and planning constraints, but with such a great team working together it all was successfully completed in time for the German Weeks. The artwork was installed opposite of the Yavornytsky National Historical Museum.

Three Young Muses, Art project of Artsvit Gallery and German Consulate of Donezk. Artist: Imke Rust

Three Young Muses, Art project of Artsvit Gallery and German Consulate of Donezk. Artist: Imke Rust

The Three Young Muses have been installed here to create a direct visual and conceptual link to the ancient Baba figurines. They are three young, modern-day women who relax on the grass of the park and contemplate the future.

In dialog with the ancient Babas, these young Muses hope to inspire modern society to re-embrace the female wisdom and power in order to balance the male and female energies in society. They also remind us that our generations are responsible to consciously envision and co-create our future.

Unlike their ancient stone counterparts, the Three Young Muses are made out of ash wood. Their wooden nature is symbolic for life, growth and transformation. The wood’s vulnerability and semi-permanent nature also represents our fast-paced modern times and reminds us to live in the present moment, as reality changes faster than ever. By focussing on the Now we have the power to determine and shape the future according to our highest vision. If you would like to know more about my thoughts behind this work, I have added some at the bottom.

A short video documentation about the Three Young Muses Art Project
Video: Serge Ostrianyn, With the kind permission of Artsvit Gallery

I would like to thank the German consul Mr Mössinger and the team of the German Consulate of Donezk, Ms Iryna Polikarchuk, Director of the Artsvit Gallery and her team and the City of Dnipro for this opportunity. Also thank you to Bazarenko Yuriy (Architect), Serge Ostrianyn (Video), Vita Popova (Photos), Nikita Shalenny (Studio space) and Liosha (Assistance).

Some pictures (click on images to see a larger view):

More Info regarding the background of the Three Young Muses (if you are interested in the nitty-gritty details 😉 ):

Cooperation / Together we are stronger.

They are a small group of three women, named: Love, Hope and Gratitude. I believe that these three qualities are essential to our peaceful future.

The three women are also symbolic of the three backgrounds coming together in the creation of the sculpture through a German- Namibian artist creating in the Ukraine. Together we are stronger and the more we understand that there are no differences between people, no matter where they come from or who they are, the easier we can co-exist and co-create a better future for all. Each lady is symbolical for one of the three countries connected here: Ukraine, Germany and Namibia.

Three:

The third dimension – we do things in threes so they will manifest in our physical realm.

It’s roots stem from the meaning of multiplicity. Creative power; growth. Three is a moving forward of energy, overcoming duality, expression, manifestation and synthesis. Three is the first number to which the meaning “all” was given. It is The Triad, being the number of the whole as it contains the beginning, a middle and an end.

The power of three is universal. Body, mind and soul. Birth, life and death. Heaven, earth and hell. Three is a complete cycle unto itself. It is past, present, future.

There are three wishes, and in many fairytales there are three sisters…

Past, Present and Future

The Babas look towards the Three Young Muses and put their hope and expectations into the young generation, especially the women, to get engaged and empowered to change our destiny.

The viewer, when passing the Three Young Muses on the park walkway, will be located between the past (Babas) and the future (Three Young Muses), and will become the link, the present moment, which shapes our future. I hope that we learn from the past, but look towards the future.

Size and Material

The Three Young Muses are created only slightly larger than real-life women. I hope this invites people to engage on eye-level with the artwork and ideas behind it. Possibly to sit between or around these figures and get inspired…

I believe that unlike older, monumental public sculptures, which create a distance to the viewer, contemporary art should be more interactive and accessible. The size and the vulnerable material highlight these ideas.

When faced with the obvious ‘weakness’ of the material, the responsibility to treat these figures with respect and care now lies with each member of the public. It will be interesting to see, if and how people ‘accept this challenge’ of openly displayed vulnerability. Will they be treated according to our inherent deep-seated values towards women, art or public property? Can we trust each other with our vulnerability? Do we let ourselves be inspired by their openness, confidence and soft strength that these Muses display?

The choice of wood (symbolism of the Ash tree):

According to different sources that I found on the Internet, Ash wood is a symbol of healing and especially transformation and empowerment in matters of destiny.

It is also considered to be “the key to healing the loneliness of the human spirit, forming a link between the gods, humans, and the dead in the spirit world. Ash holds the key to Universal Truth and Cosmic Wisdom, and it takes on the important role as a Tree of Initiation.”

Relation to and inspiration by the stone Babas:

The specific form in which the Three Young Muses were conceptualised has been inspired by the Baba figures, of which I have read:

“A widespread form of sculptures were steles of a simplified anthropomorphic type that were formed of flat right-angled stone plates. Their lower part was not worked as it was meant to be dug into the ground, though they had carefully shaped shoulders and heads with well-carved facial characteristics.

…are Polovtsian (Cuman) stone babas. There are about two thousand of them left. They are usually found in groups of 2 – 3 statues on the highest parts of steppe – on the sanctuaries of the funeral cult of ancestors.  Polovtsian statues symbolized their ancestors and were not directly connected with the burial ritual.

… At the end of the century a visible simplification of form took place when the back of the statue was not decorated, also the details of haircuts and costumes were missing on the front side.

Source: http://artukraine.com.ua/eng/a/kamennye-baby-aktualnyy-vzglyad/#.V7Canq7GpHo )

View more images about the creation of my Three Young Muses at: http://artsvit.dp.ua/news/skulpturna-kompozicya-vd-mke-rust-v-dnpr/ 

 

Longing to Belong

69 Strands of (be)Longing, Fake and natural hair, branch and wire. Artwork created by Imke Rust at the ILAM, May 2016

69 Strands of (be)Longing,
Fake and natural hair, branch and wire. Artwork created by Imke Rust at the ILAM, May 2016

In May I had been in Maastricht as an invited artist to the International Land Art Maastricht Symposium. I had shared some pictures from this wonderful event together with an invitation to come and see the results, but I have not had the time to tell you more about the artwork that I created there. So today I would like to share with you some thoughts and images, especially for those of you, who could not see the work in person.

Artists were asked to propose an artwork that they would create in the park of the Chateau Jerusalem. The theme of the symposium was ‘Connected’. We had five days to complete the work, which then was on exhibition for the following two weeks.

This is the concept, which I originally formulated for my plans:

“I am exploring the ‘Connected’ theme through a material that everybody connects to African women: long, black braided hair. Although they usually are made out of fake artificial material, they have come to represent a certain identity (African), but at the same time they are also an imitation of another identity (western, long, smooth hair). In so many ways they are connecting different worlds. To me they are also a strong metaphor for belonging and identity. Hair and braids can also be used as ropes to climb to another life (Rapunzel), and relate to the migration of refugees to Europe.

As a white African I am intrigued by working with this fake hair, as a form to express the duality and paradox of my own identity and belonging. The combination of synthetic and natural materials, illusions created and the process of braiding are additional aspects, which I want to explore.”

69 Strands of (be)Longing, Fake and natural hair, branch and wire. May 2016

69 Strands of (be)Longing,
Fake and natural hair, branch and wire. Artwork created by Imke Rust at the ILAM, May 2016

I had some vague ideas of how I wanted to proceed, but since I have not seen the park and have never worked in this material before, I decided to stay open and flexible and just trust the process.

When I arrived there and saw all the grand and impressive plans from the other artists, my heart sunk. Maybe my work was too timid, too small, too unspectacular? And what if it does not work out in any way I had imagined? I had no chance to try it out before, so either it worked or it would fail… What could I do, besides just start and hope for the best? I started and was flooded with even more doubts. Am I allowed, as a white woman to make art with this kind of hair, which usually is only used by black women? Could I even dream of braiding as neatly and perfectly as those hairdressers back home in Namibia do? Aren’t they the real artists who can make the most stunning patterns and styles for their customers? Who am I to now want to use this method and material to create my art?

Well, I had a lot of time to think, while I braided. And every time the doubts and insecurities became too strong, I heard the inner voice saying: Just trust the process.

I remembered that one of the reasons why I initially wanted to work with braiding, was the repetitive process itself. Somehow it is a process that is fairly easy, but demands just enough concentration and focus, that you have to stay in the here and now, but also leaves enough space for your mind to relax and wander off into thoughts that you usually are too busy for.

This work quickly became much more about that process and the inner dialogue that happened, than the final physical artwork. For five days I just sat there, under a beautiful tree, in the middle of the park and braided. I got to understand how this synthetic material reacted to humidity, dryness, wind and weather. How it sometimes could be so stubborn and putting up a real fight to get under control, and other times it just flowed through my fingers as if it was the most natural thing to happen. I became calm and looked forward to my work and every next strand.

My thoughts turned to my first memories of braiding. When I was a young girl, it was my father who braided my hair every day. And it was also he, who taught me how to braid. And I was so proud, that I even knew (from him) how to braid with more than 3 strands. While everybody looked at braiding as a typical female activity, I connected it to my father. And yet, it was my mother who had to go and buy the fake hair in Namibia (yes, these hairs were made in Namibia and sent all the way to Germany), so it was kind of a family effort that ensured I could sit in Maastricht in a park and braid ‘my’ hair.

Masculine and feminine… control and wildness… order and chaos… expectations and reality… appearance and authenticity… there were so many concepts that flowed into and through my being and into the braids (or did it flow out of them or the process?) while I was working.

With every next strand I had another chance of flowing. The focus changing and shifting… With every movement I moved on, the strand started, got longer and longer, and then, suddenly it reached the end.

I made a rough knot into the strand to keep it from coming undone and originally thought I will melt the ends to make a neat and proper ending. After a few strands with wild and chaotic knotted ends, I noticed the beauty, the wildness and the dynamic of these endings, the contrast to the neat braids… and decided to leave them just like that.

Through folding thin strands of hair over each other again and again… the central aspect became more obvious for me. With every movement there was a longing. A longing to come to the end, but also a longing for so much more… To belong, to understand, to control, to find the balance, to find a (my) place … to just be.

Where do I belong? To my home country, where I am too white in the eyes of many? Or to Germany, where I appear (on the first outer impression) to rather belong, but where I am a stranger? Do I ‘belong’ to be more controlled, or more wild? To fit better into the pattern of society or do my ends just come loose anyway?

Click on the images below to see a larger view and read about some further details.

Braiding, braiding, braiding… in 5 days I managed to braid 69 long strands. I managed to contain my sadness in these braids, to reassess the world and my ideas about it and to learn that I can and should just trust the process. The process of an artwork, but also the process of life…

Life is like these strands. Every day you begin with a new one, a new chance. You do your best to get as far as possible. But in the end it does not matter how far you come and how many days you get. What matters is your experience and your insights, your joy, but also your struggles and what you have learned through them.

Trust the process…

Here is a video taking you around the final artwork. In the photos one aspect gets lost, and that is how alive this work seems. How it dances and moves in the wind. The video gives you a small impression of that.

 

Invitation to Maastricht Exhibition Opening

Greetings from Holland!

I have been invited to participate in the International Land Art Maastricht 2016 Symposium along with 13 other artists from the Euregio.

For one week we are creating land art works in the park of the Chateau Jerusalem in Maastricht and we are having a lot of fun.

On Saturday (14th of May, 16:00) everybody is invited to view the results of this symposium at the official opening of the exhibition. If you are nearby I would love to see you and show you the works that have been created. More information in the flyer below. (Click on image to see a larger version).

Invitation ILAM 2016

Invitation ILAM 2016

And here you can see some images of the symposium and work in progress: (Please click on the images to see a larger view and descriptions)

Creation is about allowing… (and upcoming events)

Blue Sphere 2, carefully allowed in the branches between two trees in the forest, by Imke Rust

Blue Sphere 2, carefully allowed installation in the branches between two trees in the forest, by Imke Rust

Creation is about allowing
– not about going out and doing.

Recently I found this quote and it made me stop in my tracks. Coming from a society and background where doing is considered the highest virtue, this thought seemed so out-of-place and plain presumptuous. Yet, I could not dismiss it, as it also stirred something deep inside of me.

For one, I realised some time ago, that doing is not always the answer. I have written about this idea before HERE.

But even more importantly I was struck by the ‘allowing’ part. When we grow up, our life is filled and directed with an endless list of do’s and don’ts… In my younger years, I was convinced if I just learn this list and follow it to perfection, I would be happy, and so would be everybody around me. Because I was doing things right… Later in life, I realised that this list became more and more complicated and it was not always possible to separate clearly between the do’s and don’ts. This realisation was confusing and also depressing, because my neatly arranged roadmap to life seemed to be crumbling and I had nothing to hold on to anymore that would guide me along.

Allowing…

Wow, what a big concept.

In life. In creativity. In love. In believes.

What would happen if we allowed more and were less constricted by the do’s and don’ts?

Allowing… the creative process of the universe, of life, to happen, without the need to control it.

It is a difficult concept to grasp (at least for me). And I guess I will be allowing myself to ponder on this much more. And allowing the creative process more and more, instead of trying to go out and ‘doing’.

And as if the universe wanted to let me know that it was serious about this, it send some sunshine on Saturday and nudged me to go out and explore a new part of the forest. Allowing myself a break, with no responsibilities or work to do. I was so deeply touched by the spirit of the forest, the cold, fresh air, nature’s first slow attempts at spring coming, the sunlight playing hide and seek and the majesty of the trees…

I took some pictures. And when I arrived home and downloaded them onto the computer, I realised that without any intention or doing on my part, a special moment was created and captured. Yes, it is just the flare of sunlight hitting my camera, but it is also magical. As if a sphere of blue light has been installed perfectly between the trees… and documented.

If you just allow yourself to imagine that this was a carefully created art installation.

Blue Sphere 1 & 2, carefully allowed installation in the branches between two trees in the forest, by Imke Rust

 

Here are some upcoming events, where you can see or experience my art:

Save the date if you are in Windhoek, Namibia:

Art Inside 2016  

One of my artworks (Happy Mongoose, 2015, Mixed Media on Canvas, 112 x 145cm) has been selected for the Art Inside Project and exhibition at the National Art Gallery of Namibia. You are welcome to the opening this week Thursday! If you cannot make it then, the exhibition runs till the 23rd of April 2016.

Happy Mongoose

Happy Mongoose

OPENING DATE 24 March 2016
OPENING TIME 18:00
VIEWING 24 March – 23 April 2016
VENUE NAGN

Press information about the project and exhibition from the National Art Gallery of Namibia:

“The project Art Inside, which was first launched in 2014, is a nationwide art awareness project aimed at Namibian Government. The initiative aims at acquiring original Namibian visual art for installation in all Ministries and semi-government premises. By installing the artworks, the project aims to celebrate visual art as an important mode of creative communication, and to foster an appreciation for visual art as inherent part of government’s working environment.

In the previous editions Namibian artists from all Regions have responded positively by submitting inspiring art and craftwork of an exceptional quality for this project. From these, the best pieces were first exhibited at the NAGN and then purchased for the Government of Namibia Art Collection.

The Art inside 2016 exhibition will run from 24th March to 23rd April 2016 at the National Gallery of Namibia.”

*************

And save the date if you are in Germany and interested to participate in a special Land Art Workshop which I am offering in conjunction with the Fair Camp Berlin program:

Die Fülle in dir
Fair Camp Exkursion „Kreativ im Grünen“ mit Imke Rust am 24. April 2016

Wann: So. 24. April 2016, ca. 13 bis 18 Uhr inkl. Mittagessen, Wo: bei Oranienburg

Die FÜLLE in Dir: Raus in die Natur! Rein in die Seele. Sehnen sie sich auch nach neuem Ausdruck, Natur und kreativem Schaffen? Der Frühling ist die perfekte Zeit auch unsere Seele aufblühen zu lassen und neue Impulse in unser Leben zu bringen. Lust auf etwas Neues und eine Auszeit vom Alltag? Dann lade ich sie herzlich ein, gemeinsam mit mir die Fülle, ihre Kreativität und die Natur neu zu entdecken. Wir kreieren, gestalten und experimentieren mit und in der Natur und lernen dabei unsere eigene innere Fülle und die der Natur bewusster zu erleben und auszudrücken.

Sie brauchen keine Vorkenntnisse, nur Offenheit, Freude an der Natur und Lust sich auszuprobieren. Als deutsch-namibische multimediale Künstlerin und Regenmacherin freue mich darauf, sie dabei zu begleiten und inspirieren zu dürfen. Imke Rust

Dieser Workshop ist der Arbeit in und mit der Natur gewidmet. Aber vor allem soll er die spielerische Kreativität, den persönlichen Ausdruck und die Freude am Schaffensprozess anregen. Wir werden die meiste Zeit draußen im Wald verbringen. Falls das Wetter nicht mitspielt, arbeiten wir mit Naturmaterialien im Atelier. Alles ist in kurzer Laufentfernung.

Bei Ankunft gibt es ein Mittagsmahl, eine Spende von Wünsch Dir Mahl. Wasser, Saft und Kekse für zwischendurch stehen bereit.

Click HERE for more information.
Space is limited to 10 participants, and places are already filling up quickly…

Kreativ im Grünen_FairCamp2016