Category Archives: Performance/ Video

Namibian Video Art in Korea

Still image of 'Toxic Water' video artwork by Imke Rust

Still image of ‘Toxic Water’ video artwork by Imke Rust

How awesome is that? My video work has been selected for the Geumgang Nature Art Biennale 2016 (Video exhibition)!

I am so excited that ‘Toxic Water’ is currently shown in the Republik of Korea till the end of November 2016. If you happen to be around that part of the world, go and have a look!

You can find more information on the webpage of the Geumgang Nature Art Biennale 2016 .

My apologies for the having been pretty quiet in the past few months and now sending you some updates in a shorter time. I have planned another über-exciting one for Monday, so please bear with me. Things have been hectic and difficult on many fronts, but much has also led up to all the exciting prospects happening in my career at the moment.

I am so grateful for your continued interest and support and did not want you to miss out on this news. 🙂

Geumgang Nature Art Biennale - Invitation

Geumgang Nature Art Biennale – Invitation

Here are some behind-the-scenes images from the making of the video art work. Please click on the images to see a larger version:

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.

 

Playing with my Heart

It is International Women’s Day and to celebrate this I have created my very first ever animated GIF and will share it with you today.

A GIF is a graphic format, which I would explain as a kind of moving picture. These formats seem to become ever more popular on the internet and I can understand why. Instead of having just one image, you have kind of a moving gesture, usually composed of a few still images.

And so, without further ado, here it is:

Playing with my Heart

Playing with my Heart, an animated GIF by Imke Rust

I hope you enjoy it!

Heute im Deutschen Hörfunk in Namibia…

Once again apologies to my English followers, as I am now posting an interview in German, which we had today in the German Radio in Namibia.

Heute waren Steffen und ich beim Deutschen Hörfunk der Namibian Broadcasting Cooperation (NBC) und wurden im Auftakt zu der Namibia Premiere unseres Filmes von Ralf Boll interviewt.

Wer es ‚live’ verpasst hat, kann sich hier das Interview noch einmal anhören. Es gibt eine kurze Filmkritik und dann ein recht launiges Gespräch mit dem super Moderator Ralf Boll.

Um das Interview zu hören, bitte einfach oben Start drücken.

Der Film wird morgen am 14ten Januar im Goethe Institut in Windhoek gezeigt. Wir freuen uns, wenn die Einblicke in unser Leben und Schaffen euch neugierig machen. Lasst euch diese (einzige) Filmvorführung in Namibia nicht entgehen.

Ralf Boll, Steffen Holzkamp und Imke Rust im Studio 5 der NBC, Deutscher Hörfunk Namibia. (13 Januar 2016)

Ralf Boll, Steffen Holzkamp und Imke Rust im Studio 5 der NBC, Deutscher Hörfunk Namibia. (13 Januar 2016)

Film Revue: An Infinite Scream

Source: Film Revue: An Infinite Scream

(Sorry to all English subscribers, today I reblog an Afrikaans review about our film which will be screened tomorrow, 14th January, at the Goethe Institut in Windhoek @ 19h15)

En nou vir die van julle wat Afrikaans praat, ‘n Film Revue in Afrikaans van die wonderlike Daniël Bezuidenhout a.k.a Thulana wat met haar woorde en taal kan toor.

Lees gerus ook ‘n bietjie van haar ander blog posts, so mooi geskryf met ‘n wonderlike sin vir humor en interessante stories oor haar lewe in Ghana.

Dankie Daniël!

“Elkeen van ons wat soos ‘n volstruis met sy kop in die sand staan, en vertrou die regering sal na al jou belange omsien, moet ‘n slag staan en wonder hoe goed dit uitgewerk het vir die Boesmans.

 

In ‘n aangrypende artistiese dokumentêr, “An Infinite Scream”, kry die Imke Rust jou kop uit die sand. …lees meer hier

Finally! A new year, a new blog post and an important event to announce!

Firstly I wish you all a very happy, adventurous, creative, healthy and awesome 2016!

I hope this will be the year where you make your dreams come true, create the reality that you want to see and find joy and gratitude in your everyday life. That is my motto, not only for the New Year, but for every new day. And added to that, I want to push myself every day to creatively and fearlessly express who I am. How about you? What are your visions and desires for 2016?

I have been quiet on the blog for some time… I am spending time at home in Namibia, with my family, meeting friends, relaxing and creating. Basically replenishing my soul and soaking up the sunshine, warmth and familiarity of home.

Clarissa, my cat, inspecting the last painting I have done in 2015 - an impression of a wild mongoose who visits us daily.

Clarissa, my cat, inspecting the last painting I have done in 2015 – an impression of a wild mongoose who visits us daily.

Home. Returning to Namibia after almost two years of absence has stirred my mind and body in interesting ways. I realise that finally our house in Germany feels more like a home to me, while Namibia and my family home here, where I have spend so many years of my life, has moved into an uneasy place of feeling powerfully familiar and at the same time somewhat distanced. Things have changed, things have stayed the same. I have changed and grown. I am curious to see how my life and I will evolve in the future.

You can view some of my everyday impressions from Namibia on my instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/imkerust/

And as promised an event announcement:

Finally we will be presenting ‘An Infinite Scream’ – my husband, Steffen Holzkamp’s documentary film about my land art project – in Namibia! On home turf so to say.

It took some time before Namibians can finally see the film and obviously I am curious and nervous as to how it will be received. So I (and Steffen) hope that if you are in Windhoek on the 14th of January you will join us at 19h15 at the Goethe Institut. (it is FREE!!!)

By the way, Namibia only had a Goethe Centre up till now, but since 2016 everybody is very excited to have it turned into a Goethe Institut. We feel very honoured that one of the first official events in the new Institut will the Namibian Premiere of our film.

Why would you see the film? Well, if you are interested in nature, environment, the desert, Namibia and/or the arts, or if you simply like me or what I am doing, then this film offers you a unique and thought-provoking view. Some serious and some fun.

It is more than a documentary.

It is an artist portrait and a project portrait. It is a reflection on what individuals can do to make the world a slightly better place. It is a beautiful mix of art, nature, society and action…

Most people only ever see the final exhibition and have no idea how it came about. If you have ever wondered how artists think, why and how they create and all the things that happen behind the scene, before you get to sip your wine at the exhibition opening, this film will give you a lot of insight into my personal way of creating.

I know I might be biased in more than one way, but I do think there is a certain magic happening when you have a very talented filmmaker and musician, who happens to know you well enough to perfectly reflect your ideas and works through his film.

This film was not planned to be a film. When I started out with my work, I simply thought it would be awesome to have the making of the individual pieces documented and fortunately Steffen was happy to do that for me. Only later, when the exhibition finally happened, after the original venue had suddenly rejected it, Steffen had the idea to turn all his filmed material into a documentary… and spend about a year on this labour of love. Thank you so much, Steffen, for all your hard work and dedication, for your beautiful pictures, music and your vision to pull this all together.

So if you are curious, we warmly invite you to come and see it.

It is not only free of charge, but you also get the chance to meet up with us and ask us questions afterwards 🙂

We are looking forward to meeting you there.

Please also feel free to share this information and invite your friends along. After all, the more the merrier.

Namibia Premiere: An Infinite Scream (Poster)

Namibia Premiere: An Infinite Scream (Poster)

Concerned about the ever-increasing uranium mining in Namibia a local artist sets out to give the Namib Desert a voice: An Infinite Scream

The Goethe Institut proudly presents the Namibian Premiere of a documentary film about Imke Rust’s land art by Steffen Holzkamp.

Date: 14th of January 2016
Time: 19h15 (Duration: 45min)
Venue: Goethe Institut, 1-5 Fidel Castro Street
Free Entry
Artist and filmmaker are present.

Trailer and more info at: https://aninfinitescream.wordpress.com/

 

As artist-curator in the Ukraine

What an exhilarating time it has been!

And I realise that I have been neglecting this blog a bit, with the last post being almost a month back… my apologies to all of you.

I just came back from my second visit to Kharkiv/Kharkow in the eastern Ukraine. The first time I came here in June, on a research and introductory visit for a project initiated by partners Osteuropa gGmbH. Together with the wonderful Tatyana Tumasyan and her dedicated staff at the Municipal Gallery of Kharkiv we planned and curated an exhibition, to be opened in September. The exhibition’s opening and the German-Ukrainian cooperation marked the start of the German Weeks in the Ukraine.

The exhibition ‘Understanding – Понимание’ featured installations and performances in public spaces. Eight young, but well-known Kharkiv artists were selected by us to present new works for this exhibition. They are Gamlet Zinkovsky, Konstantin Zorkin, Uliana Alimova, Boba Group, Vladislav Krasnoshchok, Oksana Solop, Vitaly Kokhan and Daria Rakova. The Municipal Gallery did an incredible job at preparing the show and I was very happy and grateful to be able to be present at the opening on the 24th of September.

Here are some pictures of the exhibition (please click on the images to see the full view and read my descriptions):

And a short video of the Boba-Group performance:

Besides the exhibition, I was also invited to present a workshop for a group of 12 young curators, who were selected from all over the Ukraine.

Together with Monika Szewczyk, director of the gallery Arsenal in Bialystok, Poland (www.galeria-arsenal.pl) and Viktor Misiano (http://www.re-aligned.net/viktor-misiano/?lang=en). Each of us had 2 days to work with the young curators…

Honestly, when I was first asked to do this, I wanted to say NO. Although I have been working as a curator in the National Art Gallery of Namibia, have curated a few independent exhibitions and art projects and have experience in large international bi-lateral projects like the p.art.ners berlin-windhoek ‘Shared Experiences’ Artistic and Cultural Exchange project between Namibia and Germany, I did not feel that I was really qualified to be in this world-class company of other ‘real’ full-time curators. I wondered what I could possibly teach these young curators, which the other presenters would not be able to do better, as they work with the subject every day.

Then I thought, if I am invited for this, there must be something valuable and special which I can add to this workshop. The organisers believed in me and trusted that I am exactly the right person for this. They would not have approached me if it was otherwise. And I realised that yes, I always believed that I have so much to share that would be helpful and inspirational to others, and now I have the chance to do it. We all have a specific combination of superpowers that make us who we are and let us live our life’s purpose. And I have unique experiences, views and ideas that are worth sharing with others (and so have each of you, by the way).

So I chose to share my personal experiences related to the challenges as an artist in Namibia and in the world and the solutions and alternatives that I have found for myself. I shared what worked for me and why, and what did not. Suddenly I realised that even my frustrations and failures had value in guiding me in a perfect way on my journey and by sharing these (and how I have been able to overcome them, or move on from them) I can really help others.

From the feedback and the many ‘thank you’s’, which I got, I am deeply honoured and can say with gratitude that my aim to inspire and enrich these young curators was successful. Here are messages I received from two of the participants, which so much warmed my heart:

“Thank you to incredible Imke Rust for the fact that no matter what the circumstances, not taking into account any impossibility, seeking the most noble and most necessary to improve this planet. For her contagious faith in something that everyone is able to change the world for the better. For her projects, for her unique experience and most importantly, for her desire to share this experience.” Владислава Ильинская
Dear Imke, thank you so much for the workshop you did in Kharkiv! It was really inspiring and motivating. You have a very particular charm and energy, that there are no doubts that you can make it rain. 🙂
Thank you a lot and wish you all the best in your projects! Olena Kasperovych/ Kharkiv, Ukraine

(They were both translated from Ukrainian to English via the Google translator.)

Even though I had a positive feeling about the workshop, I cannot tell you how much it means  to me to get personal feedback and assurance like this! Because unfortunately, no matter how much I have achieved or how confident I appear to be, I often feel so insecure and am worrying if what I am doing is good enough… (Note to self: give more positive feedback to others when it is merited. Not only will it be appreciated, but very often it helps that person to overcome their insecurities and doubts a little bit more. And I guess we all have some of those.)

While the participants could hopefully take many lessons home, I can say for sure that I did too.

I learned that

  • it is important to share ones experiences in a way which inspires others.
  • we need to trust in our unique strengths and talents and use them like superpowers.
  • We need to stay true to ourselves.
  • It is a beautiful gift to be able to understand each other (even if that means you need a translator)
  • Little by little all our actions can and do add up, so make even the smallest one count.
  • there are so many young, engaged people out there who are ready to change the world.
  • Even if outer circumstances differ, usually the patterns of the problems we are facing seem to be very similar. After all we are all human and struggle with similar issues.
  • my name looks like this in Ukrainian letters:  Имке Руст

Besides the workshop and exhibition, I also have been interviewed for an hour by the Ukrainian National television, as well as giving two interviews for local magazines, about my art and I presented an open public lecture at the gallery… Working hard and loving it! The TV interview was really surreal and I am very curious to see the show and I will forever wonder how much got lost or changed in translation? But I do believe the essence will always seep through if we share and receive with an open heart.

I am grateful for having had this opportunity, for meeting so many new and special people and artists, for getting to know a new country and culture, for being able to inspire others and be a blessing in their lives, for realising that it is indeed possible for me to travel with hand-baggage only and how empowering it can be to face and overcome my own fears (like being alone in a foreign country of which I do not understand the language).

I realised that I enjoy sharing my ideas and knowledge in order to help, enrich and inspire others, so I hope that life will present me with many more similar opportunities.

My very special thanks goes to Nastia, who is the kindest, hardworking and committed young curator of the Municipal Gallery of Kharkiv, who also has been my very capable Ukrainian voice (translator) most of the time.

And here are some Kharkiv impressions:

I hope you enjoyed this summary and pictures of my trip to the Ukraine.