Tag Archives: environmental art

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.

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/

Fremde Welten – Orangerie, Oranienburg

Wald / Forest, Acryl auf Leinwand, 100 x 100cm

Announcement Upcoming Solo Exhibition / Bekanntmachung Solo Ausstellung:

»Fremde Welten«
Land-Art-Fotografien und Malerei von Imke Rust in der Orangerie

Oranienburg – Imke Rust zieht es raus in die Natur. Das Besondere dabei: Die Künstlerin malt nicht die für uns gewohnte Umwelt, sondern sie entführt den Betrachter in fremde Welten und neue Perspektiven. Zum Teil entstanden ihre Arbeiten in Namibia, der exotischen Heimat der Künstlerin. Andere Arbeiten sind Ausdruck ihrer Erfahrungen und Gefühle der ihr neuen Umgebung hier in Deutschland, wo sie seit ein paar Jahren ihr zweites Zuhause gefunden hat. Ihre vielseitigen Ausdrucksformen über Installationen und Malerei, sowie ihre spezielle Bild und Formsprache, mal figürlich, mal abstrakt, spannen auch konzeptuell den Bogen zwischen verschiedenen Welten.

Interessierte haben ab Dienstag, 13. Februar, die Möglichkeit, die Ausstellung »Fremde Welten« von Imke Rust bei Veranstaltungen in der Orangerie, Kanalstraße 26a, oder nach telefonischer Vereinbarung unter (03301) 600 8506 zu besichtigen.

Am Donnerstag, 5. April, findet die Finissage zur Ausstellung gemeinsam mit der Künstlerin statt. Hierzu präsentieren Filmemacher Steffen Holzkamp und Imke Rust einen eindrucksvollen Dokumentarfilm über die Entstehung der ausgestellten Land-Art-Arbeiten.

Mehr Info: Orangerie – Oranienburg

Catalogue – Global Nomadic Art Project – Europe 2017

The Global Nomadic Art Project has just released the catalogue of the projects done in Europe during 2017.

You might remember that I participated in the GNAP- Germany in August/September 2017 and before that in GNAP – South Africa 2016. It was an incredible honour and also a humbling experience to meet so many wonderful land art artists and work together for 3 weeks at a time.

You can see the results of all the different GNAP projects (Turkey, Lithuania, France, Germany and Eastern Europe) in this beautiful catalogue online:

Please click on the image to be taken to the online catalogue.

My artworks are on page 95 and on page 100 is one image of a performance piece which I made. But, take your time to look at all the other amazing art and artists brought together through this wonderful initiative.

And, if you are interested to see more of the art which I created during the GNAP 2017 – Germany project, please click here to view a compilation of my artworks.

Want to see even more? If you missed what I have created in South Africa in 2016, click here.