Tag Archives: Goldgräberstimmung

Can art do more?

Imke Rust Saltcircles

Photographing the first day’s work of the ‘Saltcircles’ during a misty sunset. (photograph by Steffen Holzkamp)

Art can be thought-provoking, inspiring and make the world more beautiful. But can it do more?

Part of my being is that I question everything. I love understanding the relations between things, the ‘why?’ of everything. I also love to find alternative solutions to problems or do things other people think cannot be done.

Often I ask myself, why am I doing art? What ‘real’ purpose does it serve? And can it do more than just look pretty, be a clever idea or make people think? Somehow all these things have not yet completely satisfied me. Yes, they all have merit and even a purely decorative painting has its purpose, but I believe there is more to life and more to art.

This has led my search, amongst others, to old, shamanic traditions. Somewhere during my art history studies I came across a reference to Ethiopian healing scrolls. If a person was sick, the priest would make scrolls according to specific rules (for instance the scroll needed to be as long as the person’s height, if I remember correctly), on which they painted symbols and wrote prayers. These scrolls were then taken home by the sick person and were viewed every day till the illness was cured. Interesting – art made to heal somebody?

Again and again I stumbled onto references where art is used for protection, fertility, health, initiation or to manifest a desired state. I became more aware that in olden days the shamans and priests made use of what we today call art (dance, painting, sculpture, music, etc.) to do their work of healing, blessing and manifesting. Since I read about the healing scrolls, I have been looking at the link between art and spiritual and mythical traditions and beliefs more closely. I do believe that under certain circumstances, art has more power and effect than what we normally imagine, and so I decided to try and be much more conscious about what kind of art I am making and why and how…

Working in the Moon valley, Namib Desert

Working in the Moon Valley, Namib Desert (Photograph by Steffen Holzkamp)

Be the change that you want to see in the world

In 2007 I made my first conscious work into this direction. I developed a personal Yin & Yang symbol to harmonize and balance the male and female energies in my life (Click here if you are curious). In 2010, I hoped for rain and made a work entitled ‘Rainmaker’ (read more about it here) – this was the start of becoming more interested in working directly in nature. Towards the end of last year the general concern about the environmental threats posed to the Namib desert by increased mining and industrial activities and proposed plans for off-shore mining of phosphate on the Namibian coast, started growing. Having grown up in Swakopmund and still considering it one of my homes, I, too, am concerned and decided to find ways in which I can do my part “to make the world a better place” and protecting the environment.

I realized that protesting or being against what I consider to be a threat is not the way to change things – or at least not my way. Instead I looked at ways of putting energy into the reality I would like to experience: a balanced, healthy and protected environment, in which all beings co-exist in a harmonious way, without destroying each other. This is based on the spiritual idea of ‘what you sow is what you reap’.

Planting black 'roses' in the Namib Desert

Planting black ‘roses’ in the Namib Desert (Photograph by Steffen Holzkamp)

The works had to fulfill at least one of two different purposes:

  1. to protect, bless and heal the land
  2. to make the threats visible and conscious, because if you have looked into the eyes of the danger, you understand it better and loose the fear and can act from a stronger base.

Loosely based on different aspects of old shamanic and spiritual traditions from all over the world, I tried to find my own formal approach, use of form, symbols, rituals and materials according to my intentions to produce my art or healing works.

Click here to be taken to see a small selection of the resulting artworks and brief descriptions.

I appeared back to back with Madonna in Berlin

Yes, it is true. This weekend I appeared back to back with Madonna right here in Berlin. You are right, my musical talent sucks, but my art is getting more and more famous.

Ok, I did not appear on stage, but while the superstar Madonna got the front page of the cultural supplement of the German magazine “Der Tagesspiegel” this past weekend, my artwork appeared on the very next page – basically back to back.

I have to admit that I am not a fan of her music, but I do really admire how she has made it from a small unknown girl to become one of the most famous female musicians in the world, with pure guts, hard work and determination.

And I am just overly excited that I, a ‘small Namibian girl’, am having a solo exhibition in Berlin and getting a prominent mention in a leading newspaper… I hope that this is another small big step towards making my mark in Germany and get some more recognition (and sales) for my art. It would be wonderful if my artwork caught the eyes and attention of a small percentage of their 350 000 readers.

The more attention my art gets the more attention the subject and cause behind the exhibition will get:  Raising the consciousness about our Namibian environment, especially the coastal area and Namib desert and the possible threats from the mining and other industries and pollution.

Here is a cut-out from the newspaper:

Tagesspiegel 30 June 2012

Tagesspiegel 30 June 2012 Cultural pages with a picture of my work SubRosa.

The caption says:

Black barbed wire roses in the Namib. Today the exploitation  looks differently than in the times of the German colonial power. The landscapes of Namibia are threatened by the mining of natural resources and pollution. The artist Imke Rust lives in Windhoek and Berlin. She protests with her ‘land art’ – here the installation “SubRosa” – against the destruction of the nature. “Goldgräberstimmung”: Photos and videos by Imke Rust can be viewed up to the 16th of July in the Berlin Grafik Studio Galerie Neumann (Rigaer Str 62). “

If you are interested, you can read the online version of the “Tagesspiegel” here.

Info about the work:

SubRosa (Under the Rose) by Imke Rust

 Temporary installation in the Namib Desert Dune belt south of Swakopmund.
22° 43’ 01” S – 14° 33’ 47” E
Original dimensions: 90 x 270 x270cm
99 roses made of black rubbish bags, barbed wire, wire
April 2012

The exhibition is officially declared open…

The opening of my solo exhibition “Goldgräberstimmung” (Goldrush Mood) on Saturday has drawn people from all over Berlin to Rigaer Street 62 in Friedrichshain, Berlin – some even came all the way from Bremen and Leipzig. There were enough art-loving people and special friends to fill and keep the small space continuously bubbling for more than three hours.

What would art be, if nobody sees or experiences it?

So thank you to everybody who made the time and effort to be there and share the fruits of my work, thoughts and passion with me. For those who could not attend the opening, you still have a chance to see the works throughout the next four weeks (please see my previous blog-post for more details on the gallery’s opening times etc.)

Another big Thank You goes to Jens Garling who opened the exhibition for me, with a lively and wonderful speech, to the Neumann Galerie for hosting the exhibition and to Steffen Holzkamp for all the support before and during the opening.

I would love to post pictures of the artworks on my blog, but am not sure if it will spoil the interest for the people who would like to see the artworks in real? Please let me know what is your opinion: to show or not to show?

Till I have come to a decision, here are a few pictures of the opening:

With Jens Garling and Ms Gisela Neumann

Opening speech by Jens Garling (with Ms Gisela Neumann)

Interested guests viewing the video

Interested guests viewing the video

Goldgraeberstimmung Ausstellung

Goldgraeberstimmung Ausstellung