Babylonian Tour

 
installing "Babylon in Bloom" Monika Loster

I feel it’s really important for an artist to be visibly present and approachable to the audience as it gives you solid feedback from different perspectives on something you have spent a great deal of time on.

The first weekend of October I have taken part in the Kunststroom Roerdalen Artroute in Limburg, southern area of Holland which was a blast. This marked the second time I would participate and I knew I had to impress. Artroute consisted of thirteen locations, some of them old monuments and one of each of them was allocated a group of  talented artists, representatives of multiple artistic fields such as sculpture, photography, painting and blacksmith.

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Castle Montfort, dating back since 1260 is one of the thirteen exhibition locations of Artroute Kunststroom Roerdalen.

 

I proposed a large installation and was thrilled to find out the location assigned to me, I got to hang an installation in the Master Room on Castle Grounds. Castle Montfort to be exact, dating back since 1260! Being one of Hollands largest castles at the time, it was built as an impregnable fortress.
Nowadays it serves as a historical site with many cultural events taking place.


Allow me to introduce the artwork on display – “Babylon in Bloom”.
It is a large and colorful ceiling hanging installation inspired by the mythical (no definitive archaeological evidence was ever found) Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Its shapes and colors were carefully chosen and crafted to astonish and amaze similar to the feelings the Seven wonders of the ancient world (of which the hanging gardens were supposedly a part of) were meant to evoke.

“Babylon in Bloom” Castle Montfort, NL

Let me share with you that this installation was a pretty hard job to install on the location. The ceiling was about 350 cm high and the installation consist of about 35 loose elements which have to be separately attached to the net while hanging on the spot to achieve the right balance. With a lot of help it took me about 5 hours to have it done.

The event, while lasting only for a weekend, had a really good turnout with many visitors stopping by enjoying the art on display. I was on site during the entire weekend to answer questions from visitors and to soak in the comments and critiques my artwork had on the crowd.

 It was nice to feel appreciation for your efforts, some of the top comments I gathered said: “A true Eye-catcher”, “Deserving of a space where many people gather” or “This piece needs to be on permanent display on this location as it fits perfectly!”

“ This piece needs to be on permanent display on this location as it fits perfectly! “

“ A true Eye-catcher”

“ Deserving of a space where many people gather “

 

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It’s comments like these that make the hard work worthwhile and will continue to inspire future events and artworks. If you missed out on the chance to come see me and my artwork this time, stay tuned for the full announcement and details coming soon.

Cravings

Creating a new artwork requires a lot of input from your own past experience and knowledge but also inspiration beyond the artists’ own perspective. To create this installation I originally got inspired by Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, or rather the longing and urge to follow the dreams and the courage and will to experiment no matter the cost. The essence of such a desire can also be found in the well known myth of Icarus, whose newfound powers of flight came at a cost as it consumed him and let to his tragic failure.


 

The Installation is comprised of multiple spinal cord inspired elements that come together.

Appearing as sort of a hybrid vertebral column with tattered and burnt wings as bony extremities.

 

I use metal wire as the base for many of my Fiber Sculptures and Installations, crafting a frame or skeleton from the highly moldable material. Following the base shape I bring additional shapes on using jute and hemp while simultaneously adding color onto the Artwork. I dye and paint all my own materials resulting in complex and personal results. A thin layer of wood bark was used for creating a supporting structure and texture onto the bone shaped elements.


 

This installation is a symbolic representation of one of the themes of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, namely ambition and unrestricted experimentation without the shackles of morality holding one back.

The process of trial and error does not come without repercussions.

The same is true for the working methods of the artist. Combining Frankensteinian elements with the tragic tale of Icarus, the Artwork reflects on those who obtain power but lack the responsibility to handle it with care resulting in failure. The color scheme mirrors this as well with hues of Red portraying blood and charred flesh with a double meaning behind it as Red is also the color of Love and Passion, powerful emotions that became the onset of both characters’ misfortunes.  


 

I feel a famous quote by Blaise Pascal, a 17th Century mathematician and philosopher, sums it up best:

“Man is neither angel nor beast, and unhappily whoever wants to act the angel, acts the beast”

“Cravings” will be on the show during the exhibition “Material Matters” from the 1st till the 30th of November in Gallery Zone in Leiden.

Openpoortendag Buggenum 2018 re-cap

Looking back at my latest exhibition, a couple of weeks ago in Buggenum, I feel it was well worth it. Not only did the Art Route draw over 3000 visitors on a Sunday, it was the first conjoined exhibit-outing for Ardamon our Artist-collective composed of Hadas Lieber & Bart Hoogveld and myself.
We took over a whole barn and transformed it into an abattoir, at least in a meta-literal sense.

The idea behind the Artworks lends itself to the location. Upon first visit anyone can sense a state of decay; it wasn’t until we were installing our Artworks that we heard the whole story behind the building, which gave the place an even more haunting vibe.

Without delving too deep into its background, it suffices to say, many animals met their end here.

The idea for my installation came to me immediately, once I’d seen the place. I took on the challenge of working with quite a bit of space. The area I decided to install the Artwork in was about 21m2 and about 5 meters high.
Hanging an installation on site can always bring unexpected issues along,  therefore I decided to start building it three days in advance, buying me some time to solve any obstacles.

While I was in the process of creating the hanging segments of my installation piece, I realized I needed more impact besides transforming the space. I needed to incorporate it’s essence into the artwork. That is why the combined segments are hung from existing structures in the building. These lend itself to the installation as if they had always been a part of each other.

To take it a step further I came up with the concept of employing the wall in the background to further stress that Artwork and environment are meant to be one. The Artwork sort of grows naturally from the building; they seem to breathe life into one another, recalling the events that make up the history of the locale.

On a final note - The exhibition had a great premiere as well on the night before it was released to the public. A gathering of all (50!) Artists right in our barn with an opening word from the Mayor. Bring on the next challenge!