Children trying to taste the lollipop for the photo, 2003
Why make temporary art? Why make something that isn't meant to last? Questions often asked, not only by colleagues, the audience and friends, but also by myself.
It all started in my first year of the Art Academy. I made a lollypop of 150 cm. I made it of real sugar, the top part strawberry flavored and the bottom banana. It smelled great, I had to put I sign with it "Don't eat the Art" when it laid out to dry.
I exhibited the lollipop in the garden of the academy, later my mom planted it in her kitchen garden to make some photos.
Making of lollipop, 2003
After the lollipop I experimented with food (eating round food on a round picnic blanket only passing the food around in a circle), with soap, dried acrylic (molds of pill strips) and hair gel (inspired by the works of Nobert Stück). It was after my graduation that I made my first ricecarpet. I didn't think about "how to sell" or if it was practical, I just felt like making it. After that, many ricecarpets followed and I'm still very happy with the organic materials (rice, lentils, beans, corn, sunflowerseeds).
Cat-milk bottles with drops of hair gel, 2003
When I was little, I was fascinated by vanitas paintings. I loved the dark oil paintings, they where spooky. They carry out this feeling, this warning; "You are just a tiny dot in the universe, what comes on your path, what you'll become, no one knows, but be quick, because nothing last, nothing remains".
"In the arts, vanitas is a type of symbolic work of art especially associated with Northern European still life painting in Flanders and the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries, though also common in other places and periods. The word is Latin, meaning "emptiness" and loosely translated corresponds to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:2 from the Bible is often quoted in conjunction with this term. The Vulgate (Latin translation of the Bible) renders the verse as Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas. The verse is translated as Vanity of vanities, all is vanity by the King James Version of the Bible, and Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless by the New International Version of the Bible."
This subject never left my work. My translation of it is much lighter. My work is not about "nietigheid" (nothingness) or ending, I'm trying to capture a moment in time, share an experience. A memory can last for ever, it's not something you can hold in your hands, but you can feel it and share it.
"Metroman's Dance" by Nobert Strück, 1989. Page from SO-OP 1982 - 1990
"Suicide soap" by Nobert Strück, 1988. Page from SO-OP 1982 - 1990
"The transience of life has been a continued subject for artists of the fifteenth century to contemporary times. Prominent within fifteenth century northern European still life paintings the burning candle or partially peeled lemon symbolised the transience of time, and consequently of life. Manifest in the symbols of vanitas the ephemeral remained within the realms of picturesque depiction, the continued diversification of materials throughout the twentieth century however transformed subject into material form.
Ephemeral works of art embody a perpetual state of physical transformation, time very literally defines the truly ephemeral work of art. Ice, flowers, sand, chocolate, in this post-modern destruction of the revered art object traditionally non-art materials embody rather than represent transience."
Finding my place in art and life, I found the term "Ephemeral art". It is a much better word than "temporary art", see the explanation above. Ephemeral things (from Greek ephemeros, literally "lasting only one day") are transitory, existing only briefly. Typically the term is used to describe objects found in nature, although it can describe a wide range of things.
Hope I will be part of that art movement some day!