PROJECT REVIEW: Nature Art EN ten Years After

Bemelmans Maria Kunstraum | AiNIN

Hülsenbecker Tal, Ennepetal – Germany. 2015, A Project Revisit after 10 years
Organisation: KUNSTRAUM EN e.V., Ennepetal – Germany

By Maria Bemelmans, AiNIN member from the Netherlands

This is a valley, a preserved nature area, in game preserves, aviaries and ponds numerous animals can be observed. This recreational area has a forest, streamlet and meadows. In summertime Ennepetaler choirs, orchestras and bands give samples of their skills in concert series in the music pavilion. In 2005 a site-specific/art-in-nature project took place in this valley. This event was repeated in 2015 with most of the artists of the 2005-event. Interesting for the visitor of this 2015 planned project is to follow the development of the artists in the last 10 years, which is made possible by the presentation of panels with photos of the previously manufactured objects.

The 20 artists were juried by a board of trustees consisting of members of various institutes and organizations. The artists originated from local townships, Belgium, the Netherlands and from Norway.

The works, never shown in any way before, should be made as local as possible and should be weather-resistant, environmentally friendly and dimensioned so that they may appear and stay visible in the proliferating nature. The works must not pose any danger to the public and must be designed in such a way that their implementation complies with the requirements of the participating authorities (for example, Umweltambt, Bauordningsambt, Untere Wasserbehörde). The plots for each proposed project were designated by the trustees. The works of Nature Art EN 2015 are differentiated in a different way with nature and the human relationship to nature. In the Nature Art EN the landscape is more than just subject or even scenery. Nature and landscape are integral parts of art itself. Artists still strive for a new synthesis and point to a new awareness of nature. The relationships of our bodies and our sensory and intellectual perception to the natural and our often contradictory action are simultaneously an inspiration and a driving force for many artists.

The time for creation in-sito was one week with sleepover at home of local artists and joined free hot meals in local restaurants. This was followed by opening festivities with live music and a speech from the major of Ennepetal and the president of Kunstraum EN e.V. Till the end of the Nature Art EN ten years later guided tours were given by the local artists. The artist’s fee was € 100 for travel expenses and 5 catalogues for free. Site specific materials were used and some were prefabricated in the artist’s studio. The overall organization was good, helpful and friendly. Use of utilities, such as ladders, wheelbarrows, shovels, etc was made possible. There were some volunteers giving a helping hand. There were many visitors during the nature art construction week, some returned every day to get a feel of the process. Also in the following weeks there were lots of visitors and good press reviews. At the end was a finissage with music, snacks and drinks.

Many surprising new installations were created, new work relations developed. Discussions, new friendships, new ideas, new network, collaborations, everything is connected with each other.

At the moment various institutes are discussing about the future of the event and it is not yet clear whether this project will be given the same content in connection with the tightened nature conservation rules. If a new event will be organized in future, it would be maybe possible to announce this to Ainin.

PROJECT REVIEW: Expo Beaux Lieux – Renaissance 2019

Expo Beaux Lieux 2019 | Anna and Michael Rofka | AiNIN

Expo Beaux Lieux – Renaissance 2019, LES PRAIRIES DU ROY – Espace Naturel Sensible entre Loches et Beaulieu.

Review by Michael Rofka, AiNIN member from Germany

Anna Rofka (my wife) and I attended this international exhibition with 8 European artists. We were provided with both food and accommodation and stayed with the Mayor who is member of the organisation Beaux Lieux. We were awarded a fee and our expenses for materials and travel were covered. The organisers were very helpful and supportive and supplied the materials. We were able to make part of our work in a carpentry workshop and received some help too. I would recommend this symposium to other AiNIN artists, it’s a very beautiful place, the payment was in 5 parts and a little delayed.

PROJECT REVIEW: Tankwa Artscape Residency 2019

Tankwa Artscape Residency in South Africa in 2019 | Project Review in AiNIN

Tankwa Artscape Residency, South Africa 2019

Review by Janet Botes, organised by member Leli Hoch

The Tankwa Artscape residency is in the Tankwa Karoo in the Northern Cape of South Africa. It’s a semi-desert area with unique rocks, hardy shrubs and dry riverbeds. An ancient landscape in which antelope, wildebeest, lions and zebra have roamed for hundreds of thousands of years. The land on which the residency is held is also the site for the annual Afrika Burn festival – the local equivalent for the well-known Burning Man. 

We were a mix of local and international artists, as well as photographers. We are sculptors, land artists, performance artists, mixed media artists. The international artists are from France (but living in Australia) and the Netherlands, while the local artists were a great combination of young emerging artists and established artists, including Kim Goodwin who owns the Goodwin Foundry. 

The Tankwa Artscape is a residency in a tented camp where each artist gets a tent, vegetarian food daily, and the space and freedom to follow their unique process and progress. Transport was arranged to different sites for sunrise walks and sunset experiences on the hill.

Artists had to arrange their own transport to and from the residency, although there was a shuttle from and to Cape Town. Materials were mostly sourced onsite, especially since the theme for 2019 was ‘land art’, but artists are welcome to bring materials and artworks. 

The organisers, most of them artists in their own right, were incredibly supportive and helpful. One of the owners of the land were instrumental to the residency – he held, supported and encouraged everyone (while also providing some comic relief!).  Each night we held circle to share reflections and experiences from the day, sharing our progress with our art, and any challenges that we are facing. 

Some of us (me included) used only what we could find on-site, but there’s a ‘scrap-yard’ of materials from the Afrika Burn festival which are available for artists, as well as a workshop space for creating sculptural pieces. 

Artists could request assistance, and while there was a dedicated volunteer (who also did some of the cooking) we all aimed to help and support each other as artist community.

I would recommend this symposium to other AiNIN artists.

The accommodation and food – while some might consider it very basic – is one of the things that are most powerful about this residency, as it connects you to your own materiality and connects you to the elements in a real and honest way. We can’t expect ourselves to express an authentic response to the land if we don’t feel some discomfort, see the stars at night, feel the sun and wind – not only on our skin when we choose to be outside, but also have sand in your tent, go out in the cold to reach the bathroom, have a cold shower… It connects you to your own being. In your own body. 

For the last days of the residency visitors were invited to join the experience, which included a gallery owner and senior lecturer in Fine Art, which resulted in incredible conversations and insights. This is a BIG plus point to this residency and very valuable. 

The inclusion and participation of photographers to documents the – often ephemeral – artworks was an excellent part of this residency.

Leli Hoch has supplied this link to view some of the event and a completed video link will be supplied soon.

tankwa artscape residency in south africa in 2019 | project review in ainin
tankwa artscape residency in south africa in 2019 | project review in ainin
tankwa artscape residency in south africa in 2019 | project review in ainin
tankwa artscape residency in south africa in 2019 | project review in ainin
tankwa artscape residency in south africa in 2019 | project review in ainin

PROJECT REVIEW: International Symposium: ART – NATURE Gabrovtsi 2019

Art in nature Gabrovtski 2019 | ainin | lee

INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM: ART – NATURE Gabrovtsi 2019 Gabrovtsi Village, Veliko Tarnovo region in BULGARIA

Review by Kuei-Chih Lee, AiNIN members from Taiwan

This is a very beautiful place, especially for a land-art artist. The base located in the old school and nearby the forest and river.

The project “ART – NATURE Gabrovtsi 2019”, unites artists working in the field of visual arts – professional sculptors, painters and photographers, active on the international artistic stage and interested in the contemporary development of visual art trends like art-in-nature and site-specific art. Except local artists, there are many artists from different countries. There were more than 10 artists joined this event this year.

It’s an “INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM” program and also a residency event, artists live in the old school, which is in the natural environment, the food provided is excellent and delicious.

Although they cannot cover traveling expenses outside Bulgaria to artists, but they can offer Invitation letters to selected artists that could help to get funding with other entities. 

This event is organised by “DUPPINI ART GROUP” in Bulgaria and they are a friendly and an organised group. Also they have volunteers who could help artists create artworks, borrow the tools, buy the materials.. etc, and they are very helpful and kind. They are not only helpers but can become your good friends as well. The landscape is diverse and excellent to create large works and some spaces indoor for exhibition. Most of the artists use the site materials, recycled and natural materials from the surrounding which makes sense fit the theme “ART – NATURE Gabrovtsi 2019”.

It’s my pleasure to recommend this project to you.

PROJECT REVIEW: L’andart Andorra 2019

Project Review Landart Andorra 2019 | AiNIN

L’andart Andorra 2019
3rd International Biennial of Andorra
14 June -14 September 2019

This exhibition was staged up in the beautiful forested area surrounding the man-made Engolasters Lake located up in the snow caped mountains above Andorra La Vella. The land, owned by Forces Elèctriques d’Andorra, offered a variety of sites for both interior and exterior projects. There were a number of disused industrial stone buildings in varying conditions. My work occupied the Foundry Kitchen, a dimly lit room with a burnt crusted lining to the walls from years of wood fires burning in the large open fireplace and a rough cracked mud floor, it was perfect for my project. Many works were located within or suspended from the surrounding trees and we had 2 weeks to set up our projects with great support from the organisers. They sourced some materials/furniture for me and there was a crane/cherry picker available for installs. Accommodation was offered at a reduced rate at a local hotel and various fees for each artist depending on the scale of each project & distance travelled. Funding came from the government and local sponsors.

The theme to the exhibition was the Japanese practice of ‘shinrin-yoku’ or ‘forest bathing’, some of us had interpreted and explored this theme through our installations, but many works seemed unrelated to their site or theme and added a sense of confusion and over crowding to some areas of the exhibition. There were some outstanding works within the exhibition that held the show together.

I really enjoyed my time up in the mountains each day making my work, travelling up on the morning bus, but this project was not a residency so the evenings were ones own time.

There are a couple of images of the site below.