This summer I am working on an installation in a large open space in the LUMC Hospital in Leiden.
I am hanging six of my eight-meter long wire-figures by securing them to an iron framework ceiling. The space itself is twenty-one meters high, twenty-one meters deep and eight meters wide. The figures are made out of wire, and because they are so big I make them on the site itself (rather than transporting them). It took me three weeks of fitting and sowing them together.
At first the people here were thinking I was sowing fishing nets, but now they start to look like human figures.
They will be translucent; the light will be able to filter through them.
The most asked question of people passing by is, when will you put clothes on them?
The process of fitting and sewing them together, and now placing them in the space (called ‘the sculpture garden’) reminds me of my own life: trying to find my way, looking for ways to be more comfortable, do things better, stitch my wounds, change my patterns, et cetera.
I realize that everything I do, is a reflection of who I am and of how I am bound by internal and external conditions. Physically but also mentally. Now, while I am working with the wire figures, hanging them with fifty-four strings on the ceiling of the space, it makes me wonder…
I wonder if something created me too. And if I too have a ceiling above my head to which this something is attaching me.
Can I see the figures and the structured framework ceiling of this space as a metaphor for my life? No matter how hard I try, I seem to always be restricted to the hanging points of a ceiling.
This ceiling determines what my presence looks like.
If I am not hanging comfortable at one place, I can start looking for other hanging points, but still I am not completely free. There will always be a pattern above my head that I will have to use. And this pattern of the ceiling will work its way through the shapes and forms of my life.
This is also what I see happening in the wire figures now the installation is coming about. Because of the restriction of the mathematical framework of the ceiling, they appear more or less similar in their postures. I have been trying to go around it, looking for other hanging points, trying to work intuitively and not following the grim mathematical structure of the ceiling. And in doing this making a lot of effort and probably annoying my technical companion and testing his patience.
It works sometimes. I have found some ways to go around the ceiling’s calculated demands regarding their positions.
They are kind of captives of the ceiling’s structure, and therefore a reflection of the characteristics of that ceiling and the space. And again I start wondering if I am too…
Yes! we have finished this weird round around Ararat. The last part of the circle in Iran was the most difficult part to finish, but… perhaps the most impressive.
The sudden change of culture was quite bizarre. While walking over the border from Armenia to Iran everything changes, especially for women. Together with GertJan my dear partner I walked over and rented a car with a driver. We managed to visit the city of Tabriz and then travelled the area around Ararat.
For this last piece of the roundcircle we drove to Maku, the Iranian - Turkish border town. I could see the spot where we had started the journey on the Turkish side six weeks earlier.
Ararat looked completely different from this side. The mountain actually consists of two mountains, one big one and one small one. The smaller one is the closest to Iran, so it became all of the sudden very visible. How great! So far we had only seen it hidden behind the big one.
And now it was the other way around.
This whole journey starts to feel more and more like a metaphor of my life. It’s a cycle and I know I have to complete it. It doesn’t really go in a perfect round, It’s a curved one, and with many detours. Then along the way my ideas about myself started to change. Seeing this smaller mountain become big, made me realize that things really, really never are what they seem. And are constantly changing along the way.
It feels like I am the mountain, and at the same time I am driving around myself or something like that…
A disturbing and at the same time comforting thought.
This was our last mountain for now, we are back in Amsterdam at the moment.
I will be working on an installation-work and exhibition at the LUMC Hospital in Holland this summer.
In a way a new mountain. After summer we are planning to travel further.
See you soon again mountains!
It is 40 degrees here and I am sitting in the garden of our residency in Yerevan, looking at things…
Everything I see around me,
seems to be in some stage,
of its, his or hers circle,
busy completing it..
The cleaning lady, who just passed by me, while talking loudly on her mobile phone in Armenian, is starting her day at work. She looks pretty today in her black and white dress. Not really how I would think, a cleaning lady goes to work.
The slippers on my feet that need to be replaced.
The leaves above my head, of some fruit trees I believe, who are at their greenest
The school building in wich we live, being empty because it is summer holliday.
Some half truck tires put against the wall, now functioning as chairs for us to sit on.
The stray cat, who wakes me up every morning at 7 o clock because she is hungry.
Also the birds above my head, who are doing non-stop flying back and forward in between the buildings.
Everything and everyone here seems to know where it has to be and where it has to go.
Looking at these things from close by, gives me a comforting feeling, it keeps me grounded.
Like we are all-in tune and just doing what we are supposed to do.
Tum die dumm dummm..
And I? I am going around a mountain in a weird circle, we are now at 3/4 of the circle and that is probably right where we have to be.
I believe that going around something gives you a wider view about the thing you are looking at.
This Mt Ararat is something different then Fuji or Olympus. Where at Olympus I have been looking at the many different faces of it and time passing by, Ararat is not a mountain where I am sitting still at one place looking at it.
I am more in motion. Just going around it, in a slow pace. It feels like I have put a pin on top of it with a thread and I am on the other side of this thread trying to make a perfect circle. Which in theory is very simple, because it is an easy mountain to circle around, but in practice this takes a lot of d-tours to do so.
There is a Turkish side, where we could circumambulate Mt Ararat for half a circle, then we bumped into a closed border of Armenia. From there we had to drive up through Georgia, passing some crazy roads, crisscrossing through the mountains and getting stuck late at night in small villages.
When we are being stopped on the road, by police or military, to check our luggage, the sight of the back of our car, which by now is filled with bags, buckets of clay, chicken-wire, rolls of paper etc.. gives the officials a frowning, confused expression and makes them sigh and say; “pfff oookayyy” please go!
But we finally arrived at the Georgian Armenian border and in Yerevan. Yeay!
In Yerevan we are staying for a month, in an old Soviet School building at the edge of the city. There is a ceramic workshop here so Ill be making clay from the soil I brought from Turkey.
From here I can continue my circle for 1/4th more until we bump into another closed border, of Nakchivan..(Azerbaijan).
To be able to complete the circle around the mountain we will have to drive through Iran to get back to Turkey. We are looking into that at the moment, because it might be difficult to bring our dear green Kermit car into Iran…
These closed Armenian borders feel like a huge energy block, and I believe they should be opened soon, but I am not the one to judge that I guess.
At the edge of Yerevan, Armenia 2014
So here from Yerevan I am happily continuing my circle around Mt Ararat at the moment, investigating the land and the people, I don’t believe a closed border can change what I see.
The land belongs to the land itself, did people ever really own it? People fight over it, love it, mourn for it, defend it, but land is land, it doesn’t go anywhere.
It feels like I am digging deeper in history every time we travel further. Actually digging the earth whenever I feel like it. Collecting stones and clay soil on the way. History is something I can’t stop looking into. Ancient traditions, religions customs. What did people do before me? What problems did they have? What did they feel? What did they see?
Of one thing I am sure; they saw these mountains too. Just the way as I see them now, they felt the same energy just as I feel it now when I am circling around them.
I like that Idea, that people saw the same thing as I do now, a straight line into the past, and also I like it that people throughout ages are just living around this ‘old thing’, minding their own everyday business. With the mountains behind them like silent witnesses.
Girl hiding from the sun, Dogubayazit Turkey, 2014
Fisherman at the Araks River, Armenia 2014
Stirring clay from Ararat