please scroll down here for lecture Vice Versa Exchange -Friday, November 20 th. 11.00, F-Block
Bristol (Vice Versa Phase 2)
Name: Moniek Westerman, born in 1960, Emmen, the Netherlands
In 1996 I started a private practice as a state registered Dietician.
In 2003 I finished the Art College (Minerva) in Groningen after studying 5 years as a mature student.
Since that time I have combined the two jobs - in various levels of intensity.
To make it work I've decided that:
1. My work as a dietician is often a source of inspiration for my work as an artist
2. I cannot do everything I would like to do (timewise)
3. Unfortunately, as an artist, I cannot always say everything (I will explain later)
4. I can, however, make what I like without worrying about it being 'sellable'.
My fascination with 'materials' plays a vital role in my art and so does 'morality'.
I ADDRESS BOTH 'MATTER'
AND THE QUESTION
'DOES IT MATTER ?'
This is a picture of the work in the current exhibition. It illustrates exactly what I want to say with MATTER and MORALITY.
The two houses are made of the total amount of fat that is recommended for both a male and a female per year.
90 grams and 70 grams a day respectively, that makes:
If one eats that amount - one is perfectly OK and probably not overeating. Still many people find it confrontational / disturbing. It reminds us of overindulgence, bad health ....
The name: "Our earthly home" is derived from a biblical expression refering to our body. That's why the work is shaped as houses. Smooth as human bodies. Not only in the Bible, but in many other major religions we are taught to look after our health.
Following on from my work with fat, I would like to show you this picture.
Sugar and money
This combination has become symbolic for me. It stands for how food is distributed around the world and how economics play a major role in
WHAT we eat and IF we eat.
On the site you can read more about how this work came into being (my stories).
'Moral issues' of this kind become an ever increasing part of my art.
The picture shown above is a piece from the Vice Versa presentation in Groningen and is called "Hunger".
It was a vital step for me to use this title.
I address a worldwide problem. Hunger in the world has increased in recent years. The amount of people going hungry roughly equals the amount of people that overeat (one billion each way).
This old chair - completely sagging, only in rags, I removed its foam interior - symbolises someone going without food. Maybe he/she was well off once ? Maybe not.
Underneath the chair is a carpet of sugar. Unspoilt. This is made of roughly the amount of sugar an average person in the Netherlands will consume in one year: 32 kg.
Food policies and political pressure keep consumption high in the rich world - not to benefit our health but the economy.
Artists should be able to say whatever they like - and hopefully make people aware of the world around them from a different perspective.
As I mentioned in my introduction: I cannot always speak my mind as freely as I would like!
My patients might be mortally offended if I suggested they should eat less and give whatever they save by doing so to the hungry. If anything I say should be picked up in the press in Holland and be misinterpreted, I would be in big trouble. I would lose my good name and my income.
I would never do this - as I work professionally. Many patients are physically ill or have psychological problems that sometimes cause them not to be in control. I treat them with respect and counsel them accordingly.
No dilemma - just an artistic idea based on statistics!
All this thinking about what I wanted to say with my art resulted in a new art concept.
The aim is an idea of sharing 'globally'. Why not ?
World politics are incredibly complicated, but two things are clear:
(1) there are over 1 billion people in need of urgent (food) aid
(2) and an equal amount of people suffer bad health as a result of eating too much.
I simply propose that people who would like to look after themselves by reducing their intake of calories pledge some money to charities that are reliable and active in (acute) food-aid situations. This I call a moral incentive to slim.
Before long you will have two people, four, six...or many more, happier and healthier.
And even more important: share your ideas with me.
More about my ideas : see the site (my story)
My intention is to leave them in the grounds after the show.
I like to show more of my 'material' work.
For as long as I can remember I have had an interest in collecting 'things' (matter)
This interest is very wide. In principle I love all things that have something to tell, carry traces of a story or have a symbolic meaning. I believe in the dynamics of matter. Things change, disappear, stay unnoticed, are thrown away etc. I stare in amazement at the 'material' world (consumerism).
If I use material - often I add something to 'found' material.
Royal Game - on display in the show in Bristol, is an example of such an addition. Every single block had goldleaf on one side.
Various British artists have deepend my interest in matter.
Most of all Cornelia Parker. To me she is very serious artist/scientist.
She talks about 'loaded' matter.
Recently, with the celebration of the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I was reminded of her powerful example of what matter can mean. A quote from her:
"Imagine on how many mantlepieces all over the world a small piece of this matter can be found". This remark resulted in my wish, years ago, to make a map of the spread of the Berlin Wall matter worldwide. (With the google-map techniques of today I could possibly do it.)
Aspects of 'matter' interest me in this work:
Time (doilies are old fashioned and turn up in second hand shops)
What made women make them - was it relaxing work or felt a woman's 'duty'?
All this doilies are made by different people - non of them intended to make a (part of) a work of art,
I'm also hugely interested in WHY people make plastic plants. I made a series of works combining the real and the artificial plant/flowers.
This is a show in which I displayed 4 vases full of flowers - all 50% real and artificial.
I would love to meet you on GLOBALFATEXCHANGE.COM
(more stories and pictures!)