plaatsen/lieux/spaces/orte November 2007
After living in the Netherlands for twenty years. Belgian artist, Monique Thomaes has been working in Berlin since 1998. For the last years, hoever, she has been dividing her time and work between Antwerp and Berlin. After completing a visual arts degree (sculpture and installation) in The Hague, she studied education and teaching at the Academy for Visual Arts in Rotterdam and thereafter worked in Rotterdam in adult education. In 1988, she moved to Berlin. This move had a major impact on her work: it is reflected in a transition from sculpture to spatial installations. Through diverse courses of further education and studies and experiments, her work has expanded into the fields of photographic, slide, light, and video installations. In Berlin, she participated in various group projects, organized numerous projects in the public space, and participated regularly in “Art in Public Spaces” competitions. The Berlinische Galerie (Museum for Modern Art and Photography in Berlin) has bought several works. Through a scholarship granted by the Berlin Senate, she has been able to produce a catalogue of her Berlin work. It bears the title “de passage – monique thomaes”. Various Berlin authors contributed texts for this catalogue Along with these activities, she worked for five years as a Guest Professor at the Berlin Universität der Künste (formerly Hochschule der Künste). In this same period, she produced her first video works. Her video work can be seen as a perception of/reaction to/ spaces, light, time and movement. Meditative, slow, poetic works alternate with works in which image and sound are transformed into dynamic choreographies through the use—and misuse—of montage techniques. The works are showed as large-scale projections or distributed among a variety of monitors. They respond to the viewer and to the space in which they are shown. (see also www.mthomaes.com ).
At CCNOA, Thomaes presents her video work plaatsen/lieux/spaces/orte
1995/2007: A camera is statically pointed toward a large room. Gradually and successively the camera’s aperture is opened. Initially, the picture in the monitor reveals merely a narrow slit of light located at the lower edge, in appearance somewhat similar to a drawing placed upon a dark background. Slowly but surely the line fills out to a re-cognizable room volume, until ultimately in a glistening white this figure loses both its dimensions and contours and is reduced to an empty surface. An opening and a closing-up of the room/image to vision, a gentle process. In contrast to the newer, time-orientated video works with their insisting rhythm or repetitions, Thomaes’ room creations are slower, more bore-ing, and more poetic. The processes of visual disintegration are also more sensible. Instead of using slices, lengthenings, and accelerations, she works with gentle transitions and transitional zones.(Angelika Stepken in: “the passage – monique thomaes” 1998)