RAIZVANGUARDA welcomes the first artist of the summer season of 2018, Minne de Lange. We are very pleased to have de Lange visit us again after two years. Welcome back!
Tell us about yourself, what do you do?
I’m a textile/hand embroidery artist, originally from the Netherlands but I now live nomadically and travel around, creating miniature hand embroidered works based off observations I make along the way. Usually, this is about to nature, the land and how that reflects on the people who live there. Can you see the nature of the people in the nature of the land? My embroideries are like tiny dedications to these observations and to the place, without judgment, just the observations of a nomad passing through
What attracted you to come to RV as a resident?
I’ve been here two years ago, but just one week so I really wanted to come back! The beautiful surroundings are what attracted me the most, the hills, the forests, all the colors, how peaceful it is… these kinds of residencies are my favorite kinds, where it’s in a remote area with a small community and run by people who just had a good idea and a love for art and the land they live in.
Where are you from? Tell us about your educational background.
I studied Interactive Performance Design, so that’s something kinda different from textile art! Although back then most of my pieces were about what drives people and what connects them to where they are, so in some way it relates. I used to be more into painting and then I got into sewing, and embroidery combines them both so it turned out to be the perfect medium for me.
In which field of art do you work, what topics are important for you as an artist? What are you passionate about?
I’m mostly interested in nature and the land, and in topics that transcends the ego of the artist. My work isn’t really about me, it’s about the places I visit, it looks outward, rather than inward. I see a residency as an opportunity to learn something about the land, and not really about myself. This ‘lack of ego’ also reflects in the embroidery. My art is craft-based and not conceptual, I try to perfect the technique more and more so it can highlight the observations of nature I make. Silk embroidery is very precise and very slow, so it’s almost meditative too. I’d like the work to exist in symbiosis with the nature that inspires it and not alter anything in the landscape, just highlight what’s already there.
Tell us about the project you’re working on here in RV.
When I first arrived here, it seemed like everything was exactly the same as last time – even the bus driver was the same guy! But after a while, you realize that things are constantly in a changing, fluid state; the fires, people moving in or out, even the residency itself, talks of a chicken factory on the hill. I was thinking about this when I walked from Bordeiro to Gois and then I noticed lots of little things by the road that you wouldn’t notice when you’re driving that will probably be gone or changed sometime soon too. So, now my project is to embroider things I observed on the road during this walk.
‘Things’ seemed a little too broad though, so I focused on flowers because the interpretation we have of flowers reflects this fluid-yet-always-there state. Flowers in Chinese embroidery, which is the technique I use, represent longevity and a sense of eternity because a new one will grow back even after the old ones die. Flowers in old Dutch paintings, which is my background, tend to be used in vanitas paintings to remind us of the decay of life and flesh. I was thinking about this before I got here and then I saw this reflected in the land here as well, so it seemed like a good idea to explore this in my time here!
What is your favorite part of RV?
Sitting outside in the sunshine, embroidering as a cat sits on my lap, some wine next to me and hearing the birds and the sounds of the land..and then walking around the area and seeing more and more beautiful landscapes every time you turn a corner or get on top of another hill. There is a lot to like here!