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A mélange of art and nature

After quitting her job as a human rights lawyer, Dutch national Karin van der Molen switched to a career in arts. She took to painting after going to art school and slowly realised the saddening truth of the loss of hand work, as computers took over the markets with graphic design. A decade after switching careers, not only has Karin travelled the world showcasing her art and installations, but has earned repute for being progressively focused on environmental art. In conversation with the artist who has created Mind Bubbles at the recently opened the Museum of Goa (MOG)
Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ
Coming to Goa was not on this environmental artist’s itinerary. But Karin van der Molen who was invited to Chennai on a project with tickets and Visa in hand, she had to knock another door, when the Chennai floods struck and the project was stalled. As one door closed, she remembered her friend Subodh Kerkar of Museum of Goa (MOG) who couldn’t resist the offer when Karin asked if she could visit Goa and work on an installation.
And Voila! Karin cams and has now created a fascinating installation at the museum situated in the Pilerne Industrial Estate. The ‘natural and environmental friendly’ installation includes bubbles of various sizes hanging in a cluster; they have been made from coir of old mattresses.
Speaking about the concept and idea behind the ‘Mind Bubbles’, Karin explains: “Everybody likes to be in nature, but it is not easy to actually see what is around us. We are usually occupied with our own thoughts.” This installation thus reflects our preoccupied mind. Here one can put his/her head into the opening in the bubble thus completing the sculpture. “While focussing on your own thoughts inside, you will visualise your mind bubble for the spectator,” she says.
Karin who began painting in the late 90’s shifted environmental art after moving base from a city to the countryside. This move she says encouraged the environmentalist in her to come to the fore.
“The confrontation with nature all around me posed the challenge that I could only answer with installations in nature. With each installation I made, I slowly developed my skills more as an environmental artist”, she informs. From then on, all her work – environmental art and paintings reflect the theme of human relationship with nature.
For Karin, her site-specific art and installations are not just a treat to the eyes but is also an endeavour of an artist to make one more aware of the environment and the resources found on earth. It also brings people closer to nature. Most of her work is made up with twigs, grass, hay and other natural materials – something one wouldn’t think of as being useful. Working with the materials that are naturally available seemed to be a way to deepen Karin’s relationship with nature even further.
“I have been searching for the link with nature since I became aware of its necessity. By using natural materials, I try to seduce myself and others to get closer to, or even ‘enter’ nature,” informs Karin. She says that the outcome is often a sculpture in which one can enter – either physically or mentally.
She usually spends some time to study and experience the location where the artwork is going to be made. She tries to find the entrance to the place, and find out how to formulate an artistic answer to it. She informs that there are several central themes that intrigue her. These themes provide an impetus to extend a certain work into a series of sculptures, paintings and video. “My art does make a statement – to enjoy nature and respect the environment and get connected with nature,” she says.
Having been invited to showcase her works in various parts of the world at international exhibitions, Karin unlike many other artists does not make money out of her work as her installations are temporary. Through her installations she hopes to offer the experience of opening the hers and the viewer’s mind to nature.

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