three pieces for patan

"Three pieces for Patan" - an installation by the Dutch artist Bart Drost in the back garden of the Patan Museum, Kathmandu, Nepal. April 26th till April 30th 2014.

 The day Bart Drost had googled for pictures of Patan Durban Square he thought: 'When I go there I probably never want to go back home anymore'. The place was a divine beauty and the atmosphere felt like a known past.  Feeling homesick to a place he had never been before!

Bart applied at Kathmandu Contemporary Arts Centre and became residence artist at their garden studio. Arrived in Patan, he immediately realized that the enormous difference between the life in Nepal and his life at home however would force him to go back to his own house in his own hometown.

 The artwork has 4 parts: 'My house, my temple', 'What if God was one of us', 'Colors between heaven and earth', 'Passing time'.

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my house, my temple

The main piece in the installation is a bamboo construction. It resembles a replica of Barts house in Nijmegen, reduced with scale 75%. You only see the lines. On the sides of the roof are red curtains as most temples in Patan have. You can hear the sound of some temple bells. So in a way, the artist has build his home for a few days in Patan. On one hand there is the desire to have his home here in Patan, on the other to go home again.

Bamboo construction, hight 8 mtrs.
Red curtain with golden line, 90 mtrs.
Temple bells, 16

Placed in the back garden of the Patan Museum under supervision from Mr. Pursottam Shreshtra.
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colors between heaven and earth

Against the invisible walls of the bamboo building five Thanka's hang, because one needs pictures on the wall. They show the three primary colors and black and white. Ingredients to make all colors you want; the roots of diversity. The Thanka's are made by a Thanka School in Patan.

5 Thanka's, painted by Lama's Thanka Centre & Training School Patan in colors red, yellow, blue and in black and white.

Hanged in the entrance part of 'My house, My temple'.

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what if god was one of us?

For the second piece Bart uses an existing platform in the garden, a kind of stage. He painted the floor with light blue figurines (could it be small wavies?). On the platform there was a low table, where on Bart laid some concrete sculptures, little kids heads. Except one that's carved in stone. A reflection about handcraft in relation to the possibilities of new multiply techniques? The head of the little kid comes  from Barts hometown; it is a precious remnant of his youth. Bart made the concrete ones here, the stone one is made by a stone carver in Patan.

44 childheads: 43 concrete, 1 stone carved by Arnico Stone Carving Patan, on a wooden table that belongs to the Patan Museum

Painted floor, water solutable paint, lightblue.

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passing time

In the Garden Studio - Barts working place for five weeks - he almost every day made small drawings on Nepali paper. Small wavies in pencil. Concentrated like a monk, sitting in front of the window and looking outside to the wild garden. It took two, three hours each day again. There was no obvious reason for this activity, the only thought was 'I have to do this'. It gave room for new reflections and ideas. The installation 'Thee pieces for Patan'  would not have gotten its present form without taking the time to make these small drawings.

In the meanwhile he made fifty pencil drawings and hang them in ordinary Nepalese frames around in his studio. He completed this by itself created installation with a brass replica of the kids head, casted by an artist from Patan.


49 pencil drawings on Nepali paper, framed in simple traditional Nepali frames

1 inkpencil drawing, under glass plate on wooden hocker from the studio

1 childface, casted in brasse by Ethnic Fineart Patan, on pedestal of bricks

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nobody knows

nobody knows but
your eyes have seen
your ears have heard
your nose smelled

you've been here before
we all have
so don't be afraid
no reason for shame

underneath our clothes
we all are naked
every man houses a child
just admit it and love
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review

The Kathmandu Post

Three Pieces for Patan   Rachana Chettri, Kathmandu April 30

 Dutch artist Bart Drosts installations at the Kathmandu Contemporary Arts Centre are currently open to public viewing.

The monoty of sound, the repetitiveness of movement are perhaps best captured by the perperual hun and churn of the prayer wheel. The heavy brass, covered in a holy mantra, written down in s script not all of us can read and yet whos relevance dus not go past most of us, moves with the energy of the worshippers, of souls and energies who transfer a little bit of themselves into unspoken, unchanted Om Mani Padme Hums.

 This is the kind of energy that the Dutch artist Bart Drost, whos Three pieces for Patan is currently on exhibit in the KCAC vanity  - at the back garden of the Patan Museum - captures in the pencil drawings he created during his stay at KCAC premises. Arranged in identical picture frames hung over the exhibitions space's white walls, the pictures are an assortment of squiggly lines - forms the artist calls 'wavies' - that seems to repeat itself again and again until the whole of the rectangular room has been circumambulated. Form here, theirs is only a childs head - wrought in gold atop a brick and cement column - to gaze at. There are two Tibetan-style 'windows' from where viewers can choose to look into the vast outside (or inside) but the sense of being locked in someones  room, Drosts room, never leaves one. The 'wavies' are Drosts message to the unlooker, the outsider, little coded scripts, messages from a dream world that befuddle you; repetitive symbols that represent movement and music.

These squiggles appear again - not minuscule drawings in pencil this time - in Drosts What is God is one of us?  A raised platform that is the base of the artists 'home' - the bamboo construction My House, My Temple - in Patan, a place he knew he would love the moment he saw a photo of it on the Internet, has large blue 'wavies' one can wlak over and look down at. One can follow the same process one did inside the exhibition place and follow the lines only to arravie at the houses centre: a table of replica's of the same childs head spread over it. Grey and stone-like and eerily abundant, these heads are symbols of childhood for Drost, a stage most people, he believes, hurry past in the race to adulthood. Three pieces for Patan represents a yearning for childhood in this sence, but it is also, mostly a representation of universality of human existence: 'underneath our clothes every man houses a child' writes Drost and this childness is perhaps what he is giving voice to as he, an artist from the Netherlands builds a home in Patan Durbar Square.

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retour kathmandu - MAAS-kort Nijmegen - 2014

Bart Drost heeft voor zijn presentatie bij MAAS-kort in Nijmegen zijn project 'Three Pieces for Patan' in een nieuw jasje gestoken. Hij wilde graag ook zijn vrienden kennis laten nemen van zijn werkzaamheden en ervaringen in Nepal. Natuurlijk was het niet mogelijk zijn projecten naar Nijmegen te kopiŽren. Er moest een nieuwe vorm gevonden worden. Dat neemt niet weg dat zelfs de vloer van MAAS voor deze twee-dagen-presentatie beschilderd werd met het motief dat in Patan een eigen leven kreeg!

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kathmandu impressions

Je hebt op zo'n reis natuurlijk altijd een camera bij je. Zo ook Bart Drost. Het zijn geen specifieke onderwerpen die het fotografeert. Hij 'doet maar wat'. Dat klinkt oneerbiedig en doet de kunstenaar wellicht tekort. Maar de wijze van foto's nemen past bij zijn invulling van het kunstenaarschap: het onvermoede herbergt een schat.
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Bart Drost

vrij kunstenaar

Graafseweg 183a
6531ZR Nijmegen