introduction

In May 2016 Bart Drost spent four weeks as an artist in residence at the Foundation Obras, Estremoz, Portugal. Usual such periods are a source of inspiration for him and they promote the work ethic.  Although he didn?t experience this residence as much inspiring , he succeeded to realize a fantastic project.
Why it was so uninspiring? It is a beautiful location, nature glitters and the property has a three-star level. That the weather was terrible bad (in ten days fell as much rain as in the year 2015!) may not be a reason, though this of course affects the general feeling of well being negative.
No, the lack of inspiration was more the fact that he experienced the residence as an isolated place, more or less as a  monastry. Of course, the area was gorgeous, with its rolling countryside, the ringing ringing sheep, satisfied grunting black pigs, storks and majestic meadows with plenty of colorful flowers. But where were the Portuguese? Bart had not the feeling he was spending my time in Portugal. Also  the on IKEA inspired decor of the houses did not contribute to an authentic Alentejo feeling.
That he still looks back on this work period with a very good feeling is mainly due to the fact that within fifteen minutes walk from the residence there was an old abandoned train station. During a walk on the second day of my stay he saw that half ruined, half bricked building and he knew immediately that this would be the place where he had to do ?something?.
Since then he worked for three weeks continuously on the project that finally would be named ?o teatro de passagem?.

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breaking the walls

Everytime again it?s the same strange story:  you go somewhere completely blank, no idea what to do and then suddenly 'you see the light'. That is what also this time happened to me on the second day of my residence at Obras. We walked along through those beautifull flowery meadow - no man to see - and suddenly at the left there was an old abonded railway station. Immdeiatly I fell in love with it?
 And then right away, like a waterfall the ideas and images well in me, even a title shows up. In a way that is so strong that the project in my head is already finished. To realize it looks like a piece of cake.
As you see the station has five doors. Two of them are open, three are stone-bricked and plastered. In the left door you see a small hole: someone tried to look inside?

But when you can make a hole in it to look inside, why not breaking down the whole wall!
So I decided to re-open the train station and to give it a new function: let this old abandoned train station be a platform where the arts can grow and flourish. In fact I continued the project I started in my own studio in my hometown Nijmegen. In days where the arts are dismissed as unnecessary and superfluous ? because they are not  of any commercial interest ? I initiated MAAS, a place where artists can develop and experiment their new ideas, show art works that no gallery or museum is
interested in.

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making the murals

Breaking  down the brick walls in the doors of the railway station was just part one of the whole project. Of course one had his doubts: will and can he really do this? Because it takes a lot of energy and time.
Well, demolishing the doors took almost three hours each and a lot of powerfull blows with a sledgehammer. And of course a couple of days to clear away the debris and to clean everything that it looks like it was never been otherwise.
May 15th I started to build up again.
The four rooms of the station (the 4th and 5th door lead into one big space) had to be ?restyled?. I decided to make in each of them one mural that covered an entire wall.
After six days I had painted over 60.000 little blue ?wavelets? by hand on the walls and the work was finished.
The four rooms each have his own character: from the left to the right: room 1 has three layers of blue, room 2 two layers, room 3 one layer and in room 4 on the mural one small detail of the painting in room 4 is hugely enlarged.
On a wall in the fourth room I finally signed a kind of summary table, which showed how many wavelets I painted one certain wall in a day.


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celebrating the art!

At the end of the residence and as a kind of tribute to the abandonded train station Bart Drost invited his collegue residence artists to contribute to a small show.

"We could make a beautiful late afternoon together,with spectacle, eat drink and ? who knows ? visitors. (At least there will beno art critics, gallery owners or other big ones from the art scene, so you canfeel free to do whatever you want!)."

With the theme in mind 'passagem' (everything is passing by) the artists made their own piece of art and shared it with each other.

Josef Kleindienst, who wrote special for this occasion the short play ?at the station? and forced me to be an actor for eight minutes.
Kris Williamson, who wrote special for this occasion four new ?ugly poems? and recited them more than ones, for each visitor personally.
Ingrid Simons, who succeeded to find a crazy act in the way she showed her video ?morte do sol? by turning the audience into living sculptures.
Regan Hagas, who composed for this occasion the song ?Time? and played the cello with love. Thanks a lot for being the co-star in the play.
Tim Pettit, who made a sound scape for the railway station and who was the perfect musical partner in the jamsessions with Regan.


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Bart Drost

vrij kunstenaar

Graafseweg 183a
6531ZR Nijmegen