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She makes art photography and art typography, is inspired by nature, unusual materials and tactility. Monique is a person who is interested and looks for contrasts and alienation. Aesthetically pleasing but edgy would perfectly describe the work she creates. In today’s story, we talk about the journey and work of Monique Goossens!
I grew up in the south of the Netherlands. From a very young age, I have been fascinated by materials and the sensations they gave me. For example, during dinner, I would secretly be rolling tiny balls of mashed potatoes between my fingers. My parents used to say: “Monique, don’t play with food!” Or when it was raining, I asked permission to jump in the mud. Then I’d dream of lying in a bath filled with butter. I have always had this very physical, tactile way of observing things.
I studied at the Eindhoven Design Academy. At first, I had a completely different career in social work and management. After being sick for two years, I concluded: I want to do something that fills my life with energy. I’ve had a lot of help from my labour coach during this process. When I completed all the tests to found out where my interest lies, I had terrible scores of interest on practically every subject, except for creating things. On this subject, I scored really high. But of course, there was the well-known you-won’t-earn-a-dime-alarms ringing all around me. And I must say, those warnings were really holding me back, even though I’d been dreaming of a creative life for a long time. I was lucky to have a psychologist who helped me, and nowadays, my troubles are gone, and I have faith in my artistic self.
I found the courage to explore what fascinates me so that I could get started. In my work, I like to touch boundaries, even though I don’t really feel them myself – but I know that there is a limit to what is generally accepted. For example, in one of my works, I body-paint a dead mouse. In another one, I create something with hair, or with a fish. Some would find this dirty or scary, but I don’t feel that EEEEKKK-experience. I can say that I am open-minded. Maybe that’s why some find my works edgy, but it’s not meant to be provocative.
One of the discoveries I recently had was using hair as a medium. When I was working on my work ‘hair chair’ a lot of hair fell to the ground, and I could see figures in it. So I immediately started shaping letters.
Recently I was passing by a fish market in Amsterdam and a bended fish caught my eye. To me, that clearly was an S. That’s when I just hung over the bins, gazing into all the different shapes. Besides that, a fish is obviously very slippery, which still appeals to me. Sometimes I just choose a shape or a letter, so that I can fully dedicate myself to the material.
In my work, I am always curious and looking for the limits. I work from home, but also often in nature. It depends on the project I am working on. The photo of the chair made out of hair. I just made it in my apartment. Daylight lamps and go. First I worked mostly from home and later I started working more in nature. In the beginning, I was very busy shaping the object, so I didn’t really pay attention to the background yet. Later I found nature to be the perfect unpolished stage. It was creating an enormous amount of depth.
A year ago, I suddenly looked at work and saw the common thread. Truly an AHA moment: it’s all about skin, it’s all about the body, about tactility. I always knew it was about the material and I suddenly saw all kinds of categories.
In my last series, I took this very literally. The feeling on my skin. Sometimes it feels a bit crazy and scary to share this. But this is what fascinates me. Each photo contains a material, a tactile and a sensual fascination. I always secretly knew I would do such a project. Because in the past I thought it would be great to pour blue paint around someone and photograph that. At that time, I even lived with my parents. And now about 30 years later I just did this.