The overhead oil pipelines, silent witnesses to the past success of Petroleum South, form the backdrop for the open-air exhibition “Dark Clouds Bright Clouds”. Fiber artist Mieke Smet was fascinated by the repetitive design, the rusty hues and the monumentality of this historical heritage. She came up with the idea of using the site as a canvas for her monumental cloud sculptures. Among other things, she drew inspiration from Parisian start‑up Fairbrics, which has developed an innovative method of extracting CO2 from the air and using it to spin yarn to produce sustainable clothing. That idea of ‘cleaning’ clouds appealed to Mieke.
The pristine white cloud sculptures make an exciting contrast to the rusty pipelines of the former Petroleum South. The sculptures are made of recycled non-woven fabric that served as support for an industrial pleating process. And to complete the circular circle, Mieke is now negotiating with some companies to reincorporate the fabric of the sculptures into their production process after the exhibition.
In her artistic practice Studio Orimi Mieke often reflects on the beauty of decay and the inevitable passing by of time, universal themes that she depicts in her fragile sculptures. She wants viewers to enjoy the way a surface comes to life through meticulous and hour-long actions. She folds thousands of fine lines into metal mesh, or she twists kilometres of fabric, or she sews fine zigzag lines in fabric for hours/days like a contemporary monk.
The official opening of the installation Dark Clouds Bright Clouds has taken place on Sunday 3 September with a performance by Anke Zijlstra* in symbiosis with the cloud sculptures. This performance is specially created for this installation.
The installation is free to view from 1 to 30 September at Lakweg in Antwerp (Belgium). Located on the eco-effective Blue Gate Antwerp business park, it is easily accessible by foot, bike or car.
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