Rob Moonen

S.O.P. / Seizure of Power

29 Oct - 8 Jan 2006

Rob Moonen (Schaesberg 1958) will show, in the project space, an installation consisting of older and more recent works. Since the early nineties, he has realized countless projects that are characterized by a great concern for the history of a place. Usually these could be described as lieux de memoires (places of memory). Moonen works at various locations, within the Netherlands and abroad. Many of his projects have been carried out in Germany. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of the city formed the basis for his project Union (1991). For this he produced photographs and sculptures with the desolate remains of the socialist utopia. The installation Camera Silens (in collaboration with Olaf Arndt, 1994) evokes memories of the RAF terrorism of the seventies. The installation consists of a completely sealed-off space in which the visitor can sit in a dentist's chair and hear nothing other than one's own heartbeat. In the clinical space, all contact with the outside world is broken, this giving rise to associations with the bare isolation cells in which terrorists were put for the purposes of complete control and observation. This was meant to break down psychological barriers.

In 2004 Moonen produced (in collaboration with Tom America) the film and music project Tempelhof, which deals with the history of this Berlin airport. Originally built in the megalomania of Hitler's Third Reich, the airport played an essential role during the airlift for West Berlin after its isolation by Russian troops in 1948. Today the airport's role seems to be over, and only the grand buildings remain as monuments of an unsettling history.
All of Moonen's projects and installations are founded on a critical analysis of a historical location or event. Usually he presents his work outside the context of a museum. For this occasion he is showing several of his works that may be lesser known, but which attest to social commitment. The work 10,000 names (1999) was prompted by the disappearance of 10,000 Albanese refugees and consists of 10,000 cloth name labels that have been arranged into the form of a target. The installation Power (2001) investigates, by way of 700 photographs of the heads and hands of statues in Rome, the representative role of art in relation to power, and Seen (2005) consists of a woolen carpet on which the excerpt on racism from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is shown in braille.
In all of these works Moonen reflects on the themes of power and vulnerability, danger and protection within the system of our society.

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