a project in Thrivandrum, India 1997

In 1997 Bart Drost was an Artist in Residence at the International Centre for Cultural Development in Trivandrum, India. At his departure to India, he had no idea what to do up there. Once there, he threatened to go on seeing the activities that other international artists presented. Until he discoverd the plastic toy animals and so he had found his material. This has resulted in a sound art project, composed of various sub-projects. At that time Drost could not have imagined that finally  these projects would lead to the presentation 'Innocent India', which was shown at the Museum Het Valkhof in Nijmegen, 1999.

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innocent india - museum 'het valkhof' nijmegen - 1999

In 1997 Bart Drost travels for a work period to the South of India. There he discovers plastic toy animals as an artistic working material. The by Drost again compound beasts will form the basis of an exhibition to be held at Museum Het Valkhof in Nijmegen. Drost photographed the creatures in the garden of the residence, casted them in aluminium and finally placed them on papier-maché replicas of himself. Some drawings from his India's sketchbook he prints human sized on three glass plates. These drawings are in mirror screen-printed. Behind this glass plates hang three life-size photos of the artist also on the basis of an Indianyoung boy. It is a statement which tells us how small mankind is.


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what's my name? - trivandrum india - 1997

"Even an artist has to earn money". In 1997 these words Ulay spoke to Bart Drost in the Intertional Centre for Cultural Development in Trivandrum, India. Both artists there developed on that moment a new art project. Ulay was riding on an elephant, Bart Drost snapped and stuck plastic toy animals. It was a conversation about how an art project 'where nobody was asking for' could generate money. Ulay was very charmed by the new plastic creatures of Drost and suggested to cast an edition. In aluminium, material that  in India is ubiquitous and is recycled effective.

No sooner said than done. Drost went to the aluminum casting worksop. There occurred the problem that no mal could be made which load from the critters and so when casting the plastic the critters would be lost. "Not over my dead body ', decided Drost. The Foundry suggested to leave behind 1 plastic little creature, they would look for a solution. When two days later Drost visited the workplace he stood eye to eye with a copy in wax of the little plastic creature. Hand Formed! Speechless, he was. The casting of a circulation of 12 statuettes would mean that every single piece had to be made by hand. Well, then however equally well all the different plastic animals could be casted in aluminium?!

So came to pass. However the trade thought to make a circulation of 12 was disappeared like snow in the Sun. There would be 12 unica ...
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terra incognita - trivandrum india - 1997

While fellow artists in the International Centre for Cultural Development in Trivandrum were busy with most powerful fabrics and pigments, Bart Drost as artist-in-residence was looking for material that challenged him. He became fascinated by the fact that there were so few toys to find for the children. Plastic Toy beasts were, however, plenty and widely available. This woiuld become his working material. In his Indian studio he mangled the toy animals and snapped them together, so he suggested new species. As if he were God himself who wanted to perk up the world a bit. In color and combination funny and adorable. Simultaneously however, bizarre and disturbing: this new animals surely have no life chances.

It is this 'ambivalence' that characterizes the work of Drost: is he just 'playing a game' or is he didactic addressed to the spectator ?
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one hour exposition - trivandrum india - 1997

As part of his work period as Artist in Residence in the International Centre for Cultural Development in Trivandum (India) was an exhibition of Bart Drost scheduled by the organisation. Drost had his own ideas about this: the art that he had made stemmed from (toys) shops on the street, so also his work had to go back 'on the street'. So he invented the idea of the one hour exposition. He placed at one side of the street a row of 12 wooden ladder, which exhibit aluminium casts of objects that he fromed by putting plastic toy animals together. As a special attraction for the passers-by a tombola was organised: there could be drawn lots. A spectacle where his colleague-residence-artists plenty connected. The prize consisted of plastic toy animals, whether or not by Drost re-created.
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Bart Drost

free artist

Graafseweg 183a
6531ZR Nijmegen
The Netherlands