KLEINPFERD exhibition

Museum van Bommel van Dam (Venlo, The Netherlands) presented, from 15 September 2013 until 12 January 2014, a huge spatial installation by Monique Camps, titled KLEINPFERD. Inviting the visitor to investigate, the exhibition was centred around six monumental photographic works, created especially for the presentation in Venlo. The imposing photographs of horses conjure up conflicting emotions. They are sensual, seductive and stimulating. Simultaneously, they harbour something terrifying and diabolical.

Artist Monique Camps (Venlo, 1966) makes contemporary art that draws heavily on the Western tradition of art, especially French Romanticism. When she takes photographs, she does so through the eyes of a painter. She focuses on the whole composition and, at the same time, the details. In recent years she has concentrated on large-format photographic works. Depictions of small porcelain statuettes (such as an eagle, soldier or stag) are included in her work in extreme detail. Form and light take on an entirely new, alienating effect in Camps’ work.

KLEINPFERD

 
Monique Camps shows things that are so ubiquitous and commonplace that others ignore them. As she says herself: “Everything I’m showing is already there. All I’m doing is showing that it exists.” This is how the artist opens new, visual worlds for us. Worlds full of tenderness but also drenched in darkness.
As small creatures, the porcelain horses appear inconsequential. Only the true enthusiast has time for them. Through depicting them as enormous images Monique Camps brings their immensity to life. The fragility of the horses is not obscured here, but actually completely exposed. The ordinary is presented as something big and heroic. The artist shares this presentational approach with the 19th-century French painter Théodore Géricault (1791-1824) who is appreciated for his penetrating portraits of people as well as horses and other animals.

Inspired by Géricault, Monique Camps explores the world of the horse in a highly personal, authentic way and, with her camera, registers without concession the nature of things. She takes the viewer on a journey through time. Past photographs, videos and display cabinets with objects from her private collection. Watching and associating, Monique Camps links elements from Géricault’s oeuvre with European history and that of her own.