Vera Mennens

audiovisueel - film - schrijven - natuur - artistiek onderzoek

Artist Vera Mennens (b. 1991), co-founder of at7 project space, lives and works in Rotterdam. Throughout her practice, Vera Mennens’s main research is on the question of how you can research history and historiography as an artist. Her works balances on the borders of fact and fiction, and while unravelling and the past and present, she questions how the archive helps to construct and preserve our collective and personal memory and what the future of that archive can be. Her network of research comes together in constellations of overlapping images taken from public and personal archives, accompanied and brought together by a narrative. Her works provide a site of relations across time and place that invites to take a position between the collective and personal, fact and fiction, past and present in order to determine new perspectives and methods on the research on histories of western Europe.


Shifting Dunes (2021) - 'Shifting dunes' (2020), is written essay for the collaborative project What Do Landscapes Say (2019-2021) following the research in the Wadden region, and in preparation for the making of the video essay Shifting Dunes (2021) during a work period at Nida Art Colony, Lithuania, in 2021. The essay is a combination of 7 (non) fictional) fragments and found footage.
The Three Stages (2017- ongoing) - The project The Three Stages is a research project made alongside the writings and saved collected objects of Eli Heimans (b. 1861 – †1914), one of the founders of the nature conservation movement in the Netherlands. In this work, I set out on a journey from the hills of South-Limburg (NL) to Gerolstein (DE) and the North Sea dunes (NL), not only looking for Eli Heimans and the landscapes in his stories but also to determine how we deal with archived history and the way we perceive nature in this time and age. (The Three Stages project (2020). Installation view: Art Rotterdam, Prospects and Concepts 2020. Photo’s by Eros Chien )
Zur Geologie des Gerolsteiner Landes (2020) - Zur Geologie des Gerolsteiner Landes’ (2020) is part of the Three Stages project (2020). Edition of 5 (+ 1 artist copy). Contact me for information about price and production. Woven tapestry (230 by 165 cm), Mohair, Cashwool, Trevira, based on personal archive material from Eli Heimans and images from ‘Geologie-boekje, een A-B-C voor de beginnende amateurs’ (Eli Heimans, Amsterdam, W. Versluys, 1913), Uit ons Krijtland (Eli Heimans, Amsterdam, W. Versluys, 1911) and ‘Tussen de bergen en de zee, de wordingsgeschiedenis der lage landen’, (Dr. J.I.S. Zonneveld, Utrecht, Bohn, Scheltema en Holkema, 1980). Produced in the TextileMuseum/ TextielLab Tilburg. Installation view: Art Rotterdam, Prospects and Concepts 2020, film stills.
Between Mountains and Sea (2020) - Between Mountains and Sea (2020, 1-channel video, 11.19 min) is a video essay part of the Three Stages project (2020). With thanks to Marga Coesel-Wouda (Heimans enThijsse stichting, Amsterdam), Bram Langeveld (Natuur Historisch museum Rotterdam), Arike Gill (Naturalis Biodiversity Center Leiden), Hortus Botanics Amsterdam, Arboretum Trompenburg Rotterdam, Jippe Kreuning (Paleo ecologie, Science park Amsterdam), Naomi van Dijck, Inge Molenaar, Jori Snels and Mondriaan Fonds.
The Meeting (2019) - The Meeting (2019) is a video essay part of the Three Stages project (2020). Installation view: ‘*an answer to that question is beyond the scope of my account’, 2019, duo show with Naomi van Dijck at at7 project space Amsterdam.
Mount Saint Peter (2018) - ‘To start off clear, Mount Saint Peter isn’t a mountain to begin with which already disturbs the framework I was planning to have for this work. Ok although there is no universally, generally accepted definition of a mountain, keeping in mind things like elevation, volume, relief, steepness, spacing, and continuity as criteria, following the UN En-viron-mental Programme, the lowest height of a mountain to be considered a mountain is an elevation of at least 300 meters. Therefore, due to its lacking 129 meters, Mount Saint Peter would better be classified as a steep hill, but sadly Saint Peter’s Hill just doesn’t sound as imposing so, we’ll refer to is as a mountain for the purpose of this work.’ (from the narrative of Mount Saint Peter) - Mount Saint Peter is a chapter within The Three Stages Project. (video, (2018), 1-channel, 5.48)
Contrapunctus XIV (2018) - Contrapunctus XIV focuses on different characters who come together in one network of the stories through different histories, myths, stories,memories, landscapes and objects. In Contrapunctus XIV (2018) I look for the body of Johan Sebastian Bach and try to decide how to deal with the gaps and discrepancies I encounter in the stories and archives during the research. With thanks to Nederlands muziek instituut and Rijksmuseum for their archival images. Photo’s by Arthur Cordier (the Balcony, The Hague) Installation view: presentation at The Balcony Project space, The Hague (2018), archival footage and scans of 120 mm slide film - various sizes of digtal prints, narrative on the windows.
The Events Between the Events (2017) - The video essay ‘the events between the events’ is a research project following the footsteps of Napoleon through Europe, from Mount Saint Peter in Maastricht to the Italian Alps, in order to unravel and understand the current situation of Europe. This research project takes the form of a personal journey through different layers and voices from history. (The Events Between the Events (2017) 1 channel video, 13’11, screenshots, video screening and presentation VHDG, 2018, Leeuwarden,)
Monument for an almost country (2016) - What has Napoleon Bonaparte’s defeat, a country with a circumference of 25 km, an artificial language and the horizon in common? In this work, the research focuses on the establishment of an Esperanto state in 1908, which takes place in a stateless area between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Both the creation of state borders, the creation of the language of Esperanto and the practice of Esperanto in Neutral Moresnet are structures that were imposed on people who lived in the area and did not happen naturally. Many thanks to the Museum of Moresnet, Kelmis (Belgium) & The Esperanto Archive, Vienna, Austria. (2016, Audio 5.26 min, prints of 4x5 inch black and white photographs, installation view: KABK gallery spaces, Den Haag)
A City Called Heerlen (2015) - The photo project (A city called) Heerlen investigates what happens to an industrial city (and its inhabitants) when it loses its industrial raison d’être and falls into a continuous decline that is still noticeable today. The project focusses on the impact of the political decisions that led to the shutdown of the mining industry in the early seventies on Heerlen and its surrounding areas. The research comprises documentation of the area on a psychological and geographical level, and the way these two are interconnected. (Publication (2015), 29 x 23 cm, handbound, design by Tim Hollander)