2015 Shadows Of Moments Passed (Museum Belvedère, Oranjewoud)

Dear visitor,

Here you find the installation Shadows Of Moments Passed.

You see a long sheet of paper rolled out on the ground, which makes shadows and light visible. If the sun shines trees, branches, and leaves project their shadows. If it is clouded you have to be more patient, but it will become visible at a certain moment and then nature will tell you a poetic story. Maybe give you a metaphysical experience.

A quote by herman de vries, from a catalogue of the Drawing Centre Diepenheim:

‘what is the reality of a shadow. it is there and yet it is not there. a shadow is not material. it needs matter and light, then it comes to be. shadow is the result of a process in which we take part. the process of being and becoming, which is and manifests itself continuously. a shadow is a non-material manifestation. an aspect of that process.

the world we can see, feel, smell, hear, is full of secrets – which are all manifest.

[…] a shadow cannot be touched. the process it is a part of, is always evolving. […] that’s how we recognize its dynamics.

we give names to things, to events – a word is a concept. we apprehend to comprehend, but the shadow doesn’t provide any grip. yet it is.’

This text by herman de vries not only relates to my exploration of shadows, but goes to the centre of it. What I draw are immediate perceptions, my drawings are possible grips onto bygone moments. Which may be dynamical and moving processes, but also perceptions from when I myself am in movement. Or processes I set in motion.

My request is to take a picture of the installation and send it to me through mail or message. In this way I am able to document the process of giving the drawing back to nature through what you experience.

Many thanks, Carlijn Mens (May 2015)


The remains of the drawing, together with the leaves and earth that stick to the paper are now in my studio, and in my mailbox I have received more than 400 great photos.

I am a perfectionist in my work. Also if the work will be realised through a process, I first try out how the process may unfold a well as possibile.

This project outdoors at the Oranjewoud estate is the first work in which I gave up all control. I put down the conditions, nature and the public have sponsored the work in its development. Rain, sun, wind, leaves, earth, trees, animals left traces on and in the paper. Visitors have taken pictures on my behalf, determining the compositions themselves, surprising and amazing me. Some people have put the paper back again after a storm. I did not concede to the impulse to jump in my car, drive there and do all this myself.

I did not want to stand in between the artwork and the public in any way. Yet I have received a lot. ‘the shadow doesn’t provide any grip.’

To all photographers: thank you! (September 2015)