Moniek Toebosch (NL)

Erasing & Recovering on a Saturday Afternoon

Moniek Toebosch - Erasing & Recovering on a Saturday Afternoon (25-06-2011)
Lustwarande ’11 – Raw
Photography Dirk Pauwels

Moniek Toebosch (b. 1948, Breda - † 2012, Amsterdam) was without any doubt the leading lady of Dutch performance art. Since the late 1960s, she has made her name with interdisciplinary, temporary projects in the public space, but also in museums, theatres, and on Dutch television. Toebosch gained popularity with a wider audience for her solo musical act Ze zeggen dat ze zingt/They say she’s a singer (1978), and later for Aanvallen van Uitersten (1983), a controversial series of four television programmes, in which she introduced the public to the latest developments in the visual arts, music, theatre, dance and literature. But her best-known work is undoubtedly the extended project Engelen (Angels), a sound installation that could only be heard between 1994 and 2000 on car radios along the Houtrib dyke between Enkhuizen and Lelystad, in the middle of the IJsselmeer. Recently this soundinstallation has been restored and is no longer broadcast via a radio frequency but can be heard via an app.

For her contribution to Lustwarande ’11, Toebosch rode an African elephant on June 25, Indian style, wearing a long white jacket and boots. The elephant pulled a harrow, creating a trail along a number of paths in De Oude Warande. The performance was inspired by Toebosch’s visit as a child to the zoo that was in the park of De Oude Warande at that time. Her performance also alluded to the fêtes galantes held in the Baroque era, when the park was created. These festivals often featured exotic animals that had never been seen before in Europe. The title, Erasing & Recovering on a Saturday Afternoon, is a reference to the song Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon (1975) by Queen. In this intervention, which was as monumental as it appeared pointless, Toebosch effectively erased her past, while simultaneously remaking it. The process is similar to burning off an old layer of paint and then replacing it with a new one, with an open end, like life itself.

Sadly Moniek Toebosch passed away in November 2012 after a long struggle to overcome cancer. Her work for Lustwarande turned out to be her swan song.