One day walking home from work, I found  43 dead Bumblebees, one after another. The next day, underneath a single tree I picked up 12.

 

Biologists around the globe are looking for the cause of these massive bee die-offs. And for good reason.

In the year 2010 the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, issued an alarming report concerning the worldwide mass extinctions of honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies and other insect pollinators. In some parts of the world, colony losses of up to 85%[i] have been reported. Over the last 20 years alone, a 70% drop in wild flowers was reported along with a 71% decrease in butterfly species[ii].

 

This worries me, because ironically, while these amazing little creatures are fighting for their own survival in an unseen war, they ensure the existence of basically all land-based creatures including: mankind.

 

We are all connected.

 

In my work, I attempt to mechanically ‘re-animate’ insect pollinators and up until now I have been focussed on flight. Using various techniques known to me I investigate the technological ‘fata morghana’[iii] in which we currently reside, trying to open the eyes of the beholder and simultaneously facilitating a renewed natural awareness of the circle of life in which we live.

 

 

[i] Zembla; Moord op de Honingbij uitzending 12 maart 2011, NPO VARA, 01:48 min

[ii] United Nations Environment Programme 2010 – UNEP Emerging Issues: Global Honey Bee Colony Disorder and Other Threats to Insect Pollinators. Page 3

[iii] Fata morghana, dream, fantasy, mirage, delusion, misconception.

 


One day walking home from work, I found  43 dead Bumblebees, one after another. The next day, underneath a single tree I picked up 12.

 

Biologists around the globe are looking for the cause of these massive bee die-offs. And for good reason.

In the year 2010 the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, issued an alarming report concerning the worldwide mass extinctions of honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies and other insect pollinators. In some parts of the world, colony losses of up to 85%[i] have been reported. Over the last 20 years alone, a 70% drop in wild flowers was reported along with a 71% decrease in butterfly species[ii].

 

This worries me, because ironically, while these amazing little creatures are fighting for their own survival in an unseen war, they ensure the existence of basically all land-based creatures including: mankind.

 

We are all connected.

 

In my work, I attempt to mechanically ‘re-animate’ insect pollinators and up until now I have been focussed on flight. Using various techniques known to me I investigate the technological ‘fata morghana’[iii] in which we currently reside, trying to open the eyes of the beholder and simultaneously facilitating a renewed natural awareness of the circle of life in which we live.

 

 

[i] Zembla; Moord op de Honingbij uitzending 12 maart 2011, NPO VARA, 01:48 min

[ii] United Nations Environment Programme 2010 – UNEP Emerging Issues: Global Honey Bee Colony Disorder and Other Threats to Insect Pollinators. Page 3

[iii] Fata morghana, dream, fantasy, mirage, delusion, misconception.

 


BIO SHORT

Léon van Opstal (1981)

The Hague, mechanically assisted birth.

His first Lego playset was given to Léon before he could walk and on his first birthday he received his first wooden toy crane.

After highschool, Léon studies aircraft mechanics (graduated 2002) and works as a technician at Rotterdam-The Hague Airport but after one year he decides to follow his creative impulses at the Amsterdam School of the Arts.

In his graduation year (2008) kinetic art comes into his artworks, beginning with a variety of mechanical sketches in the form of metal toy cranes and clamshell buckets which soon transform into anatomic-mechanical objects and castings with a certain playfactor.

Now, from his new Amsterdam based studio, Léon focusses mostly on mechanising insect pollinators like honeybees, bumblebees and butterflies.

Curriculum Vitae Leon van Opstal

CV

 

Giving back – increasingly forgotten – mechanical techniques to the increasingly more consuming but uncomprehending farsighted-nature-estranged-human, whilst exploring the boundaries of mechanical engineering versus natures evolutional ways and setting question marks to mankind’s ‘technological advancement’.

 

Léon Alexander van Opstal, 1981, ’s-Gravenhage

 

 

EDUCATION

 

2004-2008

Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten – Academie voor Beeldende Vorming

 

1997-2002

Nederlands Luchtvaart College – Aircraft Maintenance

Technician & Mechanic & GWK license.

 

 

EXHIBITIONS

 

Upcoming events:

 

 

Realisme, Galerie Franzis Engels, 21-24 jan, Amsterdam, NL

 

2015:

Art Fair Keulen, Galerie Franzis Engels, 24-27 sept, Keulen, D

BIJzondere BIJeenkomst, Platform Vaassen, 28 juni, NL

Kleinbeeld 3, Museum Waterland, 14 mei – 21 juni, Purmerend, NL

KunstRai, stand 64, galerie Franzis Engels, 27-31 mei, Amsterdam, NL

Transitie, Galerie Franzis Engels, 13 april -15mei, Amsterdam, NL

Art Breda, Galerie Franzis Engels, 5-12 april, Breda, NL

Art Karlsruhe, Galerie Franzis Engels, 4-8 mrt, Karlsruhe, D

Keep Moving, Galerie Franzis Engels, 21 feb – 22 mrt, Amsterdam, NL

Rotterdam Contemporary, Galerie Franzis Engels, 4-8 feb, Rotterdam, NL

 

2014:

 

Interference Prefrontaal – IDfx, 6-22 nov, Breda, NL

KunstRai – Galerie Franzis Engels, 4-9 jun Amsterdam, NL

Wunderkammer – Cabinodd, Tetem Kunstruimte, 20 mrt-18 mei, Enschede, NL

Jonge Kunstenaars’ – Galerie de Molen, 18 jan-16 feb, Wassenaar, NL

Raw Art Fair Rotterdam – Cruiseterminal, Galerie Franzis Engels stand 25, 5-9 feb, Rotterdam,  NL

 

2013:         

 

Verzamelen –  Galerie Franzis Engels, 30 nov-22 dec, Amsterdam, NL

Living Sculptures  –  Arti et Amicitiae, 2-16 nov, Amsterdam, NL

Affordable Art Fair  –  Galerie Franzis Engels, 14-17 nov, Hamburg, D

Gemeente Museum ZOMEREXPO 2013 AARDE  –  8 juni-15 sept, Den Haag, NL

Multi Solo ‘Wild Thing’  –  Tetem kunstruimte, 27 juni- 1 sept (curated by dutch artist Bart Hess), Enschede, NL

Kunstroute Heuvelrug –  Schoonoord-Doorn, 8-9 juni, Doorn, NL

321P  – Schipholweg 321, 17-20 mei, Badhoevedorp, NL         

Open atelier route Plantage Weesperbuurt – 23-24 mrt, Amsterdam, NL                      

RAW Art Fair2013  –  Galerie Franzis Engels, 6-10 feb, Rotterdam, NL     

Beautific  –  Dortmunder Kunstverein, 18 jan-28 mrt, Dortmund, D

 

2012:

 

Animaux  –  21 okt-6 dec Grachtengalerie, Utrecht, NL

Kunst Natuurlijk –  22 sept-7 okt, Galerie Franzis Engels, Amsterdam, NL

Multi Solo ‘The Far Future is Nature’ –  12 juli-2 sept, Tetem kunstruimte, (curated by dutch artist Phil Bloom), Enschede, NL

Het Insectenhuisjes museum  –  9 juni-7 juli, Galerie de Stoker, Amsterdam, NL

De tijd vliegt  –  21 apr-26 mrt, Kunstuitleen Voorburg, Voorburg, NL

NLdoet  –  17 mrt, Amsta Dr. Sarphatihuis, Amsterdam, NL

Foto expositie open atelier routes  –   7 feb-15 mrt, Stadsdeelkantoor Centrum, Amsterdam, NL

 

2011:

 

Fair  –  18 dec-4 mrt, Franzis Engels, Amsterdam, NL

Miljonair Fair Amsterdam RAI  –   8 dec-12 dec, Galerie Franzis Engels, Amsterdam, NL

Biskwie  –   26 nov, Biskwie-projects Slaakhuys,  Rotterdam, NL

Gefascineerd door materiaal  –   4 juni-19 juni, Galerie Franzis Engels Amsterdam, NL

20 jaar de Stoker  –   1 apr-23 apr, galerie de Stoker, Amsterdam, NL

Open atelier route Plantage Weesperbuurt  –  19 mrt-20 mrt Amsterdam, NL

 

2009:

 

LFTFLD Art Show  –  10 apr-12 apr, Chiellerie, Amsterdam, NL

 

2008:

 

T-xchange  –  Cabinodd, Enschede, NL

Graduation exhibition  –   Amsterdam School of the Arts, Amsterdam, NL

 

Selections:

 

2013:          Finalist ZomerExpo 2013 AARDE, 8juni-15 sept, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, NL

2013:          Multi Solo ‘Wild Thing  27juni- 1sept Tetem kunstruimte, (curated by dutch artist

Bart Hess), Enschede, NL

2012:          Multi Solo ‘The Far Future is Nature 12 juli-2 sept, Tetem kunstruimte, (curated by dutch artist

Phil Bloom), Enschede, NL

2012:          NLdoet, 17 mrt, Amsta Dr. Sarphatihuis, Amsterdam, NL

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

2015            Interview Crossovers in de Kunst, BeeldenMagazine, #1 2015, jaargang 18 no. 69, www.beeldenmagazine.com

Interview door Etienne Boileau www.communart.nl

2014            De Volkskrant, vrijdag 18 april 2014 V5, Jeanne Prisser, expositie Wunderkammer TETEM Kunstruimte,

2012           Interview Kunstkrant Kunstuitleen Voorburg, De tijd vliegt, Stichting Beeldende Kunst Voorburg, 3de editie, oplage

2000 stuks drukkerij Slimdruk te Leeuwarden 2012. Interview door Christy de Witt; info@twc-

network.nl

2012           Voorburgse Courant/Leidschendammer, donderdag 19 april 2012, jaargang 49 nummer 16, pagina vl-15, aantal oplage 20.900 stuks,  uitgeverij Wegener te Apeldoorn 2012.

2012           Bubbleprojects, Boek European Contemporary Artists, oplage 10.000 stuks, uitgeverij n.b. isbn: n.b.verspreid in 6

landen.

2011            Kunstkrant Open Atelier Route Plantage-Weesperbuurt, Oplage 10.000 stuks, Amsterdam 2011

2008            Examencatalogus Academie voor Beeldende Vorming AHK BVO, drukkerij HelloGraphics

 

 

APPEARANCES

 

2013:          RTV Rijnmond, Voice voor Kunstenaars, audio radio intervieuw 00:18 min tot 01:24, TV uitzending van 6 april 2013 timeframe 1:41-1:48 with ‘Vlinder-in-doos’

http://www.rijnmond.nl/nieuws/06-04-2013/voice-voor-kunstenaars-rotterdam

 

2012:          RTV Noord Holland, Van Zulks dus, item opening Insectenhuisjes museum, uitzending van 8

juni 2012, timeframe 1:27min

http://www.rtvnh.nl/programma/34/Van+Zuks+Dus/39507#.T9JYA5J60lJ.facebook

 

2011:          Kunstvideo Open Ateliers Plantage-Weesperbuurt 2011, door Rajab Mohamadin, Amsterdam

timeframe 14:26min.

http://www.kunstvideo.org/

 

 

MEMBERSHIPS

 

fARTclub, werkend lid sinds 2014

Arti et Amicitiae, werkend lid, Amsterdam sinds 2013

 

 

WORKSHOPS

 

2013            Arte College Almere-Poort,

Rube Goldberg machines bouwen. Groepjes leerlingen bouwen zelfstandig een kinetische reactie machine waar minimaal 7 mechanische/scheikundige transities in plaats vinden, waaronder minimaal 1 vertragings element.

De machines werden beoordeeld op creatieve uitvoering, techniek en werking.

Leerdoelen: samenwerking, technisch inzicht creatief vergroten, biologische scheikundige reacties toepassen, ontwerpen en realiseren van beweging, competitie element, presentatie.