Ernst van der Hoeven

Indigo Cascade

The project

Long strips of hemp cloth, with 88 gradations of naturally dyed indigo blue, like a ‘flowing landscape’ stretched on a bamboo skeleton. The work is measuring 616 linear meters of fabric, traditionally woven and dyed by a women’s cooperative of the Black Hmong minority in the mountains of North-Vietnam.


This project shows the relationship between man and nature. Man has to some extent control over the dyeing process but then nature takes over. It is a poetic and conceptual project that plays with the idea of authenticity and transience. It poses dialectic questions such as: What is art and what is nature? What is personal and what is collective? In addition, it gives insight into a Vietnamese dyeing method that is totally different from the method used in the Netherlands.

— Indigo is more than a colour; it’s like a flowing river that borrows its colour from the light - Ernst van der Hoeven

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