Her mother was Belgian and her father was Dutch.
She lived her childhood in Tilburg and in Margraten, Holland.
In 1972 she moved to Utrecht, where she graduated in the speciality of sculpture on the Academie of visual Arts of Utrecht, the town where she has her first exhibition in 1982.
In Holland she has numerous exhibitions, realizes several commissions and forms part of groups of contemporary artists such as Atelier Tij and De Blauwe Wissel, sharing buildings to work and organize exhibitions and meetings.
She makes sculptures in bronze and aluminium. Initially it were human figures that were transforming little by little into birds and, curiously, the last sculptures realized in Holland before emigrating to Spain were flying birds.
During that last time in Holland she could not stand anymore the slow process of casting in bronze and starts painting to be able to work more spontaneously.
In 1988 she moved with her little son to Spain where they established in Chiva, Valencia.
She went on painting and for a few years she portrays marginal and archaic characters.
Coinciding with her move to the countryside in 1992, she returns to her sculpture roots and thanks to the years that she has been painting, her way of working is more direct. She uses new materials such as wood, rubber, polyester or found and recycled objects.
In 1994 she realizes the intervention Red y Azul in the former Cross factories in Valencia within a group exhibition that claims industrial memory.
This was the beginning of her numerous installations and interventions in public spaces and in nature.
She inclines for unconventional exhibition venues where her work with morphological characteristics is installed which give those places a more vivacious and less object-like aspect.
In 1997 she met the composer Leopoldo Amigo and a collaboration and friendship between them is born which will generate both multiple musical compositions of Leopoldo Amigo for Monique Bastiaans’s pieces, as the reverse, the creation of scenographic works for his multimedia concerts.
More and more the exhibition space is developed as an object in itself, and considering that the works have been created for that specific place, sculpture, music and space, fuse irremediably.
In 1998 she participates with the work ”, According to international rules ” in the first edition of Cabanyal Portes Obertes, a project of artistic interventions, which arises against the threat for the survival of the district of Cabanyal in Valencia by the urban development plans. Her concern for the well-being and social justice makes her participate in three more editions.
Monique Bastiaans always attaches great importance to the place where she will exhibit, the space or environment that will receive her work. She usually works out every project thinking of a specific place and according to the particular characteristics of that place, whether it is an exhibition hall or an open space, whether urban or en nature.
She seeks to integrate the work in the environment expecting that it will produce more than a dialogue, a relation of self-involvement, almost out of necessity.
The interventions she realizes in nature, even though the employed materials are often synthetic, appear to be a part of that nature that surrounds them. Organic forms and synthetic materials live in symbiosis with the environment in a dialogue of contrasts between materials, not between forms.
“Who am I to torture some trees pretending that the result will be better than it was before?” she was wondering in Ribarroja del Turia while working on the intervention project “Adeu Tristesa” (2000) that transformed a field of orange trees that had died by the disease of ”la tristeza” (the sadness), into a garden of colour and illusion.
Her respect towards the environment is also one of the fundamental reasons for the ephemeral character of much of her work.
The interaction between work and environment appears in a subtle way, such as the movement of the breeze and the sun reflections in the nylon meshes of “Mediodía se celebra en el interior” (2001).
In her persevering dialogue with nature she also reverses the concept of land art, and from the principle of the artificial, she realizes a recreation of nature in its purest form.
A constant factor in her work is to try to break our routine way of watching, confronting us with other concepts of reality. She wants to appeal to our missing disposition to visual astonishment and make us observe the consoling beauty of the reality that surrounds us.
For logistical questions, the accomplishment of her huge projects in remote locations are more complicated. That leads her to develop ideas and working methods that consist of swelling, stretching or filling the work at the place of destination. (Bactracio 1998 Suecia, Mediodia se celebra en el Interior 2001 Gran Canaria, Helphola 2001 Lanzarote, Ombligos Mirandose 2007 Japon).
In 2002 she teaches sculpture at the Art Faculty of the University of Castilla – La Mancha, Cuenca, Spain.
Her work is not limited to a strict discipline, in fact the combination of diverse elements and resources is something recurrent in her poetry. And not only because of the combination of disparate materials and techniques, but also for investigating this fertile front that exists between object and context.
Her works are based on the pretension to introduce ludic elements in everyday landscapes, both rural and urban, creating simultaneously such an intense relationship that they imitate each other. She combines strange elements, creates impossible unions which are successfully resolved before the incredulous eyes of the passerby.
The material reference is a constant. The use of fabrics, plastics and silicones makes her to be in a continuous search for technical, formal and aesthetic solutions. About 2006, she starts to investigate and experiment to create her own materials and textures, to invent materials according to her needs, according to what she wants to express in each work. She substitutes the vegetable fibres for industrial structures that can sustain the scale of its new configuration. This substitution of the resistant elements makes it possible to oversize these ethereal beings without losing the sensation of delicacy. Organic shapes elaborated with elements from the industrial revolution, a reinvented, synthesized nature.
She is influenced by pop art. The use of techniques such as seriation or repetition, the intense colours and the use of everyday elements from contemporary life such as rubber rings, balloons or balls, makes that she drinks constantly from the popular culture. However, it is noteworthy that these elements that she gathers and are of common use, acquire a completely different reading when used in an environment with a dissimilar purpose.
In the exhibition ”Las Ideales” (2012) the used materials are more friendly. She re-discovers the stone cardboard and the flour paste, (typical materials of the Fallas of Valencia). She chooses to continue in this line of sustainable materials and starts experimenting with ceramics and iron.
Although the materials that she uses are changing throughout the years, the subject matter of her work repeats itself. Nature, the feminine, fertility, but also society, philosophy, spirituality and religion are recurring themes that she expresses in a playful yet thoughtful way.
While in the exhibition ”Plaisir de Fleurir” (2007) she reflected on the individual spiritual path inside a ludic sanctuary, the exhibition ”Als het Ware” (2014) questions the Absolute Truth and who defends it. For the sculpture ”M-Klok” (2014), within this exhibition, she collaborates with a composer again, this time with an old friend from Utrecht, the musician and composer Sander van Herk.
During a residence in Holland in 2015 she realizes ” Digitaalzaad ” a participative work with the fingerprints in terracotta of thousands of persons. The work was commissioned for the new building of the ARCUS College in Heerlen.
Monique Bastiaans lives and works in Chiva, Valencia, Spain.