March 21, 2010

Gerard van Lankveld, Monera Carkos Vlado

first four pictures (july 2010) by Inky van Swelm

Monera Carkos Vlado is the name of a fantasy empire in the Netherlands, a name that has associations with slavic languages and could mean power of tsar.

Life and works

It is a realm created by dutch outsider artist Gerard van Lankveld (1947), who lives in Gemert, a community in the Brabant area in the Netherlands.

Van Lankveld hadn't any formal artistic training. His creative talent has developed in a very personal way. Already at the age of sixteen he began making various kinds of mechanical devices, a creative activity he has continued all his life, making the most wonderful objects.

Young Gerard withdrew into an own world of creativity also in response to the rather hostile treatment he got from other youngsters and adults in the community because he was considered being "different".  By creating his own world, he was able to be a personality in his own way.

In 1976, when he was almost thirty, van Lankveld proclaimed the empire Monera Carkos Vlado.

This realm manifests itself for one part in the objects he created, which are on display in and around his house. The interior has a wonderful collection of all kinds of mechanical objects, instruments, clocks, ornaments etc, all constructed with a lot of ingenuity and creativity.

decorations on top of a clock that remind of
russian-orthodox churches

front of a clock

Outside, van Lankveld has decorated the exterior walls, the roofs and the garden with creative structures and decorative ornaments. There also are some big colourful towers that raise high in the sky

Many of his creations show an affinity with eastern-orthodox architecture and cyrillic orthography.

the tower has been repainted (july 2010)
and will be replaced on the pedestal on the roof

For another part, the empire of Monera, of which van Lankveld is the self-proclaimed emperor, manifests itself through a national flag (with colours expressing various phases of development), currency, poststamps and textual elements inspired by slavic languages.

Gerard van Lankveld with a staff on top of which
are some church like constructions

Some friends of van Lankveld had the honour to be appointed as dignitaries of the empire. So there is a secretary of state of food and drinks (this dignitary authors a nice website in dutch with recipes for excellent meals and info about drinks)

Recognition and expositions

Initally van Lankveld made his creations and constructions just for himself and not with the idea to expose them. In recent years however interest in his work has grown and he has been asked to participate in expositions.

So in 2005 a number of his creations could be seen in the group exposition Verborgen werelden (Hidden worlds) in the dr Guislain museum in Gent (Belgium). A number of his creations are permanently exposed in this belgian museum, which focusses both upon outsider art and the history of psychiatry.

In 2007 the museum 't Oude Slot in Veldhoven (Netherlands) had an exposition of Lankveld's smaller objects.

In the summer of 2008 the Deutsches Architekturmusem, Frankfurt, had an exposition entitled Heterotopia,  that showed works of van Lankveld, together with creations of Willem van Genk, Stefan Häfner, and others (Heterotopia is an expression introduced by Foucault, referring to parallel social worlds).

catalogue of the exposiion, published by Kehrer Verlag

In 2009 Gerard van Lankveld participated in the exposition Backyard Genius in Kemzeke, Belgium organised by the Guislain Museum and the dutch Collectie de Stadshof on the premises of the belgian Verbeke Foundation.

The community of Gemert, where van Lankveld lives, has commissioned him (after a contest) to make a monument to decorate the western entrance of the community. It became the Klaïda, kind of a tower, which was installed in the autumn of 2007. The picture below shows the official ceremonies, just before the creation was completed with a cross on its top.

picture courtesy of Ellen Bouckaert,
more pictures on her website

A dutch foundation, Stichting Monera, presided by Ton Thelen aims to promote and protect Lankveld's creations.

Documentation, more pictures
* Ton Thelen, Ed., Monera Carkos Vlado. Gerard van Lankveld, Gent (Guislain Museum), 2005,  -146 p (on Scribd, articles in dutch and in english, illustrated)
* Website of the Monera Foundation (in dutch)
* Website de Stadshof (dutch outsider art collection)
* Article on SPACES website (2012)
* Pictures (july 2010) in my Flickr photostream
* Pictures of van Lankveld at work by Frank Brouwers, a photographer from Gemert.
* In Outsider Environments Europe Texts an impression by Ukrainian cultural journalists Oleksiy Kachmar and Julia Kysla (summer 2010)
* Video compiled from a dutch TV program 1997 (Youtube, 8'04", uploaded nov 2012 by Arnold Jan Scheer, dutch spoken, no subtitles)

first published march 2010, revised august 2010, june, dec 2012, june 2013, may 2014, jan 2015, jul 2016

Gerard van Lankveld
Monera Carkos Vlado
Gemert, Netherlands
no public visits


  1. I like the first photo especially, looks like something that would be perfect in the Museum of the Absurd...

    Happy Springtime Henk !

  2. Hi Owen, wish you a nice springtime too!

  3. I don´t know what you think dear Henk, but i consider it to be a delightful satire of state and nation burocratic concept. Extroaordinary and nice that there are lot of pictures and material of all kind on it. Wish you as well a great spring!

  4. @ Owen's comment: I replaced the first photo with another one; to see the one Owen is commenting upon, click on the website of the Oude Slot museum (referred to in the post) and there you will find the strange looking machine