Monday, May 30, 2011

►Levi van Veluw - The self-landscape portraits

►Levi van Veluw is a multidisciplinary artist, born in 1985 Hoevelaken, the Netherlands where he lives and works.

Levi van Veluw showcase his series 'Landscapes'. This 4-piece series reinterprets the traditional landscape painting, removing plots of grass, clusters of trees, babbling brooks from their intimate 2 dimensional formats and transposing them onto the 3 dimensional contours of his own face. Thus a fresh twist is given to the obsession inherent in the romantic landscape of recreating the world and simultaneously being part of it. The romantic landscape and self-portrait genres are combined as a means of re-examination.

Besides the four landscapes, Levi van Veluw will also present a new video piece, landscape installation and works from two other series of photographs.

Van Veluw's works seemed to function within this conversation; his experiments in obscuring and fundamentally altering his own visage seemed like the logical, humorous, conclusion to prior explorations within examining, and shifting, self-image. Surprisingly, Van Veluw dismisses the heavy conceptual framework of the mask, citing it as merely functioning for "religious" purposes or as "decoration/tradition." In a way, his refusal to acknowledge his relationship to other similar artists is interesting; they become instead private, more ego-driven explorations of himself, like a young child painting his face for the first time and marveling at his own transformation. Perhaps this is fundamentally what introduces humor into the works—we voyeuristically watch Van Veluw make a fool of his face in new and surprising ways, time and time again. 

Levi van Veluw: "The work is created through several combinations of ideas. I started experimenting with portraits a few years ago. After every photo, I analyze the work and discuss with myself what is good and what is not. Therefore it is not really a portrait, but more a series of experiments. Creating the work is a one-man process. It is very important that I make every decision while I am creating the work itself because the process is part of the work. The objects really exist on my head and not through the use of a computer. 

The technical aspect is not as interesting as it looks. It is just what you see. I put the materials on my face with glue and tape, or draw patterns with ballpoints. It takes about 11 hours to create one photo. It has to be done within a time frame of 24 hours, as I can’t go to sleep before removing everything.
It is important for me that everything happened for real. The end result is not only an "end-result", but contains a short creative history. The image contains the process of creating the work itself. In that way the image will be credible. By putting everything in another context, the elements’ values have to be reinterpreted. The image is about the conflicts between the objects associations and their new values. "

"My idea was to create a conflict between the real and the drawn hair. Looking the same but having another function, a conflict between real and unreal, but still being a product of Levi van Veluw."

"The work is a result of this understanding. I noticed that every material around me has a purpose, and the values of a material are connected to its function. The "material transfers" are part of this concept. For example the carpet is part of the idea of reinterpreting and introducing the material and all the associations it has, and so changing all its values."

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