#Levi van Veluw
August 17, 2023
Combining translucent polymer clay with saturated pigments or carving delicate ridges from tulipwood, Levi van Veluw constructs enigmatic, immersive narratives. The Dutch artist has been fascinated by symbols and rituals since childhood, spurred by an upbringing in a religious household. The complexity and conviction of faith and “the stark visual language of its practice made him sensitive to the visual vernacular of religious seduction,” reads a statement for the artist’s series Beyond Matter.
Memory, architecture, and storytelling manifests in Beyond Matter through the portrayal of naves or chapel-like spaces, altars, and mandalas redolent of rose windows. Geometry and repetition interact with light and shadow in meditative patterns, exploring the parallels of spiritual experience and viewing art. Van Veluw prompts questions about what and how we see and our role in completing the picture.
In another body of work, In the depths of memory, van Veluw explores portraiture and interactions between figures in a series of framed reliefs that echo movie stills or storyboard frames. And an immersive room stacked top-to-bottom with identical portraits invites viewers to stand in the center of a mysterious chamber. Mirrors on the floor and ceiling reflect the walls and one another, giving the impression of a space that is both confined and infinite. The artist leaves its interpretation open: Are you in a studio? A fever dream? Inside the artist’s mind?
Van Veluw’s uses portals, windows, and the power of the gaze to invite us into the narrative. “In between,” for example, depicts an unhappy family in a car, viewed straight-on through the windshield. In “Dinner,” an argument has been interrupted, and one subject turns around in his seat to face outward in frustration. “Stared at by piercing gazes, you are made complicit in a situation that unfolds before your eyes,” says a statement. “You are being looked at, but, in a way, you are also looking at yourself from the outside.”
An acquisition of van Veluw’s piece “Planetary Chapel” by the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam is scheduled to go on view soon, and he is currently preparing solo exhibitions for the Singer Museum in Laren, The Netherlands, and Les Filles du Calvaire in Paris. The artist is represented by Galerie Ron Mandos, and you can explore his work in much more detail on his website. He also shares updates and amazing process videos on Instagram.
#Levi van Veluw
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