Monday, March 01, 2010

Landscape on the face of Levi Van Veluw

As you can see, the latest edition of Crafts features a man with a landscape on his head.  This is Dutch artist Levi Van Veluw's Landscape I (2008), one of three works he has in the New York Museum of Art and Design's forthcoming exhibition Dead or AliveVan Veluw's website includes three others (corresponding to the other seasons) and describes the rationale for his Landscapes series: '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.'

Van Veluw covers his face in modeling scenery of the kind used for making train sets; no surprise then to see a small train makes its way through a landscape in this video clip.  It made me think that he could transform his head into a live metaphysical painting, with facial features standing in for the enigmatic objects in the foreground of a De Chirico like Ariadne (1913).  Now I think of it there are lots of far fetched possibilities for Landscape-Head series from the history of art - Monet's variations on the same view (something like Roni Horn's You are the Weather), a Salvator Rosa face contrasted to a Claude, Altdorfer's early independent landscapes recreated and re-connected to the figure.  Imposing landscapes on other people's heads would recall eighteenth century landscape parks or idealised views of colonised territory. Or perhaps something exploring landscape and desire, recalling the words of Deleuze and Guattari: "all faces envelop an unknown, unexplored landscape; all landscapes are populated by a loved or dreamed-of face."

1 comment:

Plinius said...

Postscript: You can see another body landscape at Pruned, here.