Levi Van Veluw’s eerie Origin Of The Beginning installation draws from his own childhood memories to thematically and narratively develop his own brand of self-portraiture. Creating 3 “rooms” covered with more than 30,000 wooden blocks, balls and slats the spaces feel both like wooden prison cells and as metaphosr for the artists darkest memories. Watch a video of the installation after the jump.
Upon first viewing Levi Van Veluw’s photography, my mind immediately drew parallels to the resurgence in the interest in the mask, and film-inspired disguise in contemporary photography, ranging from Gillian Wearing’s diaristic and macabre facial effigies of sorts, to Hanna Liden’s gothic black metal inclinations, or even Cindy Sherman’s self-portraiture. 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.