Deep within your memory, hidden somewhere in the crevices of your brain, are stored the most important memories that have shaped you as a human being. No clear pictures as in photos or videos, but a mixture of sensory experiences. The pungent smell of a packed crowd, the oppressive silence during an unpleasant visit, the cracking of a voice, the intense gaze of a passing person.
Levi van Veluw has over the past year worked uninterruptedly on a new body of works. Using whimsical lines crafted from tulip wood, he has created sculptural blueprints of his never-before-depicted memories. Like a seismograph recording lost brainwaves, he arranges the wooden lines into a gripping staging.
As a visitor, you are actively drawn into the presentation through the eyes of the artist. Sometimes you are a spectator, at other times you become the main character. In one work, you disrupt a family dinner, in another sculpture you witness a struggle. Stared at by piercing gazes, you are made complicit in a situation that unfolds before your eyes. You are being looked at but, in a way, you are also looking at yourself from an external perspective. It is the uncanny sensation of dreams in which you watch your own actions while hovering above your own body. The remnants of almost-forgotten moments captured in a concise manner.
In addition to wall sculptures, van Veluw also created a spatial installation and a film. The circular space has a prison-like feel to it, offering no means of escape. On the walls of the cylindrical room are endless cupboards filled from top to bottom with hundreds of heads. Is this a depot, a studio you find yourself in? Or are you inside the artist’s brain?
In the film, we see the artist, caught in a neurotic work-frenzy, modelling his own head in clay over and over again. As if in a feverish dream, he tries desperately to fill all the shelves in the cupboards behind him. Every time he thinks he has filled the last shelf, a new block of clay is already waiting for him and the process starts all over again. It is reminiscent of the myth of Sisyphus, in which the protagonist is condemned to constantly push a boulder up to the top of a hill, only for it to roll back to the bottom. Like Sisyphus, van Veluw is literally caught in the obsessive repetition of his creative urge. The creation of his own effigy is a quest for eternal youth or an impossible pursuit of immortality — an ambition that underlies every artist’s work.