Origin of the Beginning
Depicted in "Family" is a room with 5 persons sitting at a table. These persons are Levi van Veluw and the members of his immediate family: his father, mother, brother and sister. As in certain earlier works, everything, including the whole interior space as well as all family members, is covered with thousands of dark brown wooden blocks.
At first sight, everyone seems to be sitting peacefully at the table, the picture of a perfect family unit. Yet this group of figures is positioned in an abstract environment, unrecognisable and therefore far removed from reality. The awkward silence, dark colours and claustrophobic atmosphere suggest uncomfortable underlying tensions and emotions. The endless repetition of wooden blocks again stands for Van Veluw’s attempts to gain control over his immediate environment, in this case his own position within the family structure.
Origin of the Beginning is a series of installations, photographs and videos in which Levi van Veluw draws from his own childhood memories to thematically and narratively develop his oeuvre of self-portraits. Three rooms are covered with tens of thousands of wooden blocks, balls and wooden slats. Each room is constructed as a life-size installation and is reworked in photographs and videos without the use of digital manipulation.
The works suggest a narrative world behind the portraits. On the one hand these works are a continuation of Van Veluw’s formal approach to self-portraiture, with their preoccupation for materiality, pattern and texture. Yet, at the same time, they are highly personal pieces as well. The repetitive structures seemingly express a ‘horror vacui’ and recall Van Veluw’s youth and his obsessive attempts to gain control over his life by controlling his surroundings. Dimly lit and dark in colour, the overriding tone of these pieces is claustrophobic and sombre, exuding a sense of loneliness.
Art Direction: Steve Walker, Grip: Jan Willem Biemans, Light: Joost Meeuwig, Camera: Camera Rentals, Special Thanks: Noa Verhofstad, Julius van der Vaart & Peter van Der West