Indepth Arts News: |
"Jan van Leeuwen"
2000-10-19 until 2000-12-02
New York, NY,
USA United States of America
Gallery 24 is pleased to announce an exhibition of Cyanotypes and Van Dyke
Kallitypes by Dutch artist Jan van
Leeuwen.Van Leeuwen works almost exclusively in alternative, 19th-century
photographic processes, including the brown-toned
Van Dyke Kallitype and blue-toned Cyanotype, which was developed by Sir John
Herschel in 1840, but is now most
commonly used to create blueprints. Rare among contemporary photographers,
these historical processes enable van
Leeuwens work to span the centuries technically as well as thematically.
Born in 1932, van Leeuwen endured, from the ages of 8 to 12, the Nazi
occupation of Amsterdam. Images of his
classmates being taken from school and neighbors being apprehended on the
street left van Leeuwen wrought with a
tremendous mix of confusion, sadness, anger, and guilt for surviving the war
because he was not Jewish. More than
a half-century later, these themes saturate his work.
The series of Cyanotypes entitled Self -Portraits were first recognized as
images of war by Dr. Thorsten Rodiek,
Director of the Museum of Cultural History in Osnabruck, Germany. The
expressions and quality of light in each
portrait recall the flashes of light cast by an exploding bomb. In each
arresting image, van Leeuwens face serves as a
canvas on which his emotions erupt. Here, the Cyanotypes blue tones
effectively suggest melancholy and mourning,
reminding viewers of the devastating effects of war on children.
In the Barbed Wire suite, van Leeuwen is again the model, but these images
are not self-portraits. The sequence of
phantom-like figures unfolds behind a single line of barbed wire,
representing the profound suffering of those whose
noses pressed against the fence. Thus, the images not only function as a
memorial to Holocaust victims but also
serve as a powerful warning against discrimination, a lesson as relevant
today as it was a half-century ago.
Whereas van Leeuwens Self-Portraits and Barbed Wire series might best be
described as an emotionally raw style of
portraiture, his Still-Life suite represents a serene but related tangent:
Because I mainly work in the intimate enclosure of my studio, the
step from self-portraits to still
lifes was a very short one. My most important subjects in still
lifes are single flowers--in fact I make
portraits of these flowers, and as every portrait contains elements
of the self of its maker, my flower
portraits have a strong connection to the portraits and images of
myself. Whereas I regard my
self-portraits as part of the contemporary art scene, I see my still
lifes as part of a long Dutch
Van Leeuwens images thus pause at the crossroads of the traditional and the
contemporary, the precise and the
nebulous, the sacred and the profane.
Jan van Leeuwen is an internationally exhibited artist, and his work appears
in museums around the world, including
the Musée National dart Moderne, Paris; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston;
the Cleveland Museum of Art; the
Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the
Museum of Dutch Photography,
Sittard, Holland; the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin; the Musée de la
Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium; and
the Holocaust Museum, Houston. Gallery 24 is pleased to present van
Leeuwens first solo exhibition in New York.
For more information, please contact Yossi Milo at 212.414.0370
or visit the gallerys web site at www.gallery24nyc.com.