in his solo exhibition ‘origin of the beginning’, dutch artist levi van veluw makes use of 30,000 wooden blocks, balls, and slats to blanket three rooms that recall his childhood bedroom. the life-size installations are accompanied by photographs and videos that not only bring literally to life the current installation, but also draw up the artist’s often-sombre memories of youth.
known for his self-portraits which involve the layering of diverse materials onto his head, van veluw creates in this exhibition an entire narrative framework, without neglecting his emphasis on materiality, texture, and aesthetic. the first of the three rooms contains a desk, a table lamp, and a bookcase, with a figure seated at the table. the table’s edge is burnt, a reference to van veluw’s childhood obsession with fire; and one of the video pieces of the exhibition recreates within the room this very act. nothing in the piece is left uncovered by 14,000 16-sq.centimeter wooden blocks, each handmade and individually glued upon the walls, ceiling, figure, and furniture. the other two rooms of the installation interpret other aspects of van veluw’s boyhood bedroom, blanketed in wooden slats and small wooden balls respectively.
van veluw notes in his description of the exhibition that between the ages of eight and 14 he spent many solitary hours in his bedroom; and the dark gradients of the blocks, coupled with the precise but imperfect rhythm of the repetition, lends a strikingly personal and melancholic feel to the three-dimensional portraits. the gallery description of the works suggests:
‘the repetitive structures seemingly express a ‘horrorvacui’ and recall van veluw the youth and his obsessive attempts to gain control
on his life by gaining control of his surroundings. dimly lit and dark in colour, the overriding tone of these pieces is claustrophobic
and sombre, exuding a sense of loneliness.’