Overview participating exhibitions
Of the photographers in The Sequel, Lidwien van de Ven best fits the category of autonomous artist. Her work lies on the line between current events and her free interpretation of them, and is generally shown in the form of very large installations, in an art context. Since the late 1990s Van de Ven has focused on themes involving politics and religion, and since 2000 her work has increasingly been oriented to current developments in society. She poses philosophical questions about the medium of photography, about reality in the internet era, about visibility and invisibility, and about the way in which journalism mediates between reality and the representation of it.
Prior to 2007 Van de Ven had worked for long periods in the Middle East. There she was a witness to the pre-9/11 era, but also to the political and social impact of the Bush administrations' policy in the aftermath of the attack on the Twin Towers. This resulted in the 2007 installation and series ‘document’, which was presented at Documenta 12 in Kassel.
For The Sequel Van de Ven returned to the Middle East, and in particular Cairo, in Egypt, after years of absence. Since the revolution in 2011 radical changes have taken place, and developments are continuing daily, as this is being written. In addition, she worked at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, on the border with Syria, and in Istanbul, just after the outbreak of police violence that began with the intended clearance of Gezi Park. For The Sequel Van de Ven has made a new installation in which she brings together images from these places.
It is primarily street scenes with graffiti that are to be seen in the installation document (II). Since the start of the revolution in 2011 graffiti have played a prominent role in the developments, not only as a means of expression, but also to instruct about the events. As though to create a constantly changing canvas, photos taken from digital sources such as mobile phones, TV and internet are copied onto the walls of the city, along with commentary, to make people aware of what is happening there.
In addition Van de Ven asked the activist Egyptian collective Kazeboon ('Liars') to make a video ‘for foreigners’. Kazeboon produces simple videos of TV and YouTube material that bluntly expose the falsehoods and contradictions in the statements of authorities such as the army or the Muslim Brotherhood, with the intention of explaining things to the population and raising doubts about their incontrovertible values – like trust in the army – and forcing them to think for themselves. The videos are shown in public space in Egypt, generally on a white sheet, using electricity tapped from a street light.
In the video for The Sequel they provide background for the turbulent events since Morsi was deposed by the army, and pose the central question of how to see these developments in the light of democracy.
Like the graffiti and the videos by Kazeboon, Van de Ven's work forms a reflection on what was originally intended with word ‘document’, derived from the Latin ‘docere’: to show, to instruct, or provide evidence.
Lidwien van de Ven (b. Netherlands, 1963) lives and works in Rotterdam and Berlin. Venues where her work has been seen include the Busan Biënnale (South Korea, 2012), Documenta 12 (Germany, 2007), and during the Sydney Biënnale (Australia, 2006). For her photography and installations she has received the prize from the Amsterdam Arts Council, the Charlotte Köhler Prize, the Maria Austria Award, and the French Culture Stipendium.
Lidwien van de Ven is represented by Galerie Paul Andriesse (Amsterdam).
Noorderlicht gratefully thanks Galerie Paul Andriesse for the generous loan of the exhibition ‘document’ by Lidwien van de Ven (2007).