Villevoye often executes his photos as large computer prints on vinyl, in which the sapphire, yellow and magenta dots which make up the prints create a kind of industrial pointillism. Several of Villevoye's works are both a commentary on, and an alternative for the commercialization of 'identity politics', which is familiar from such media phenomena as Oliviero Toscani's Benetton campaigns: various skin colors are brought together and presented as the 'united colors', devoid of all concrete social, cultural and historical context.
In Villevoye's case, the differences are not so easy to esthetisize and to integrate into the consumer version of 'identity thinking'. The installation Refashion (1999), for example, consists of shirts which have been manhandled by a Papuan tribe known as the Asmat. To Western eyes, the shirts appear dirty and torn, but in this state the Asmat consider them ornaments for the decoration of the body. The Asmat take the Western-style T-shirts and turn them into something that is incompatible with Western clothing norms. As we see in the photograph Presents Ready to Be Given Away (1999), Villevoye exports things from the West to the Asmat tribe. But he also imports things - sculptures - into a Western context, as in Gate, an enormous print depicting an Asmat man with a shield.
In 1999, this work was seen on the facade of the Dom church in Utrecht. The fact that these sculptures make no attempt to deny Villevoye's own presence, but in fact owe their existence to the montage of elements drawn from different cultures, makes them a critical exception within the contemporary visual arts.
Bron: http://www.veem.nl/gebruikers/kunst-kultuur/rvillevoy.html (website van de kunstenaar)
Tekst: Sven Lütticken
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