Text by Wes Foster, The Pupil Sphere.
‘Depressingly beautiful’ is how one of Roeland Lenoir’s friends describes his images, and it seems an accurate fit. Behind the utopian colour which runs through the images there is a poetry of abstraction. His newest work, No Legs To Ground Us, on the Bottom that Shifts with Every Wave doesn’t so much follow a narrative as instead follow a distant but unmistakeable feeling.
Portraiture is a big part of Roeland’s work and it is this connection to the subject when making the image that is most striking about it. When making work he has a consideration first, for empathy in the image and trying to think about the subject, rather than just making images around it. As a general rule, the conceptual aspect of his work focuses on giving the viewer power, and putting images in a place which allows them to be read by the viewer however they may choose. As much as when making portraits the subject is initially directed to a position, or way to sit (usually dictated by the natural lighting which the images revel in) once they are in that place Roeland allows them to express themselves. At points, this means a newer uncomfortable silence as he doesn’t instruct them on how to look, but instead allows them to relax into themselves and a natural state.
Roeland’s work has always played with the idea of narrative and control in the image - the book before this, Wij zijn geen wij zoals zij zij zij roughly translating from Dutch as We are not us like they are them plays directly with how images interact with one another through the repetition and placement of images. This starkly introduced the idea of context, and the manipulation of the viewer that takes place in the design of images being linked together. Suddenly, the image is not simply an image we have control of - the subtileness has gone, and is replaced by a very direct means of communication.
In ‘No Legs to Ground Us’ this is replaced by having two identical books together. Through this, the playful nature of the viewer is encouraged. Ideally, both are meant to be sat next to one another, and the viewer can then put together any combination of images, creating their own narrative. This is limited of course to the images provided, but gives the viewer the space to really explore the project and the images in a way which otherwise is very presented, and limits involvement by the viewer.
- 'Spolighted Artist' selected by Pupil Sphere.
- Online Graduates Showcase by Pupil Sphere.
- HKU Exposure x Fotodok.
- Graduates Showcase by Pupil Sphere.
- White Rope Music
- Thomas Headon
- RISK studententheater
- David Chipperfields Architects
- The British Royal Air Force
- The Royal Academy of the Arts
Photo by: Lewis Khan.