Q&A: ROY RIETSTAP (FOUNDER & CO-OWNER OF MENDO) ON BEYOND MATTER BY LEVI VAN VELUW
On Saturday 11 May MENDO will welcome Dutch multidisciplinary artist Levi van Veluw to their award-winning store located in the nine-streets of Amsterdam for a book signing session of his latest book titled Beyond Matter. MENDO doesn’t invite everyone to come in and sit down for a session, so what made Van Veluw stand out? We posed 5 questions to the founder and co-owner of MENDO, Roy Rietstap, to find out.
Launch of Beyond Matter – Regular Edition at MENDO
14:30 – 15:30
MENDO, Berenstraat 11
Launch of Beyond Matter – Special Edition at Galerie Ron Mandos
16:00 – 18:00
Galerie Ron Mandos, Prinsengracht 282
Galerie Ron Mandos: Can you tell us about the first time you encountered an artwork by Van Veluw? What kind of impression did the experience leave?
Roy Rietstap: The first time I encountered an artwork by Van Veluw was back in 2010 during his exhibition at Galerie Ron Mandos, on view were his now infamous self-portraits. I remember cycling past Ron Mandos every day and becoming more and more intrigued by the moss-covered man in the gallery window. To this day I regret not adding a self-portrait by Levi to my personal collection.
Galerie Ron Mandos: How important is art to you and for MENDO?
Roy Rietstap: Everything we do at MENDO revolves around images, around art. Image inspires, stimulates, makes people think and even has the ability to make dreams come true.
Galerie Ron Mandos: What was the first thing that came to mind when you walked into the gallery and saw “Beyond Matter” and what kind of impression did the experience leave this time?
Roy Rietstap: I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! I asked myself “are these artworks really made by Van Veluw?!”. Van Veluw continuously manages to inspires himself. Every time he “rediscovers” himself and stimulates us. Then I often think practically: what kind of material is it? What does he want to say? Why? Then I related his art to my own thoughts. What does it tell me? Order or chaos?
Galerie Ron Mandos: What is your favorite work from the Beyond Matter exhibition?
Roy Rietstap: I’ll probably won’t be the only one saying this, but his installation blew me away. The entrance and the hallway towards the blue grotto, the actual grotto, the colors and the silence. For a moment it felt as if I had left earth and had entered a new world.
Galerie Ron Mandos: How would you describe Beyond Matter to people who have not yet seen the exhibition?
Roy Rietstap: I would definitely not describe it, rather advice to go and see (and experience) Beyond Matter for themselves.
Beyond Matter by Levi van Veluw will be on view until Wednesday 22 May, 2019 at Galerie Ron Mandos.
ABOUT Levi van Veluw
Levi van Veluw was born in the city of Hoevelaken in 1985. He lives and works near Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Over the past 15 years, Van Veluw has produced a diverse and evolving oeuvre that is exhibited all around the world. He is known for installations, sculptures, drawings, and autobiographical films that draw from his childhood memories. From the depths of his memory, the artist unearths images that provoke universal emotions and question our human logic. Van Veluw plays with elements of order and chaos, posing to the viewer questions about our obsessive pursuit of control.
Van Veluw creates his works with extreme care and craftsmanship; his sculptures of clay and wood are made entirely by hand, giving them an authentic, coarse, and organic character. His intricately built-up charcoal drawings show great symmetry and harmony, whilst his remarkable use of light evokes a strong, meditative mood. The installations by Van Veluw offer intense and immersive experiences. In the past, he has built complete, though fictional cathedrals – amongst other dark and sensory spaces built of obscure forms and materials. Visitors that enter Van Veluw’s alternate realities become disassociated from their existing spatial interpretations. They experience a disruptive environment where both order and chaos live one amongst the other.
The work of Van Veluw has been exhibited internationally in leading museums and institutions worldwide, such as the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Ars Electronica, Linz; Centro Nacional de las Artes, Mexico City; Design Museum, London; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and Marres House for Contemporary Culture, Maastricht, amongst others. His work is included in both public and private collections, such as the Borusan Collection, Istanbul; Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar; Museum MORE, Gorssel; the KPMG Art Collection, Amstelveen; the Ekard Collection, Wassenaar; the Lakeside Collection, Rotterdam, and Cobra to Contemporary/The Brown Family Collection.
Additionally, Van Veluw has worked on commissions for private clients. Within these commissions he has undertaken many collaborations. In 2012, Van Veluw worked alongside curator Marc Coetzee on the film “Family”, produced as part of the “Films4peace” project. In 2014, working alongside Hermès, Van Veluw created a life-sized site-specific installation for one of their main windows in Shanghai. Van Veluw has also participated in international film festivals, including Addis Foto Fest, Addis Ababa; Afrika Film festival, Leuven; Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, Port of Spain, and West Midlands Human Rights Film Festival, Birmingham.