Working reflexively on how the art system likes to construct and foreground the biography of artists in relation to their artworks, Liesbeth Doms uses this as the impetus for her artistic practice. The subjects of persona, biography and artistic genealogy are pointless burdens that Doms playfully and humorously turns into conceptually useful veils for herself. Biographies tend to be particularly emphasised for ‘young’ artists as well as those from the non-western world, as there is a desire to locate them socio-culturally as individuals, as well as within an art historical lineage. Doms constructs different means and situations for displaying temporary biographies to hide behind that are at once credible alternatives and even seductive, yet border on the absurd.
As its title suggests, this installation is the result of a collaboration between Doms and the professional aura reader Bart Vanwynsberghe translating a reading of the artist’s aura into a display of coloured light. On various occasions the colours change, based on new readings of the artist’s aura at any one moment. The light fills the space yet it also remains empty, suggesting the inadequate anecdotal nature of biographies, questioning the desire and false necessity to make connections between the biography and content of an artist’s work.
CAMOUFLAGED AS A CONCEPTUAL WORK OF ART
Doms has produced a product that would give every existing artwork the veil of conceptualism, literally. Reflecting on the teaching of art and its history, and the burden of expectation for artists today to follow in the lineage of modern and conceptual art, Doms has used images of key historical conceptual artworks from renowned books on the subject, and appropriated their colours to produce a stealth camouflage patterned fabric. The fabric can be used to cover any artwork to give it a more acceptable public face, whilst freeing the artist to make the kind of artwork he or she desires, free of the burdens of expectation and history. (NH)