Steve Viezens – Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
Born 1981 in Chemnitz, Germany
Steve Viezens is not afraid of breaking taboos. He walks the borderline between painting and parody, a Helge Schneider of the young Leipzig scene. His light-hearted punch-lines provoke the serious connoisseur: Is it suitable to laugh at paintings? Viezens seems to be aiming for the ridiculous. He is taking a risk: if you come across as too entertaining, you are running danger of not to being taken serious. The painter plays the clown, puts on a cardboard nose, dresses up Tischbein's Italian Goethe as a harlequin and puts Watteau's Gilles on stage. Watteau's Comedia dell' Arte character's appearance is probably no accident in this context: it is a figure that Viezens is likely to identify with.
However, he places a heavy build hippopotamus skull on his shoulder, the gaping mouth in opposition to the inward look on Watteau's tragic hero's face. This is a celebration of nonsense and reversal. In Viezens paintings the features of the world are grotesquely distorted. Viezens takes from the stocks of art history, picking up poses and physiognomies by Holbein, Velasquez and Van Dyk, but the same time he also uses, paints over and alienates magazines artworks with the Nonchalance of a Jeff Koons.