Friday, 20 May 2016, 24:00 | midnight

#75: Joep van Liefland

In Video Palace, his ambitious installation series, Joep van Liefland invited us since the end of the 90’s into an intimate universe where one could resist or embrace the filmic appeal. For Videoart at Midnight, with his 43rd edition of Video Place, the artist will put us under a new kind of (de)pressure. Will you endure the claustrophobic fornication with the screen?

Interestingly enough, before the advent of psychoanalysis in the XIXth century depression was understood as “the tightening and compressing process by which a body is lowered by another”. It is such a critical but deserted intimacy that van Liefland explores in his videos. The artist’s body experiments the dense space that isolates him from the world and the various modes of violating it. There is a “total visibility” in van Liefland’s videos that weighs down on us like a total tactility. Through intense close-ups, we are drawn in a joyous orgy with a broccoli, a mass of bowels or some thomy boy mayonnaise. Van Liefland creates a sensual palace where the skin and the eye merge into one and the same blurred horizon.

We find ourselves digging up matter – all sorts of matter. The all-too-common postcard view of the empty Roman Forum and the filthy fresco of guts are made equally uncanny, equally seductive. Yet, the image’s rawness does not allow the gaze to grasp it. With his cameraman Zegar Cools, the artist sometimes makes us dizzy, as the camera greedily lowers on the naked body of Man in Pain like a fly around a piece of shit. In Tiergarten it is rather the screen that loses its transparency; scarred by the simultaneous fast-forwarding and deceleration.

Throughout his video work van Liefland requires us to dive down into a depressed intimacy where the image enters through your pores. The artist unsettles us with the random, the clichés among which we live (America) by making our gaze stoop to the level where its monstrosity shows. It is precisely in those depths that the lone eye loses its distance and the skin begins to touch and be touched, or eat and be eaten. Who knows – perhaps it is the same underworld where our zombies come from. – Jade de Cock de Rameyen

Joep van Liefland presents his Video Palace #43 – Body in Depression:

Dauerwerbung, 8:00 min
Thomy Boy, 2:00 min
The Real Thing, 2:00 min
America, 12:00 min
Flesheaters, 2:00 min
Long Live the Flesh, 2:00 min
Tiergarten, 4:00 min
Major Meat, 2:10 min
Donald Judd Faces of Death, 2:00 min
Men & Depression 1, 2:00 min
The End, 5:00 min
Men& Depression 2, 2:00 min
Men in Pain, 2:00 min
Underworld, 2:00 min
Brocoli Hardcore, 4:00 min
Propaganda, 1:00 min (loop)


Joep van Liefland (b. 1966 in Utrecht, The Netherlands) is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Berlin. His work focuses on the phenomenology of media and their transformation. He is particularly interested in the matter of impermanence and disappearance that are closely connected to the technological progress. Using the example of technology, Joep van Liefland addresses the process of alteration and transformation as well as the universal concepts that underlie the transition from old to new.

Since 2001 he runs together with Maik Schierloh, the legendary art space Autocenter in Berlin where international art positions are presented regularly.

Joep van Liefland’s web site: