2018 #38


by Gabriel Lester

Selected by
Galerie Fons Welters,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Woman Staring

Selected by Galerie Fons Welters,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

After discovering the transformative effect of a theatrical device called a Cucoloris, Gabriel illuminates old works of art, appropriating them beyond their original forms.

Unseen Platform: Can you tell us about your new Cucoloris project?

Gabriel Lester: Cucoloris is an installation and a photographic work that adds a dramatic layer to an existing painting. Mostly this work is about seduction and perception; we are guided by light to observe a reimagined face. It’s a remix of sorts. Something common to my work and to our time is to appropriate existing works of art and add something to them, creating a new composition.

What is the role of the Cucoloris itself, and what is its importance?

In my work the cucoloris is a device that literally casts new light onto an old work of art. Because the cucoloris is traditionally used to create an atmospheric setting, it is also a conceptual act; to use the cucoloris in reverse order as an added layer. It also invites the viewer to negotiate what is seen; to perceive a composition of light, the composition of a painting and both at once.

The intersection of different media is a common theme within your process. Is this idea critical to your work?

A lot of my work borrows from cinema and theatre. These media are composed of a variety of art forms, as is my practice. We live in a world of multimedia and simultaneities, where nothing is singular and elements are always interconnected. I am interested in how a combination of elements lead to new suggestions and new forms. In my work I don’t seek to resolve anything, but rather to reinvent life and to reveal or create mysteries.

Cucoloris feels decidedly sculptural. Was this a conscious choice?

It is deliberately sculptural, as are my films where the narrative is secondary to the architecture of the composition. I’m especially attracted to material mechanisms that constitute abstracted narratives and visual illusions – and the cucoloris is one of them.

What is the painting in this piece and what importance does it have?

This is a painting from a discarded museum collection that was reinvigorated for an exhibition in Amsterdam. I have now added a collection of new works with portraits I inherited from my grandfather. I grew up with these paintings, so I liked working with them and seeing them at play with different light. In this way, I feel they invited my intervention.

Read more (1 min read)

Girl Staring

Girl Staring

Gabriel Lester

Amsterdam, NL

Lester Gabriel RM12

Gabriel Lester

Amsterdam, NL

Seldom focusing on a single defined message or idea, Gabriel Lester’s (b. 1972, the Netherlands) work is all-encompassing. Inventor, architect, sculptor, performer, musician and poet, Lester is able to work across a seemingly limitless number of mediums. Using ever more diverse methods and materials, from metal stencils and light projections to mannequin arms and giant, hollow tunnels, his three-dimensional constructions transform space. As each project unfolds, he finds a new stimulus for his next body of work. Drawing on the vocabulary of cinema, he weaves narratives which propose different ways of relating to the world and flexing the mind.

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