Christiaan Lieverse


Christiaan Lieverse was born in Utrecht in 1971. Even as a child he loved to draw and paint, and he was inspired by his father, who was an artist. Although he did not at first decide to become an artist himself, he never lost his love for the profession and continued to wield the brush in his spare time. As the art world clearly became more interested in his work, he decided to become an autonomous artist.

The principal theme in Christiaan Lieverse’s oeuvre is the individual human identity compared to globalisation, generalisation and genetic manipulation. In several series he places the human face at the centre point, determining its identity by applying various painterly manipulations. For example, the portraits in the Rug Paintings series are painted on Persian rugs. The patterns in the rug help to shape the character’s skin. The many layers of these works result from the interaction of the paint Lieverse uses with the rug’s material.

In the Wallflowers series, the young women, initially photographed, show reflective facial expressions that are given an extra dimension by applying a filter of floral wallpaper. On the one hand, it makes the portraits more like drawings, but on the other hand it evokes a certain separation between the introverted atmosphere of the characters and the outside world.

In the Project Hybrids series, Lieverse fuses man with animal. Lieverse work the mythological motif of, for example, centaurs and sphinxes into large female heads which have animal characteristics. With the entirely symmetrical representation of the heads, he ‘dehumanizes’ the figures even further.

The idea of transition and of perfection versus imperfection, which Lieverse wants to reflect in his work, was borrowed by the painter from the Japanese aesthetics called Wabi Sabi. It teaches that beauty is imperfect, incomplete and transitory. The painter shows this among other things by his use of various structures and materials.