Duizer In New York
-Reporting by Allison Baldwin–
Few twenty-four-year-olds have seen as much of the world as Danish-born Monologging.org artist, Casper Ulvskov, known in the art world as “Duizer.” Between adventures hitchhiking in Europe, the United States, and throughout the Middle East, Duizer has created a series of spectacular paintings, drawing praise in the Paris art scene. Fresh from his latest show, “L’écho érotique” The Erotic Echo, the artist recently traveled to New York, where he spent a month working on a book of poems and plotting the next evolution in his painting style. Not surprisingly, the world traveler was right at home in Bushwick, Brooklyn. There, he received free accommodation by promising his host an original oil painting. Duizer’s creative energy is both inspiring and contagious, yet the artist also demands thoughtful responses on the part of his fans. During his visit to New York, Duizer kindly shared reflections on his work and experiences with members of the Monologging.org community.
“Art is starting a debate,” Duizer tells Monologging.org. He hopes his paintings will prompt many questions among viewers and eagerly anticipates a vibrant discussion. “No two people have to agree because, every time you enter a discussion, you find your own meaning, you understand yourself,” Duizer says. “I want people to use their own memories and ideas to interpret what I have done.” If not debate, The Erotic Echo has indeed prompted intrigue.
The exhibition, which appeared at La Manufacture art gallery in Paris, France from Sept. 3-30, included seven paintings that took Duizer five months to create. Each painting presents a silhouette of the female body, composed with red and black oil paints. The questions arising from these images may be vague and open-ended, but Duizer’s provocative style details a profound meditation on the appearance of the female body.
Luckily, Duizer is uniquely comfortable with not having the answers. “I wanted to ask questions about the female body, about how it should look, how it really looks,” Duizer muses. “We used to be such a free society. No one cared about how they looked. Women used to go out with no bras on. Now we care so much about it. Women are seen as symbols of sex. I really wanted to explore how the female body is described.” While the viewer can tell that the drawings are female, Duizer admits that he purposely drew the faces to reflect masculine and feminine qualities.
“I am interested in the idea of opposites,” the artist explains his choice. “You can’t understand something unless you understand its opposite, and men and women are similar but different in the way we interact with each other.” Duizer’s paintings prompt a conversation concerning male and female values. “I think there needs to be a balance in relationships, and eventually, men will start fighting for their values, the way we talk about feminism now.”
Duizer’s paintings deal with the notion of strength. Although the bodies are female, each painting includes distinct details of muscles, a common symbol of toughness. He wants to start a debate around strength and what it means to be strong in today’s society. How and where do we find strength, Duizer wonders. Women are often seen as unfeminine if they are tough, and men are seen as emasculated if they are sensitive. But what if those thoughts were to change? What would society look like? Duizer is particularly interested in this discussion because, as a painter, he considers it deeply important and necessary to be in touch with his feelings. “All of my paintings come from my feelings,” he says. “A man expressing his feelings is beautiful, and I cannot do my art without my feelings. I am always thinking and feeling all of the time.”
Duizer sold each of his seven paintings. “The beauty of creating art is the process, not the result,” he says. He believes the goa he strives toward is the successful release of his questions, but the process is where he learns and grows the most, further developing his technique and discovering new ways to play with forms.
The artist needed rest, hence his visit to New York. “After a show I feel kind of empty,” Duizer says. “When you sell a painting, you never see it again. It’s not like a movie that you can watch again or a song you can play again.” Despite this loss, Duizer always finds renewed inspiration through his travels and among the people he meets along the way. Duizer understands that there is always more to see and more to paint, never taking a moment for granted and instead learning as much as he can from the people who visit his shows. He often learns as much from his conversations with them as he does from the painting process.
“Sometimes I go into a show of mine and don’t say anything,” he says. “I listen to what people have to say about my paintings, and sometimes I think they are very wrong in what they say, but I don’t tell them. We all have different stories, and the beauty is in the process. There is nothing, and then there is everything. I think that is the beauty of being human because we are all different.” As thought provoking as the painters are, Duizer’s character enhances the scene. Anyone who meets him can tell that he has a deep respect for his work and those who take the time to explore and understand the concepts. He appreciates gallery-goers’ patience and firmly believes that good artwork takes time and purpose.
As the artist prepares to return to Paris and begin work on a new collection, he worries that many people he knows are losing touch with nature, and are therefore less accessible through his medium of choice. “I remember living in Denmark,” Duizer says. “Every day I would go over to my neighbor’s house, and I always remember smelling new things. I remember playing in the streets with all of my creative friends; we were the last generation before the Ipad, so we would go outside, feel things with our hands, and this allowed us to learn things in a different way.”
Although the lack of sensory experiences is a definite concern for Duizer, the generational gap is also inspiring his artwork. Perhaps what is unique about the world Duizer has set out to paint is his ability to capture the contrast between shallow expectations and the depths of reality that humans subconsciously experience on a regular basis. In that sense, The Erotic Echo presented a glimpse into the artist’s ambitious mind. Duizer is searching for a thoughtful response and his travels as well as his shows are prompting vibrant conversation.