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IntroductionLost in Translation
In his Lost in Translation series, artist Len van Brook adopts a new approach, expanding his repertoire as a storyteller. In cinematic style, he juxtaposes sensual female subjects and world-famous metropolises. In doing so, he fashions a captivating interplay between the interior and exterior worlds, which serves as an impressive backdrop for the women in focus. Van Brook skillfully plays with desire. He lures our imagination into the distance, allowing us to experience well-known cityscapes. Simultaneously, he establishes a unique framework in which unexpected encounters become possible. By means of precise lighting techniques and well-composed imagery, his works create a mesmerizing atmosphere that is classic yet contemporary.
Van Brook’s engagement with the viewer is another fascinating aspect of his works. On one hand, the window perspective captures the everlasting momentum of the city, and, on the other, the glimpse at quiet rooms and private interiors creates a sense of intimacy. Viewers become participants in the stories that unfold through meticulous movements and introspective facial expressions. The works emanate an emotional strength generally associated with the icons of contemporary cinematography.
Life in a Nutshelf
Tokens of a life come together on a shelf – books, magazines, pictures, robots, and King Kong. These objects are diverse, but they share something. Someone placed these objects upon the shelf in an unmistakable arrangement. They’re not random, they are a curated selection of objects, each with high personal value. Together, they are like pieces of a puzzle that tell their collector’s story. Photographer Len van Brook dives into the shelf and its expressive characteristics. In his work the shelf becomes the reflection of a person. His photos capture the original arrangements on the shelf from real people. Leaving you to wonder – Who marked the pages in the poetry collection? Who placed King Kong next to the thesaurus? Who filled this colorful, eclectic shelf with such objects?
The expression, “In a nutshell,” is used to describe something that is condensed, summarized, or to the point. Stephen Hawking, for example, summarized the universe in a nutshell in layman’s terms, for people that do not have a doctorate in theoretical physics. Similarly, In Van Brook’s series, he summarizes life, namely, in a nutshelf. The idea is as engaging as it is clever. The shelf, full of personal details, shares the story of its owner's life, their personality, through books, figures, and memorabilia.
For many years, Len van Brook has worked as a photographer, interior designer, and product designer. The concept of using shelves as a setting for a work of art stems from his passion for the personal design of rooms and spaces, which has always been part of his work. For him, making something personal is the "patina of life", it’s what transforms a room of four smooth white walls into something with character.