Vivian Greven (b. 1985) creates paintings that slide in fluidity between representation and abstraction. Bringing up a minimalistic virtuosity of painterly methods and alluring arrangements, her artworks dynamically flirt with body structure, dualism and human existence depicted in serenity and clarity. The key elements of Greven’s paintings are based on a methodical development of an image, executed by adding and removing parts of the final painting result, which characteristically highlights the artist’s intention for seemingly unfinished and uncompleted compositions. Greven’s approach to her painting compositions is largely magnetic, while she aims -or maybe not- to leave the impression of untroubled silhouettes in monumental sensitivity.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
Facial or other bodily figures swift in and out of attention involving a creatively elliptic dimension in her artistry. Negative space in neutral tones additionally contributes to the final painting, underlining the artist’s main composition to be revealed as the main subject for concentration. The German artist’s body of work draws significant inspiration from classic art incorporating a distinctive style of artistic expression on her canvas. Deriving visual elements and motifs from Greco-Roman art, Greven employs her own visual language rendering a contemporary look on established painting or sculptural compositions. There are two characteristic focal points in the artist’s paintings; androgynous figures dominate her work as well as the motif of dualism. Powerful duos in various images make an evident statement while observing her work. 2 Tru (2018), 1 O (2017) or 3 GraziaII (2017) confirm Greven’s attention to the representation of the human relationships. Rendered in ethereal lines and forms along with with pastel colours, the result emphatically enhances the viewer’s attraction.
The intellectual context of the human existence and the artistic emphasis on body parts reinforces Greven’s visual language. Her paintings put an emphasis on the human body; the isolation of particular body parts such as eyes, hands, lips, enables the artist to illuminate a greater visual engagement. The anatomy of the human body usually reveals an erotic potential in relation to her painterly movements or gestures. Whether a figurative or an abstract painting the interlaced bodies successfully disclose further interpretation. For example, “O” (2017) painting depicts the intimate relationship between Amor (Eros) and Psyche. Taking into consideration the aesthetics of the Classical Antiquity, which undeniably offer an ode to human bodies expression, Greven also applies such motifs to her own fresh modern art techniques. Challenging such boundaries, the sensual suspense directly passes from the painting’s surface finding response to the viewer’s mind.
Born in Bonn in 1985, the German artist lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany. In 2015, Greven graduated from the Düsseldorf Art Academy. In 2016 she won the STRABAG Award in Vienna as well as the Setareh Future Masters Art Award in 2015. The artist has exhibited her work in many art galleries in Berlin, Vienna, Düsseldorf, London, Cologne, Stuttgart and Pescara. Her current group exhibition, Dean Eden, is taking place at Lyles & King gallery in New York, US until August 3, 2018.
In her interview with Art Verge, Vivian Greven shares her approach on her abstract art and other art issues, while providing some very interesting insights about her daily life. Check it out!
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Vivian Greven: It is a constant and fluent movement. Receiving, digesting, and creating. All also vice versa. Creating, digesting, and receiving.
AV: How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
VG: Painted Love.
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
AV: Creating a new painting can be a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
VG: Yes, for sure. There are times when I see the sun and the moon only from the window of my studio.
AV: How do you know when an artwork is finished?
VG: It tells me.
AV: What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process?
VG: It’s bright, clean and quite. I need a peaceful place to be as sensible as possible.
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
VG: I visited Anni Albers at the Kunstsammlung NRW.
AV: What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
VG: An idea of contact.
AV: What does your mum think about your art?
VG: She’s proud.
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
AV: Which are your plans for the near future?
VG: I have an exciting upcoming second half of the year…including a solo show at Aurel Scheibler in Berlin, a residency in US and a group show at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. Meanwhile, swimming, sleeping, and singing.