On the eve of Pride Amsterdam, Thursday 26 July, Dutch photographer Sabrina van den Heuvel presented her first male nude series (part of Corpus Dei) at concept store and art gallery X BANK. It is the Dutch premiere of the exhibition after she showed her work at the Nederlands Interuniversitair Kunsthistorisch Instituut in Florence (NIKI) last March.
As a young photographer, Van den Heuvel’s ambition is to develop internationally. Stimulated by Edwin Becker, head curator exhibitions at the Van Gogh Museum, the photographer applied as artist-in-residence at the NIKI in Florence, where she was awarded a position in the autumn of 2017. Becker spontaneously met Van den Heuvel at an opening, saw her work, and was impressed by her original and daring approach. He urged her to do a photo shoot in the beautiful halls of The Mesdag Collection, which ultimately resulted in the Van Gogh Black & White series.
During her stay in Florence, Van den Heuvel was inspired by the nature around Florence and Rome, the remains of classical antiquity in Tivoli and the masterpieces of Caravaggio and Michelangelo, in which the poetry of the latter was also an important source. Here she made her series Corpus Dei which she successfully exhibited at NIKI.
Edwin Becker says about her new work: “Sabrina knows how to surprise the viewer with a subtle technique with beautiful black-gray-white transitions, in which photography almost becomes painting and drawing. Her series Corpus Dei is a series of exciting and challenging compositions, combining her sense of drama with a timeless aesthetic and with characters that really get into your soul. ”
In her first male nude series, Van den Heuvel sought inspiration in a marble sculpture of a “Squatting Youth” (Hermitage, St. Petersburg) attributed to Michelangelo and the poems Michelangelo devoted to God, his love for the young nobleman Tommaso de ‘Cavalieri , the thought of sinful pleasure, the suffering of the soul and religious rapture.
The man who embodies Van den Heuvel Corpus Dei is one of the street-picked models, Jacopo. He plays a leading role in her photo series and combines her fascination for anatomy with a sense of melancholy. He also, posing in the Villa Hadrian in Tivoli, refers to the love between Hadrian and his Eromenos Antinous, a Greek boy of extraordinary beauty, who was even declared to God by Hadrian after his death.
Just like in her penultimate photo project, “Van Gogh Black & White”, emotional themes such as ecstasy, happiness and longing come to the fore in Corpus Dei. The series of photographs, for example, connects visual art, fashion and poetry to a total concept.
The exhibition “Corpus Dei” by Sabrina van den Heuvel can be visited for free from 26 July to 18 September in X BANK, Amsterdam.
1012 VT Amsterdam