Roy Villevoye
31 december 1999 I

‘Not moral enough’, were, according to Roy Villevoye the words of director Okwui Enwezor when he rejected his entry for Documenta XI.
This was a hard, but above all incorrect verdict. If there is one artist who takes a moral stand it is Roy Villevoye. Not with the often common, patronizing and politically correct art such the works which filled the halls of Enwezor in Kassel, but with images which are as equally penetrating as they are confusing, images that are testimony of the need to penetrate deeper into reality.
For more than twenty years the artist’s work has been connected to the life of the Asmat people. An indigenous community from the central regions of New Guinea that was only ‘discovered’ during the thirties of the last century. A native race that capture the leap from prehistoric times to our world in one generation. How both worlds and image cultures mirror one another, and how they are intertwined, that is the theme of his work.
In Presents we see three Asmat’s wearing T-shirts that the artist had brought with him, in three primary printer colors, cyan, magenta and yellow. The same colors reappear in the paper sheets in 31 december 1999 I. In both works, the three primary colors emerge in totally different contexts. In the natural world of the Asmat people they represent a mythical world of thought, one in which everything is loaded with meaning. From our, western perspective, they represent abstract metaphysics or otherwise have a purely functional application.

Other works from this artist: