Y.O.W.I. ( ‘You Order, We Ignore’) is a collaboration between two artists from Tilburg, Ivo van Leeuwen and S. Lloyd Trumpstein. Their work consists of paintings, numerous publications in a wide range of periodicals and books, performances and the grown-up graphic novel Ontsnapt aan de vrijheid (‘Escaped From Freedom’). The duo also collaborate with other artists, amongst them Jeroen de Leijer and Gummbah, with whom Y.O.W.I have produced a succession of absurdist magazines, some of them self-published. Examples of the magazine titles are De bedenkelijk kijkende grondeekhoorn (‘The Dubious-Looking Ground Squirrel’) and Frietkaas (‘Chipcheese’) – the latter being a cross-border magazine in which Belgian and Dutch artists collaborate. In the Van Abbemuseum library exhibition, Y.O.W.I. will show a selection from their past work together with new publications, graphics and paintings.
The work of Ivo van Leeuwen (1969) draws on a motley range of techniques. He makes paintings, linocuts, posters, cartoons and comic strips, as well as giving performances. Oddly, it is this very diversity that places him in a unique position at a point where the best of these disciplines overlap. Van Leeuwen goes in search of new ideas and comes up with surprising solutions, in which he is happy to rub shoulders with bad taste, and scorns conventions. He exposes the petty, everyday drama of human existence in striking images loaded with wry humour. The absurd developments in the images and text confront us with apparently banal events which seem to gain a deeper meaning when exposed in a new light. Full of colour, and drawn in a quick hand with an eye for detail, ingredients like these form the building blocks of Van Leeuwen’s universe.
Who is S. Lloyd Trumpstein (Stephan de Weert, 1969)? The key to that answer may perhaps be found in his work, the hallmarks of which are thematic diversity using a wide range of expressive means and angles. Besides his applied work (such as cartoons), which is full of sardonic humour, he shows an interest in formal painting in the form of abstract patterns and anthropomorphic animals. He is also fascinated by the beauty of the unintended ugliness of Flemish architecture, which is particularly prominent in the book Ontsnapt aan de vrijheid that he co-authored with Ivo van Leeuwen. In his books – which he regards as ‘paper vehicles of graphic freedom’ – S. Lloyd Trumpstein grants himself and other artists a platform for expressing their incongruous outlook on reality.