Representing Liv Liberg
To celebrate our new partnership with Dutch Artist, Liv Liberg we have put together a special interview in which we get to know her a little bit more intimately. If you are curious to know more about her work, her creative process and why she chose the Madé van Krimpen Gallery to represent her, please read on….
Liv’s photography is a testimony to the existence of ‘The Innocent Eye’ and the powerful role that culture plays in shaping human creativity and tastes. Best known for her photographic series ‘Sister Sister’ and her book of prints which was more recently published by APE and shortlisted for Prix du livre d’Auteur 2021. Starting at the tender age of 10 and continuing until today, Liv has taken hundreds of photographs documenting her and her sister Britts' journey into adulthood. As a gallery, we love artists like Liv who have a strong sense of identity but who are open and have the potential to grow in all and any direction. We have enjoyed working with her so far and we look forward to seeing what the future holds. For anyone interested in seeing how this relationship unfolds, this interview is a great place to start.
What have you been up to since your first show held in June 2021, at the gallery?
Liv: A lot! Since the show and the book were published by APE just before that I have created a lot of new work, mostly fashion related. Some projects with my sister and now developing into models and other women, for magazines and commercial clients. It has been very busy but also great to meet so many new people and collaborate and travel.
How has your artistic practice developed over the past year?
Liv: Since a lot of people from the fashion industry seemed to have jumped on the project ‘Sister Sister’, I have allowed myself to dive into this side and it has been quite a whirlwind experience. I never thought that I could share something so personal and close to me on such a global level with other talented creatives, and even practice it within commissioned work. I feel very lucky to make my work in both an artistic and commercial situation. Making the book has taught me a lot about how my practice works for me, and I would like to continue this in the years to come, combining it with fashion commissions. The two sides seem like the same thing, the fashion work just being faster pace. I have gained much more confidence in my work because of the interest and trust others give me to create it.
How would you describe the work you make? In which category if any?
Liv: I don’t know which category if there is any. It’s fashion, a portrait, and art, I photograph new work but also use archive work (for the book). I think it is about performing and women and dressing up and this gaze that I seem to have had already when I was very young. I try to make work that is modern and fresh but also feels a bit off and playful.
What do you like about working with the gallery /what attracted you to go with us to represent you?
Liv: I think for me it is important to be represented both in the fashion world and in the art world because even though they are coming together so often nowadays, they still use different ways to showcase work and different ways of selling work. I think Madé represents something modern, young and fresh, and is not scared or too traditional to mix up disciplines and take a bit of a peak in other industries. I feel like my work can here be just what it is, and I like that.
What new things do you hope to achieve with the gallery?
Liv: Create unexpected exhibitions and ideas together, and trust Madé to have a new vision within this, something maybe I could not bring to the table myself. I am excited because we are both still growing a lot. I hope she can help me with the more artistic side of my practice and have my back in this part of my work (and take it places!).
Your work feels very theatrical and you address the connections between fashion and performance. Can you tell us how you've developed these theatrics over time? Did they develop organically or was it a conscious decision?
Liv: My sister and I have always done a lot of ballet (she professionally), singing, making music and performing when we were young, our parents are both in art and music, so this felt very natural. We would always make clothes, host fashion shows, direct plays and start modelling agencies in our hometown; in a way I think I wanted to mimic fashion photography and was trying to find all the tools to create this low key, but it felt very serious even then. My sister next to that is a trained performer and gives a lot of that to the work we create together. Her power and talent for dancing and acting bring a lot, and this is combined with my strong sense for directing a specific look or pose that I like; a certain woman that I have in mind for the character she is playing.
Your images depict the strong bond between two sisters, coming of age from childhood together. I am interested to know if they have a healing function or if you find it therapeutic to capture images of people close to you?
Liv: Healing! I am not so sure, it for sure created a strong relationship between me and my sister, in a sometimes intense way. In a way, it also created something so close that now that the work is out in the world it is sometimes too much for the both of us, too personal. She gave a lot to the work but in the end, it is in a way mine, which can create tension. Luckily we are super honest and loving so we talk through these things and help each other. I think capturing family can be a strong tool to be close to someone, especially when you realise that you can also lose someone just like that.
In what way, would you say different seasons influence the type of image?
Liv: They don’t really, I just photograph all year through; when it’s cold when it’s hot, we stay inside, we go outside, it doesn’t matter, the image will still be made. I think the continuous motivation to just keep photographing has always been important to me and still helps me to keep making work. Of course, the weather influences the light, but I have always worked with whatever was given in the situation.
I feel as though the poses and countenances you choose are nuanced and often can sometimes seem mysterious. How do they reflect your identities and the changes that occur as you age? Did your relationship with your body change as a result of taking the photographs?
Liv: I am not sure anything changed with my body, the work goes through me, but there is a reason I am behind the camera and not in front of it. I am watching, looking, directing, hiding in a way, but also being present while creating these characters in front of me. I am not showing my body, posing, or performing myself. I think the beauty combined with awkwardness in my work and how the women I photograph come across is something I like to play with. The importance of me interacting with the model is important but other than that it is not about me.
What would you say your work reveals about your identity as an artist?
Liv: I would say I am rigorous, play-full, speedy, serious and spontaneous at the same time, those words could mean something. But if I could understand and define exactly what my work means and why and how this makes me who I am, I don’t think I would have become an artist in the first place. I think just discovering it while making work continuously is more important than fully understanding why. (I can leave that to the art critics :))
We would like to thank Liv for taking the time to answer our questions and for sharing some of her thoughts and her experiences with us. Her journey has been unique and intriguing, we were drawn to work because it was initially created out of a private need for self-expression and play but has now developed into something beautiful and relatable to many. As a gallery, we want people to engage with art that is playful, authentic and that comes from a place of integrity, all of which Liv has to offer in bundles. We hope that we can create an environment that gives her the space to grow and evolve without losing her creative identity and freedom.
Stay tuned for more exclusive features from both Liv and other artists…
Interviewer/writer Emma Smit
Writer/ Editor Salma Ali