The Head, the Torso, the Legs and the Feet - Nina van de Ven
The Head, the Torso, the Legs and the Feet
14 x 20 cm
First Edition 2021
In her work, Nina van de Ven creates a personal universe grounded in the power of visual storytelling. She takes inspiration from iconography that covers the span of human civilization. The objects, motifs and symbols she combines in her drawings are taken from a variety of sources: historical, occult or everyday, and are packed with references, both to history and to pop culture.
‘Cadavre exquis’ is a game in which each participant takes turns to draw on a sheet of paper. After their turn, the player folds the paper to conceal what they’ve drawn, leaving only the lower part visible. The rest of the drawing is hidden from the next player, who picks up where the previous player left off. It is a method in which a composition is created collectively, unseen. The game can also be played with words or by creating collages.
This technique was invented around 1925 in Paris by the Surrealist artists and poets Yves Tanguy, André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Benjamin Péret and Jacques Prévert. The name is derived from a phrase that arose when they played the game: “Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau.” (“The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine.”)
Nina made the drawings in this zine by playing the game by herself. She drew the heads on the first day. On day two, by folding the sketches accordion-style and securing them with a paper clip, she was able to shuffle through all the individual sheets, and draw the first body without knowing which head was drawn on the topmost strip. Nina began using this technique when she wasn’t entirely sure which project to focus on. In the end the game, which started out as a pastime, turned into a project called The head, the torso, the legs and the feet. In the bizarre, hallucinatory compositions, drawn in ink and watercolor, many of the artist’s interests intermingle. (Translation: Lisa Holden)