Twin sisters Liesbeth and Angelique Raeven (*1971, Heerlen, Netherlands; live and work in Amsterdam) began their artistic collaboration under the generic name of L.A. Raeven in 2000. Their work rests on investigations surrounding the notion of “the ideal individual”, which they analyse through videos, drawings, installations and performances. L.A. Raeven study the status of the body and body image within western societies and the inherent social pressures. Adopting a critical attitude towards fashion and media dictates, they defy traditional representations of feminine beauty by integrating the codes of this same society to better lay them bare. Through doing this, a debate vis-a-vis the questions related to ideal body image and its social construction, within various cultural and historical contexts, is set up.
In 2001, for the first time, L.A. Raeven presented a video installation (Wild Zone 1) where they put themselves into the scene with a complex self-portrait inspired by the Deleuze notion of the “social outsider”. Having suffered from eating disorders since their youth, the twins ostentatiously show here their skeletal pale-hued bodies, evoking not only the image of themselves, but also that of today’s society. The extremely thin, preached about by the fashion industry as the ideal individual, such as aspired to, particularly by girls, can lead to health risks. Upsetting and openly provocative, the video has been violently criticised – reactions which prove that the work of L.A. Raeven appreciably touches the times of today. They themselves don’t hesitate in qualifying their work as “aesthetic terrorism”.
Still exploring auto-biographies, L.A. Raeven also have “twinhood” as a theme and the symbiotic or fusional relationship uniting the two sisters. Somewhere between the love and dependency which links them, the search for individuation and differentiation can sometimes be painful. At the same time, their common artistic practice under the name of L.A. Raeven is an affirmed reaction against their identity as twin sisters as well as social stereotypes which identify them as a single being.
The L.A. Raeven – Ideal Individuals retrospective at Casino Luxembourg follows two monographic exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in Arnhem (2010) and at the Museum of Contemporary art in Belgrade (2011), and represents today the most complete display of their work.
The catalogue, L.A. Raeven: Analyse/Research (2010), with texts by Jennifer Allen, Zoran Eric and Mirjam Westen, was co-published by Casino Luxembourg.
Curator: Kevin Muhlen
Exhition: 28 January 2012 — 22 April 2012. Opening: 27 January 2012, 7 p.m.
The exhibition takes place with the generous support of Mondriaan Stichting.
In collaboration with Lycée technique hôtelier Alexis Heck, Diekirch and Lycée Technique de Bonnevoie.