Harlan Levey Projects:
Gallery Gabriel Rolt
My name is Abner Preis, I was born in 1975 and live and work in Amsterdam since 2005. I graduated from Tyler School of Art, Rome, Italy, in 2002 and I received my MFA from the Dutch Art Institute in 2014.
I am a storyteller and I work in multiple media, from drawing to performance, installation, video and photography. The main focus of my stories lay on popular culture and our societies ever changing morality, rules and regulations. I feel that these subjects mirror our society and hold answers to a lot of questions. What is it that we are striving for? What makes us happy? What makes us live our life the way we do? I have written stories about “Stripe the Cat and Spot the Dog” who become best friends by following their masters example, I have written a story about a man who tries to touch the sun, but changes his mind and tries to save the world, I have also written stories about a girl who is extremely shy, and a boy who has an extremely large penis and their great successes , and even a story about how ketchup and French fries helped Zack the mechanic and Zoe the waitress fall in love. To me, a simple story can be a tool to talk about social issues and to develop a dialoge from the “bottom up” through visual and performance art.
There is always is a narrative layer to my creations that allows easy entrance to anyone willing to get involved with the work. I use simple language, both visually and spoken. I try to make language a basic tool that can be easily understood regardless of someone background, and I believe that the reception of the story should ignite a sense of question and hopefully and new observation.
I try to approach an idea from different angles until I find the technique that suits it best. Often this is a combination of media. A video can help to set the atmosphere for an installation, an action can support a drawing and an idea can make a performance.
It is important to me to touch the spectator beyond an admiration of skill, but to provide a new attitude, an image that stays in their head and needs to be dealt with.
One of my favorite artist and inspirations Alejandro Jodorowsky said:
“I want to show the world that it is possible. It's possible to remember your self. To open your mind. To open your heart. To open your creativity. To live with less, but to live well.”
This quote is hanging in my studio and is a constant reference I use to remember the responsibilities I feel as an artist and as a member of society. Many times I work with people who I consider outside of the main stream, I find great inspiration with visiting old people in their retirement homes, hanging out with people with disabilities, and reaching out to the “invisible” and “average” man and woman on the streets. Having made large performances through open calls, I have learned that the potential of a person is infinitely possible, and experiencing the discovery of this potential is a very important part of my work. I love to see what others offer to my stories and I hope that I was able to give them as much.