levi van veluw’s experiential labyrinth questions the relativity of matter 
all images courtesy of levi van veluw




for the past year, dutch artist levi van veluw has been working on ‘the relativity of matter’, an experiential and immersive installation that transplants visitors into an unrecognizable and atmospheric dreamscape. first presented in the netherlands at the marres house for contemporary culture, the labyrinth surrounds viewers in a maze of corridors, doors, and colors that challenge the perception of depth and space. drawn from many of the elements that have populated his previous works, as seen on designboom here, each intimate chamber explores dark themes of fear, loneliness and loss of control, forming a scenographic and surreal landscape that stimulates the senses. 



the relativity of matter
video courtesy of levi van veluw




nine rooms — covering a surface area of 350 square meters — have been constructed out of 5,000 kilos of wood, 150 kilos of paint, more than 200 large partitions, hundreds of shelves, and tens of thousands of balls and handcrafted geometric shapes. ‘making such an installation is far from structured,’ van veluw says. ‘before I started, each idea was about 30% complete. once I began, new things were created and rooms were edited out. for this installation, I spent weeks working on a spherical ball of resin. I saw it as an enigmatic image. in reality, it was no more than a ball of plastic with pieces of wood in it. I’ve rejected that room. in this work, matter should become something different from reality, something new. I look for materials that aren’t immediately recognizable. I don’t want the visitor to think about technique or material, or whether it’s polystyrene or resin with wood.’

tens of thousands of handcrafted geometric shapes were used in the making of the installation 




viewers are asked to form their own fantasies as they meander through the mysterious landscape of hallways and rooms. from the abstract shapes and props placed within each setting, those entering are invited to interpret the substance and significance of the space. ‘I look for visual information that can’t be immediately processed,’ describes the artist. ‘if you see a grid hanging in the void, then you begin to wonder what you’re looking at. this sounds like illusionism, but it isn’t — illusionism is about effect. in the relativity of matter it’s not a question of things floating in the installation. it’s about the feeling of a vacuum that exists because there is no top or bottom. I use the illusion to convey a feeling. it’s about the laws of nature: the ordering of space by breaking the logic of the laws of gravity.’

the scenographic and surreal experience stimulates the senses

visitors are invited to interpret the substance and significance of the space

the labyrinth surrounds viewers in a maze of corridors, doors, and colors

the immersive installation transports visitors to an atmospheric dreamscape

the installation is drawn from many of elements that have populated the artist’s previous works

each intimate chamber explores dark themes of fear, loneliness and loss of control

visitors can form their own fantasies as they meander through the mysterious landscape of hallways and rooms