About the Artist
An introduction to the art of Leon Fenster
I see my artworks as a new form of storytelling. They depict the world not chronologically or geographically, but as we remember it in our dreams and imagination: as kalaidescopes of interwoven memories, collided together to form new stories and ideas.
The work is partly rooted in my architectural background. I spent many years in the realm of academic architecture, primarily at the Bartlett School of Architecture, fantasizing about what architecture could be and how we might use it to create built spaces which embody our collective stories. This probably explains my obsession with creating spatial artworks in which the viewer can situate themselves, getting lost and immersed in the world that the particular artwork is depicting. After all, there is an entire world within everything: within one city, within one community, or even within one family. I want to reveal and illuminate each of these worlds.
The other origin for these artworks lies in Asia Pacific. They are fuelled by my decade spent in dense metropolises such as Singapore, Chongqing, Beijing, and Taipei. The density of these places thrilled me. It seemed as though there was some new surprise lurking behind every corner. The street often felt carnivalesque, with so many lives and stories layered on top of one another. My art behaves in much the same way: rich enough that every time you come back to the artwork you can find a new path through it and find new connections. People who have prints of the work on their walls report that each day they discover something new.
This period of my life was also defined by being an outsider - peering into cultures that were based on fundamentally different assumptions to my own, and in which I could never really become an insider, no matter how long I remained there. But being an outsider, of course, allows one to see the magic in the everyday.
Things we might take for granted in our own city can seem wondrous in a new place and become springboards to new frontiers of imagination. If only we could learn to see the world around us as children do. For children, everything is new and holds the possibility of being a joyously imaginative encounter.
Which brings me to the ultimate ambition of my work: rediscovering the joy of seeing the world through a child's eyes. I hope my art can reconnect you with the exquisite naivete and inspirational inquisitiveness of childhood.
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