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Arts graduate reinvents the self portrait by smashing the past

PUBLISHED: 12:24 03 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:24 03 September 2018

Doron Beuns, visual artist at Norwich University of the Arts. PHOTO: Victoria Pertusa

Doron Beuns, visual artist at Norwich University of the Arts. PHOTO: Victoria Pertusa

Archant

As this year’s Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) Masters Show gets underway, one artist has been pushing the boundaries of the self portrait.

Doron Beuns, a 24-year-old from Amsterdam, started by asking people to smash up his works of art, and for permission to smash up theirs.

Then, he made a life size mold of his head and upper torso, and encased the broken belongings inside.

This was just the beginning.

Mr Beuns, a Fine Arts graduate, has put his self-portrait bust alongside a video depicting the destruction in a small booth at the NUA exhibition which visitors can enter.

Art by Doron Beuns, visual artist at Norwich University of the Arts. PHOTO: Victoria PertusaArt by Doron Beuns, visual artist at Norwich University of the Arts. PHOTO: Victoria Pertusa

When doing so, visitors will be forced to tread on dozens of small self portraits lining the floor, featuring Mr Beuns grimacing face printed on highly destructible material that will gradually wear away.

On this surface are aluminium casts of Mr Buen and his girlfriend’s underwear.

The Norwich resident said: “It’s a piece of self portraiture that does not represent me but my relationship to others.

“The bust sculpture is a mixture of candle wax and the broken works of art from other people and myself that I smashed up.”

A self portrait made by Doron Beuns, visual artist at Norwich University of the Arts. PHOTO: Victoria PertusaA self portrait made by Doron Beuns, visual artist at Norwich University of the Arts. PHOTO: Victoria Pertusa

Paul Hill, head of communications at NUA, said: “One of the most eye-catching pieces in the whole show is Doron’s head. For someone who is ubiquitous in the show this is a remarkable humble man.”

Mr Beuns said: “I have to remain humble because the work is about myself and you could be accused of narcissism but it’s not about that, it’s a really ontological exploration of the self.

“These are the rejected pieces of my art and other artists. I went around other studios and said do you have anything you want to get rid of, break free from, literally break free from and assert yourself in the present.

“I helped people out a little bit, it’s a kind of service.

Self portraits by Doron Beuns, visual artist at Norwich University of the Arts. PHOTO: Victoria PertusaSelf portraits by Doron Beuns, visual artist at Norwich University of the Arts. PHOTO: Victoria Pertusa

“This was a very complex process of mold making. I took a mold of my face and head, and one of my chest piece, and put them together, cast it in plaster and reworked it.

“I used paraffin wax, what we use when we light candles to commemorate the past. In a way it’s mourning what’s happening in the video.”

The NUA MA Show is on until September 5 in Guntons Building, St Georges Street, Norwich.

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