We've never seen monochrome pulled off with so much conviction as in the work of color-blocking chameleons Maurits Giesen and Ilse Leenders. The Netherlands-based photography duo dons disguises that turn them into anonymous twins in their collection "Mimicry".
Leenders and Giesen blend in with each other and their surroundings as if they are a new type of giant chamleon. The works feel rich with narrative although you are left knowing nothing -- you never even see the characters' faces. Kind of like "Where's Waldo" for art nerds, "Mimicry" provides a mix of mystery and beauty in skittle-bright colors. In order to find out more, we asked Leenders some questions about the work:
HP: Do you have characters and stories in mind when you create these scenes?
IL: For "Mimicry" we had the idea that the characters were hiding for something or someone. We came up with all kinds of situations where it was desirable for the characters (are they detectives, smugglers or...?) to blend within their environment. So for each image we had a scenario in mind, but kept it open for the viewers imagination, what kind of characters they are precisely or what they're hiding for.
HP: How alike are you and Maurits in real life?
IL: Physically, we're about the same length, namely ± 6ft tall (not coincidentally the title of one of our series). In "Mimicry" this contributes the unity of these two characters -- psychologically we have a similar kind of humor and share a drive for perfection in our work [and] we love to see and talk about films. We construct our own small film sets and play the leading parts.
HP: What do these works say about our identities in relation to our environments?
IL: In "Mimicry" we show two identical non-descript figures that are related to their environments and to one another not only by the way they move but in what they wear as in well, such that they in no way stand out. Although "Mimicry" is not a comment on the society, you can see it as a amplification of human behavior. Most people will dress up like their friends or those they admire. And when talking to each other people will unconsciously mimic their body-language, like crossing their arms the same way at the same instance. "Mimicry" might be a mode for survival.
HP: How did you decide on the colors?
IL: We used basic colors from color theory as a motive for the "Mimicry" series. The preference for a color depends on its material and function, the infinite numbers of colors existing are a source of inspiration. I found this wonderful book on the traditional colors of Japan and their significance, connotations and associations within Japanese culture. Color and significance are largely culturally intertwined, its interesting for me to see viewers from all over the world relate to the work in very different ways.
Check out the monochrome marvels below, and let us know what you think in the comments section.