Philip Lüschen (NL)
Visual artist / Scenographer
vagueing human-constructed environments through multi-disciplinary work
Philip Lüschen (1983, Maastricht) is a visual artist and scenographer. He earned a bachelor's degree in design at the Design Academy Eindhoven and completed his research master's in Scenography at the University of the Arts Utrecht (HKU).
Lüschen's work reflects his ambiguous relationship with the built environment. He observes how city planners script our experiences and how the imperatives of public space transform our bodies into objects of discipline. Sedated by such confinement, Lüschen longs for embodied experiences and unfathomable confrontations. He explores public space, on the hunt for supernatural situations, superhuman dimensions, tactile textures and 'terrain vague' – liminal places characterised by unpolished looks and undetermined functions. Nevertheless Lüschen, as a designer and a law-abiding citizen, also admires and appreciates the comforts, order and construction of society's sophisticated structures. He pursues the polished and the perfect as much as he chases the unpolished and the 'vague'.
His wide-ranging work – comprising multi-sensorial installations, writing, photography, sculptural scenography, scale models and 3D simulation – is balanced between these two axes. In some of his pieces, he documents places that make palpable the concept of life on a scripted set or stages situations that exercise an even stronger degree of control on citizens.
In other instances, areas that refuse such structures, places that are, in Lüschen's words, 'vague', supply the premise for a work; alternately such places inspire him to deploy their unruly qualities so as to reconfigure polished areas. 'Vagueing', his own coinage, indicates the destabilisation of rigid rules and fixed significations and the prioritisation of sensory qualities over function (see the research project Vagueing The City). Perhaps inspired by his father, who worked as a window dresser, Lüschen often employs display techniques that foreground, as if on stage, the textures and non-functional qualities possessed by the very building blocks of our society.
Lüschen's work has been exhibited internationally, including at the International Biennale of Graphic Design (Chaumont, FR), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Taipei, TW), the New Renaissance Film Festival (London, UK), and in various venues in the Netherlands, among them the Over het IJ Festival (Amsterdam), Gelderlandfactory (Culemborg), Het Nieuwe Instituut (Rotterdam), the Museum het Vrijthof (Maastricht) as well as several public spaces such as a jail, a church and a village square.