Our Five With: Iekeliene Stange and Victor De Bie
Model Iekeliene Stange and artist Victor De Bie, both of Dutch heritage, chose a German word to title their latest exhibition: Umfeld. “The closest translation is probably ‘surroundings’" says De Bie. Appropriately, their well edited selection of paintings and Polaroids shown at London’s Horse Hospital this month paid tribute to everything from boyfriends to new babies to ageing park graffiti.
De Bie, a former modelling agency scout turned pro painter, provides a great match for Stange, the face of ad campaigns like Sonia Rykiel and an aspiring photojournalist who’s just as legit behind the camera as in front of it. Look for more of their exhibitions later, but for now, let them tell you how it all came together.
How did this partnership come about?
Victor De Bie: I guess you could say she’s my muse. That’s how we met. After graduation I worked for a modelling agency in Paris and in Brussels, and I was a talent scout. One day I was shopping at a market and I saw Iekeliene. I had to talk to her…Now, a lot of the characters have her features.
How do you get the ideas for your work?
VDB: I think that maybe no one will remember a story, so I have to make a painting out of it. I switch something off. I’m not there anymore. I painted my nephew, but I’m not going to think, “I’m going to paint my nephew.” I knew he was born, and I was so happy. I had never seen him before the painting, and then it looks exactly like him. My brother was like, “That’s him, that’s him.” All the pictures you’ll see [from my paintings and Iekeliene’s photos] are friends and family, all in different situations. It’s a story of our surroundings, our lives, our homes, Holland.
How did you choose the Horse Hospital as your venue?
Iekeliene Stange: We wanted to be quite cosy. This is different from the usual gallery. It has a lot more character. It was a lot of work putting everything together. I was modeling last month and back in January. We went location scouting when Victor was here…and we just looked at the images over email. Skype helped a lot.
Iekeliene, you’ve already had a well-received photo exhibition, I like ponies, in Berlin. Do you think you’ll ever compile a book of your images?
IS: That’s something I would consider. I’m hoping to have more time in the future. At the moment, modelling is a sure thing. I don’t have anything to complain about…I just want to show people these different cultures. I think it’s really interesting. I love that every country that you go to, even in Europe, every country is so diverse and has so much history and culture and so many traditions.
Any plans for another London exhibition?
VDB: I’m addicted to London now. I thought maybe I could do something in October, or otherwise next April. I’m just discovering London, and now Iekeliene’s bringing me to all these cool places. I’ll come back more, definitely.
For more about the exhibit, visit Nylonmag.com.