lejo

(1964, Vorau, Styria))

Since the early 1990s, Lejo has acquired, for artistic inspiration, single photographs or entire albums, which other people had inherited. From 2007, he produced collages of strangers’ memorabilia. He started cutting up, tearing and assembling the material. From 2009 he also scratches out parts of the photographs, leaving only a rough white background. This lets some of his works appear daunting and reminiscent of the photographs’ nameless origin. He thus creates atmospheric images; the faded originals’ pale colours evoke thoughts of perishability and fugaciousness. But the autodidact also creates many humorous works. Particularly his large-formatted “theme pictures”, produced since 2012, subtly play on popular subjects in private photo albums such as the Class Photo, the New Car or the Cheerful Togetherness with one’s Pet. The artist’s collages mirror society; they show up typical trends of various epochs and make us aware of canonised representations through continuous repetition of one and the same theme.

This inevitably reminds one of one’s own memories, which could well feature in his art as “frozen moments”.

Lejo plays with analogies and contrasts of shape and colour, similarities of physiognomy or expression in his protagonists. The artist digs deep in the collection he has accumulated over decades for the exact matching snippet and inserts it, always creating a harmonious, yet tension-filled synergy of all the single parts. His compositions are captivating in their subtle approach, formal sophistication and discretely ironic humour. His collages can be found at the Diamond Collection in Vienna, among others.

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