Diederik Boyen may certainly be said to be a painter associated with identity. Not so much the identity that one may acquire through experiences, social influences, knowing and acting, but the identity one retains after the outer trappings are stripped away, identity denied, values devalued.
The only concession that Boyen allows himself in his work is the aesthetic beauty that he affords the individuals and subjects of his paintings. Based upon exceptional technical talent he paints his portraits and subjects with almost photographic precision. The beauty is breathtaking and thus the confrontation overwhelming. He uses symbolism as a scalpel that strips bare the everyday reality of its comfortable superficiality in order to penetrate to the very essence of “being”, whether that is now or the past or what it has become.
He repeatedly delves into supposed conflicts that we think we have to discover in cultural differences such as Islam and Judaism. He also reminds us of our history in which the judgment of identity caused the mutilation of the very essence of mankind: their personality, their self-worth, their inner power.
By using small increments he underscores how we, conditioned by mainstream thinking in a superficial society, assume a reality with a totally new dimension; burdening the innocent with the presumption of being a threat and experiencing difference as a danger.
Diederik Boyen - Search for Identity
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