The constructed photographs and interactive installations of visual artist and neuropsychologist Janneke van Leeuwen explore how the social and physical world merge into complex psychological states inside our minds. Through their fragmented and distorted perspectives, these abstract interiors of the social brain aim to challenge our understanding of reality.
Janneke van Leeuwen has a particular interest in the relationship between art, the social brain, and mental health. In her interdisciplinary PhD research, she combined artistic and neuroscientific methods to study how healthy young and senior adults, as well as people living with various forms of dementia, experience colours and visual art. The research took place between the Wellcome Collection and UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology in London, in collaboration with the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam.
Janneke van Leeuwen’s work has been published and exhibited internationally, including solo and group exhibitions in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, France, Spain, Switzerland, United States of America, and China. She is also the Founder of the social enterprise The Thinking Eye, which is specialised in the well-known arts-based learning method Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). Notable cultural organisations she has exhibited at and/or worked with include: The Photographers’ Gallery, London; Dulwich Picture Gallery, London; New Art Exchange, Nottingham; RIBA East Midlands; Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne; Aperture Foundation, New York; Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami; Arts+Mind Lab, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.
Janneke van Leeuwen is part of the international and interfaith research project ‘Art, Empathy, and Justice: an exploration of cognitive aesthetics’ that will take place between 06/2022 – 11/2023. The project is co-led American philosopher Dr Kelly James Clark, the Arts+Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, and Istanbul’s Moral Intuitions Laboratory, Turkey.