This Billboard Series is a tribute to the painter Lucas Devriendt, who unexpectedly passed away on 8 November 2017, at the age of 62.
In a very accessible and recognizable, figurative style, Lucas Devriendt focuses on the essence of painting: on the canvas, brush, paint, model, and studio – through contemporary versions of classical genre paintings such as still lifes and landscapes, but especially portraits. In an interview in the art magazine H-ART Devriendt says: “I do not comment on the contemporary, but rather on the classical. When you visit the Louvre or any other museum with classical paintings, you notice which works really fascinate the visitors: the landscapes and still lifes, of course, but especially the portraits seem to take up a lot of attention. I want to reflect on these genre paintings – but I take a stand against the classical academy and the anonymous model: for me, a model has a face, a personality. The people who posed for me each have their own story: Thibaut, Lotta, the naked woman, my son and his girlfriend … Those people interest me.”
The studio of Devriendt played an important role in all of this: as a place where he constructed still lifes, where his models posed and where he painted, but not figured in his paintings. On many of his portraits, the models are pictured posing in front of a white canvas that is already hanging in his studio – like an image within an image. His favourite red table is also present in countless works. Often you see the table in the background, but sometimes it is very prominently depicted – this little red table full of paint stains with a smoking cigarette on the edge, waiting for the painter to return to work.
Inspired by the old masters, and the way in which they portray their models in front of a black background – as if they appear out of nothing, Devriendt started at some point to use black plastic as a background for his portraits. However, soon this black plastic came to the forefront, and became one of the most important subjects of his paintings. He painted a whole series of works on this theme and even devoted his Ph.D. to it. It is, of course, a dreamy subject to paint; on the one hand, it is about pure painting (he once said that he used as much black and white for these works) and the pleasure that it brought Lucas, but on the other hand, this series is also very much about absence – of the artist, of light, of meaning. In addition, it is a constant reflection on one of the most iconic masterpieces of the 20th century: the famous black square of Kazimir Malevich.
Lucas Devriendt was a teacher as well as a painter; both roles took an equal importance in his life. As one of the driving forces of the painting department of LUCA | School of Arts, Lucas has formed innumerable young artists over the past decades, helping them to find their own artistic vision and way.
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Martin Belou (FR)
14/10/2017 — 14/01/2018
It is difficult to categorise Martin Belou’s practice – though it’s certainly clear that process of gathering and connecting around primary elements such as fire and water plays an important role. Belou stages the codes of this gathering, he recontextualises and re-activates them – not to create contemporary rituals, but to enable new ways for people to come together and connect. The imagery that he uses for this is linked to the iconography of shamanism, alchemy and other pre-scientific systems of thinking and knowledge.
Every ritual has a transformative moment, and this is also reflected in Belou’s sculptural practice. He experiments with materials and how they change over time – under the influence of water, air (oxidation) or fire. His way of working – though extremely coherent – generates very different outcomes …
Nel Aerts (BE)
10/08/2017 — 08/10/2017
The works of Nel Aerts (° 1987, Turnhout) move freely and intuitively between different media, such as painting, collage, video, performance, drawing, sculpture, and textile-work. Within Nel Aerts’ organic and layered practice – where elements from older works often return to new work – the theme of the portrait has become more and more important in recent years. Her previous series of portraits show expressive characters, in simple colors and shapes. They are anonymous characters inhabiting undefined spaces – apparently naive, colorful shapes on carved wooden panels or canvas.
A 2015 residence in the Van Gogh house in Zundert (NL) heralded a new phase in this series of portraits. Where the previous characters of Nel Aerts implicitly embodied …
Oriol Vilanova (ES)
06/05 – 09/08/2017
Oriol Vilanova (°1980, ES – lives and works in Brussels) visits flea markets all over the world to collect antique postcards. The cards he buys can depict everything: from kittens to architectural highlights and from archeological artifacts to sunsets. These postcards can be seen as mass-produced reliquaries, tangible memories or souvenirs from places or periods.
Vilanova’s collection contains over thirty-four thousand postcards, which he classifies in over one hundred sections, and presents …
Sanam Khatibi (IR/BE)
With Tenderness and Longing
05/03 – 05/05/2017
The work of the Iranian-Belgian artist Sanam Khatibi (° 1976, Tehran) explores power structures and primary instincts which are situated on the divide between human and animal. In her paintings, embroidery, tapestries and ceramic sculptures she questions our relationship to excess, loss of control, dominance, submission, and the male-female relationship.
The female figure takes central stage in Khatibi’s work. The artist calls these figures ‘nymphs’, and portrays them naked in Arcadian landscapes …
Aline Bouvy (BE)
Heavy Fuckry / I don’t need you to feed me
19/11/2016 – 28/02/2017
Aline Bouvy’s multidisciplinary practice is a way of expressing her refusal to compromise and adapt to systems in our society which aim to regulate our longing, conforming it to the norms and values which shape that same society. Bouvy questions and denounces how the images we have of ourselves and of humanity are determined by this morality. In this way, Bouvy is attracted to the non-conventional – not to fetishize elements from the margins of society, but from a wish to normalise what is considered out-of-bounds, and thereby adjusting the prevailing …
Nástio Mosquito (AO)
The practice of Nástio Mosquito (°1981, Luanda, Angola) deals with cultural inheritance in the broadest sense of the term, addressing problems of identity, contemporary culture, politics and post-colonialism. He approaches these issues in a multi-disciplinary way; floating freely between installation, performance, video and music.
His practice often is a collaborative one. Having started as a cameraman and director, Mosquito understands the necessity of exchange and communication to create. Performance, however, remains to play an important role, and …
Kasper Bosmans (BE)
Smalt (Cobalt Filter and Cream)
07/05 — 07/08/2016
Kasper Bosmans (°1990, Lommel) dives deeply into the rich cultural history of materials, objects, traditions and customs. The references in his work betray a broad spectrum of sources, from folkloristic stories and cultural practices to historic research on painterly techniques or botanical cross-breeding. He continuously expands on his interests, subjecting them to careful scrutiny. Legends is a series in which this affluence of references is clearly visible. The title refers to both a story of the past, as well as a brief explanatory text …
Dirk Zoete (BE)
31/01 — 30/04/2016
The artistic practice of Dirk Zoete (°1969 Roeselare) is circular. He makes models, photographs, drawings, sculptures and installations, all resulting from and influencing each other. A model setting sometimes becomes a drawing, which might result in a large sculpture, which in its turn can function as an element in a larger installation or a prop in a new photographic series.
A term he often uses himself for this practice is Brincadeira, the Portugese word for ‘play’. Dirk explains: “ It’s a term I picked up from a Brazilian who …
Catherine Biocca (DE/IT)
18/09/2015 — 29/01/2016
In her work, Catherine Biocca (°1984, Rome) merges different levels of dimensions, reversing and swapping diverse media to generate an unfamiliar reality. The result is a mix of bi- and tri-dimensional elements dealing with displacement, layered with cartoonish imagery and details from science fiction, and boasting a view on human brutality throughout our cultural history.
The characters in Biocca’s works call to mind cartoons or animated figures that are embedded in uncomplicated events and simple settings, burdened by the comic brutality …