Monthly Archives: April 2012

Work In progress (Ghent)

To give some information on the dimension of this project; 220cm x 100cm.  (86inch. x 39.4inch.)

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Black is not a color.

The Balcony  – 1869 –  Oil on canvas, 170 x 124 cm – Musee d’Orsay, Paris – E. Manet.

The artists whome’s paintings could be considered as the genesis of Modern art would eventually become modern art. Edouard Manet, possibly the greatest among impressionist painters, we could even see him as the founder for that matter.

This painting might appeal as realistic portrait of bourgeois life. Yet this is not the case, all the models used in this painting were acquaintances of the artist, especially Berthe Morisot (the girl sitting in the foreground), who makes her first appearance in Manet’s work, who went on to become one of it’s favorite models.

“Color is a matter of taste and of sensitivity”- E. Manet

What was even less conventional for that time, which was a time where academical constraints were still in play, and “good” painters were those who belong to the academy and therefor painted so. But Manet was radically freeing himself from these constraints by not showing any story or anecdote; it seems like the protagonists are frozen, “as if isolated in an interior dream”.

He tried to free himself, despite the reference tot Goya’s Majas at the Balcony (See below) which the artist could have most likely seen during his trip to spain in 1865. Goya treated his protagonist in a more sinister manner (watched by two man in the background, dark surroundings). The two girls are dressed like majas, which in other paintings of his would refer to prostitutes.

Majas on a Balcony – Francisco de Goya y Lucientes – Oil on canvas –   1810-1812

As Manet was surely to be inspired by Goya, so was Manet an inspiration to later painters, as his paintings were to be considered as the genesis of modern art . Less then a century later this happens..

Manet’s Balcony – Rene Magritte – 1950 -Oil on Canvas.

“Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.” – R. Magritte

This work belongs to a series of paintings; “the perspective paintings”. Magritte based these paintings on well-known works by french artists (Jacques Louis David, Éduoard Manet, François Gerard). The painting is executed in Magritte’s carefully detailed style and might be seen as an irreverent rendition of the neoclassical masterpiece which is suffused with mordant wit. This must be a statement right? Did he just kill, buried Manet? Or rather the subjects that used to be on the painting? As I’m living/ studying in Ghent, where this painting is shown, I have the privilege of seeing it whenever I like and I have to be honest; it strikes me every single time.. It seems to embody this morbid atmosphere, but yet such cool, calming colors.. It’s confusing, it makes me think, it makes good art.

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When I’ll know your soul I paint your eyes.

Jeanne Hebuterne

Let’s admit it. He had good taste, look at her, an astonishingly beautiful young lady, who would become the subject of it’s biggest masterpiece. His name was Amedeo Modigliani‘a crazy italian fuck.’. Whose bohemian life could’ve been seen as a result of many different aspects. First of all it was expected of artists of that time, secondly it was the time where radical philosophies arose, including those of Nietzsche. Eventually it got the man killed at the early age of 36. Even among other bohemians his behavior stood out; he would sometimes strip himself naked at social gatherings, making a scene. He became the epitome of a tragic artist, he became the new Vincent van Gogh.

“(hold sacred all) which can exalt and excite your intelligence… (and) … seek to provoke … and to perpetuate … these fertile stimuli, because they can push the intelligence to its maximum creative power.”

But instead, let’s not talk about the artist, I’d rather tell you about his mistress, goddess, lover and most important subject in Modigliani’s life. I present to you; Jeanne Hébuterne , she was a 19 year old art student when she first met Amedeo, unlike the artist she descended from a conservative bourgeois background. Although her family renounced her affaire with the drunken, poor artist, who had almost no income at all, she decided to move in with him. Their public scene’s became even more renowned than Modigliani’s individual drunken exhibitions.

“When I’ll know your soul, I’ll paint your eyes, and he eventually did. Take a look at these remarkable paintings and notice the eyes.

Amedeo Modigliani – 1918 – MET (NY) – Oil on Canvas. Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne.

And then all of a sudden this happened.. He painted her eyes. He knew her soul. This touches me in every single way, the gesture by itself embodies beauty and passion. Passion for life, she gave birth to their first child, which she named Jeanne. She got pregnant a second time, but the child would never see daylight… Tragedy and Beauty seem to go hand in hand. The inevitable happened …

Amedeo Modigliani- Jeanne Hebuterne– 1919 – Oil on Canvas

…. on 24 january 1920 Modigliani died, totally distraught, she threw herself out of the fifth-floor apartment window the day after his death, killing herself together with her unborn child

“Devoted companion to the extreme sacrifice – epitath Hebuterne”

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This is Belgium. (Not chocolate)

Michaël Borremans  & Luc Tuymans. 

As i was going through my books this afternoon I couldn’t resist to show and  introduce you to Belgian art. Therefor I chose these two artists who are two of my favorite contemporary painters in Belgium. I love the misty colors, the hard themes, shocking maybe? The light that seems to burst out into the darkness. I also couldn’t stop noticing that there was a certain resemblance when watching both artist’s works. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

The Pendant – 2010 – Oil on canvas – Michaël Borremans 

 Der Diagnostische Blick VII – 1992 – 65,5 x 45,5 cm – oil on canvas – Luc Tuymans 

Luc Tuymans, Panel, 2010, oil on canvas, 92 1/4 x 71 1/2 inches, courtesy David Zwirner, New York.

Michaël Borremans, Trickland, 2002, courtesy Eeno X Gallery, Antwerpen

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Oh dear, I’m addicted.

To be honest, this is becoming an addiction, didn’t know that writing could be so interesting.. The self reflection, reaching people all over the world, wow this is AMAZING.

Anyway, I’m planning to do a review on this really brilliant contemporary artist Brett Amory, if i had a choice I would do it right now, as my fingers are tingling to begin. But … As I’m an art student I’m obliged to study. Which is fun as well.. learning about all these different artists and .. you know. I might believe that i’ve found my calling..

So stay tuned, I’ll be back very SOON.

thanks all for reading and liking my posts,

Greetings Olivier.

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My favorite of the day: Sublimity at it’s best!


These photographs of Guy Laramee’s work blow my mind.

They are absolutely incredible. I mean there are so many people experimenting with sculpture created from books but I’ve never seen anyone use them in such a subtle and beautiful way. The craftmanship and attention to detail in these pieces is just unbelievable and the soft appearance to the surface is almost frustratingly tactile, it would be amazing to see these pieces close up. Not only that, I am itching to touch them to see if they feel as soft as they look. The pieces look like they have been slowly weathered & eroded in the way real landscapes are formed, rather than carved by man.

Some wonderful work by a wonderfully talented artist & I hope you agree.

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Frank Lloyd was Wright after all.

Bear Run, better known as ‘Falling Water’ is probably one of the most influential architectural designs ever made in History until this day. Although it had to take lots of critique and they (especially the engineers) had a lot of doubts whether or not it would remain standing after removing the scaffolds it became, which for me  describes, embodies ‘the perfect balance’ of humanity and nature. Humanity placed back into it’s natural habitat.

Falling water, is a project which the infamous american architect Frank Lloyd Wright ,belonging to it’s latest period, that was built in the forests of Bear Run (Pennsylvania) in commission of Edgar J. Kauffman. The project started in 1936 and took him 3 years to finish (1939).

What’s so remarkable about the architecture that Frank Lloyd Wirght created is the way he built it. He called his architecture; “Organic Architecture”; which is an architecture that develops itself from the inside to the outside in harmony with the conditions of it’s own existence. This is also called contextualism

“So here I stand before you preaching organic architecture: declaring organic architecture to be the modern ideal and the teaching so much needed if we are to see the whole of life, and to now serve the whole of life, holding no traditions essential to the great TRADITION. Nor cherishing any preconceived form fixing upon us either past, present or future, but instead exalting the simple laws of common sense or of super-sense if you prefer determining form by way of the nature of materials…” – Frank Lloyd Wright

I’ll illustrate this philosophical context with examples related to “falling water”, i’ll discuss, interior, exterior and the plan.


What I believe is truly remarkable and intriguing about this project is it’s placement according to the natural environment around it. When Wright first saw the place he was touched by the sound of the falling water, the dramatic scene that the rocks created. The intimacy the surrounding forest created… Wright did not built this in nature, but his building organically arrises in it’s environment. He builds according to the environment. How can we notice this?

First of all when we take a closer look at the site we can notice that there are 2 motions in place; a vertical and a horizontal. The vertical walls are completely built out of natural stones (according to the environment). As you might notice; it seems as if the rocks beneath the building seem to repeat themselves in the vertical walls, it seems like it’s fully integrated it’s almost made out of one part; the building seems to arise out of the rockeries. The vertical walls could also relate to the surrounding trees.

Now if we look at it’s terraces in concrete we can see how this relates to the flat surface of the water, the waterfall, it almost seems as if the waterfall begins at top of the building. It seems to embrace nature. (All of these aspects are beautifully illustrated in the drawing above)



 When we take a closer look at the interior we notice a same allusion to it’s natural surroundings: again he uses natural stone, what’s very remarkable is the fact that he truly implemented the rockeries by building around them (you can see them sticking out at the fire place, which always has a central position in house and is very important in his architecture). Even the floor is made out of stone, so as you can see he really tries to make a band with nature.

It’s as if this house has an certain intimacy (created by the surrounding forest, and the cave like structure which ‘protects’ humanity against the brut forces of nature; again he sees humanity as ‘people of nature’, the isolation, only reachable by a bridge..), but also a social aspect: by using these huge windows that outlook the forest it creates a certain bond, a social contact with nature.

Also when you would take a look at the floor plan of the house you would notice that is embodies the same seiche motions as the water. (I did not implement a picture of this because i did not manage to find a good one).


  • Interior:
  • Exterior:,r:4,s:0,i:74
  • Drawing:
  • Scaffolds:
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“My paint is like a rocket, which describes its own space”


91 years, this is how old this marvelous painter would’ve become today. He only passed away 6 years ago but it’s oeuvre seems to tremble the foundations of art and post-modernism. I’d like to refer to a previous post where I discusses this artist in detail: “The painter versus it’s canvas

“I don’t paint, I hit.”

Dear mr Appel, you fought well earning your proper name in the history of arts.
You shall not be forgotten.

“The duty of the artist is not to be calculating in any sense, so that he may be free himself of human emotions while carried by the universal forces of life. Only then does one not think about making art, or about styles, or directions. Something comes about, something happens.”

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Really enjoyed this blog. Very interesting contemporary art!. Wasn’t familiar with this kind of art at all! (Really loved; Jackie Tileston)

Artsy Forager

I love work that speaks to me on several levels.  ( Yes, I can hear the artwork talking to me! )  The work of Philadelphia artist Jackie Tileston seems to communicate to us from several worlds at once.

Atmospheric foundations hint at other-worldly landscapes filled with mystery, while pops of graphic color and pattern create a layer of modern visual language.

Linear color leads the eye to dance across each composition against backgrounds of painterly texture.  Tileston’s surfaces fairly crackle with excitement and visual energy.

To see more of Jackie Tileston’s work, please visit her website.

Featured image is Auspicious Circling of Mad Utopias, oil and mixed media on linen, 72×60.  All images are via the artist’s website.

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A Perspective on Art(s). n

Luc Tuymans; ‘Fumigation chamber’

Let me first explain you why I decided to create blog in the first place. As it already may have occurred to you, I’m an art (history) student at the University of Gent. In the proces of learning everything about art(s) and reading different books on this topic, I stumbled on different, what you would call paradoxes, and started wondering and reflecting: “What is Art?, Where/ Why did art came into existence? What is true meaning of art? Why should we learn art? … ” 

So i decided to start writing (which eventually turned into blogging ), hoping for an answer to arise in the process. Moreover I was convinced that by sharing these line of thoughts and by all means initiate some kind of discussion, debate. Hoping for correction, further insights from others and by combining, linking these different points of view, converting them into an ‘universal’ theory to define art ( as well as in a historical , philosophical, easthetic  fashion). Therefor I would like to encourage all of you interested in this topic to try and contribute so WE can reach this ‘goal’.

“Aesthetic matters are fundamental for the harmonious development of both society and the individual.” – Friedrich Schiller

This is what I made out of my knowledge (for as far as it might (not) reach) and my perspective of what Art is/might be. (I’d like to add that it’s by all means possible that the following doesn’t make any sense to you, and therefor ask to add your disagreements in a comment).

I’ll begin in context of ‘history’ and ‘zeitgeist’

You could describe art in related to it’s proper “zeitgeist”, it’s function in Religion, it could be a reaction against society, or an expression of discontent (German Expressionism), Symbolic (Symbolism). A way of showing the world what daily life is really about (Realism). But art in general is none of these, how then to describe art?

First of all as you all might know, art is not reducible to it’s functionality it had in History, a piece of art simply can’t be reduced to the ‘zeitgeist’ where in it found birth. For example; you simply can’t look at a Rembrandt without ‘knowing’ that there’s also something made like a ‘Van Gogh’ or a ‘Picasso’. Does this make art a process in which one artist, one period, one work has influence on the next to come? It certainly does in a certain manner, as I mentioned before you can’t reduce art to it’s historical context

But what about art in a “universal” way? Could we describe art as the pursuit to really getting to know what life’s about, what/ who we are. (Cf. Hegel). First of all i do believe that art is not ONLY about discovering humanity. I believe that art expresses things that words can’t possibly reach, it expresses feelings or triggers feelings that we might not have known before. It are these things that make art intriguing. It has it’s own autonomous way of expressing itself, “art expresses itself.”

“Art expresses itself”

As all of you might know, art makes itself harder to define every time a piece of art is made. How possibly can we define Art in general without missing any aspect of it’s complexity in so many ways. What is it that makes art, Art? Is it the human touch? This certainly counts as one of the many aspects that define art. Art is something created by humanity, for (?) humanity.But where does art begin, where does it end? Should art by utile? Should it be beautiful, attracting? Or might it as well be repulsing and ugly?

What is art?

Thanks for reading,

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