Walter Swennen
walter Swennen - Paintings + Michael Dans – Drawings
17/09/2004 - 23/10/2004

For its third exhibition, aliceday is pleased to present the latest works by Walter Swennen and by Michael Dans. It was particularly interesting to us to bring together the works of these two Belgian artists. Even if coming from very different generations, both mix the abstract and the figurative to create a poetic language and great humour. During this exhibition, each artist will occupy one of the gallery’s storeys.
We previously presented drawings by Walter Swennen during the ‘Bande Annonce’ exhibition. This time, we invited him for his paintings. Swennen has a rich actuality, as he is currently showing in ‘In Partes Tres’ at the Mac’s (until 3. October 2004) and a monography about his drawings has just been released by La Lettre Volée.
With Walter Swennen’s images, the first thing you do is turn to the ‘identifiable figures’ to orientate yourself. You see a game from a Kinder Surpise, or a warboat. These ‘identifiable figures’ move beneath and above other pictorial elements. Abstract patterns, grids, patches, surfaces, deletions, scratches and covering over. Signs of paint that drips, has been scrapped back, flows and solidifies. The traces move from here to there, with doubts and questions arising along the way. Art allows room for uncertainty. Swennen doesn’t conceal that fact, he reveals it. The artist combines bits and pieces of differing character: words and images, paint of all kinds, canvases or wooden panels. And he is surprised by the results: the bits and pieces attract or repel one another, hold still or move. They crackle and buzz. There is no hierarchy here. He places extremes alongside one another, side by side. The figures, with their childlike appearance lose their elementary, self-evident character and the abstract signs grow in confidence. Swennen allows neither the figurative nor the abstract to develop into an art of habitual profundity. Everything is on a human scale. Don’t be fooled, though, by these down-to-earth traces. The meaning of the work ultimately lies elsewhere. Whatever Swennen might suggest, he goes about his work with immense artistic passion. He looks for proportion, colours, lines and forms. For a new harmony. Just call him a classicist.
Quentin Legrand (with Jan Florizoone)