2004/07/24

Modern art 1


Observing humanity. Morcelle. 1979
Oil on wood panel
Size: 42 x 58 cm (16.5" x 22.8")

This post starts the presentation of my personal evolution in over 30 years of painting.
Each of my following posts will give the image of one painting followed by my thinking about that painting.

My plan is to offer images of 50 of my works:

- 2 oils from 1979-1980 realized in Ellezelles, Belgium when I was 28 years old.
- 6 gouaches realized in Beijing, PRC, in 2001.
- 6 tapestries realized in Beijing, PRC, in 2002.
- 6 digitals realized in Waukesha, USA, in 2003.
- 30 acrylics from my "EMERGENCE" collection that I'm realizing presently in Waukesha, USA in 2004.
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The title says it all, during those years back in Ellezelles, I was all about observing humanity from a distance. I myself in the world, looking at my friends and my "not so friends after all" in the midst of the furry of human endeavors.

Norbert proselytizing, trying to impose his 'wise man' vision on Jipi, Pierrot, myself and many others. After so many years it should be honestly recognized that we all ended up with our conscience turned upside down and ourselves being in total confusion.

Pierrot is still at it today living as a hermit out of humans' ways and eyes. He still draws and paints and sometimes when I visit him, I buy some of his works. His world is all about ghosts and monsters, he painted his walls full of them and sitting there near his wood stove in winter, fast you have the feeling that the world falls still. I like this feeling sometimes, when nothing is waiting for me, but I can understand that it frightens many.

Jipi did not fare much better who had to recognize that reality was not this preaching after all when one day a guy in a bar decided he could not take it anymore to be labelled a slave and threw a full bottle of bear in his face from afar. He stood out of sight of the world for a few months, ruminating. Later, once we were in another bar in Ghent and for an inexplicable reason, I myself grew suddenly very tired of all this superficiality and told him that I was leaving. He wished to stay longer and I lost trace of Jipi since that very day.

Looking at it from the distance of time, I see myself, trying to keep my sanity and my head in the air all those years, jumping from one undertaking to another as if I was rushed to accomplish something.
First in 1979, I started to build a house with my hands and the help of some friends. In 1980 with other friends I set up "La Brasserie", a "space of freedom" conceived as an opportunity for all to express their artistic creativity. Wow the dream, the art gallery and mostly the bar were working but nowhere did one have, even only once, the opportunity to see artistic creativity in action. Having enough of all that after a couple of years, I went back to the house that I expanded and then having enough of the house, I went straight to the government with the idea to change the reality of our human condition. Wow an even bigger dream. I was writing and preaching to all who wanted to listen about Belgium's public finance fiasco in the making I fast discovered that I was not made for this political cat and dog fight, nobody cared, nobody was interested to listen and I left disgusted by politician and bureaucratic thought. By the end of the eighties, Belgium ended with a public debt representing some 120 percent of its GDP and had to let go the largest chunk of its income toward the payment of interest on this debt at the exclusion of other expenses for services of primary necessity. When the situation had reached that level of absurdity everyone understood the problem and all accepted to try to solve it but this was not knowing the price they should have to pay. After a decade and a half of slashing costs, increasing taxes and fees and terminating services, Belgium's public debt is still worth 110 percent of GDP and the real problem now is that creative, entrepreneurial people are leaving the country for easier lands!
I personally left Belgium for China in 1986.

Today, when I look at this painting, "Observing humanity" from 1979, I can't but conclude that it was a master stroke, a ray of truth about what my life was all about and what I would go through in the years ahead.
Xiaohong is there pre-eminent announcing huge changes in my life to come some 10 years later.

That was about the content.
For those who read my last posts, it should be evident that my style is already marked by automaticism. But to be honest, I was not the least conscientof that
at the time .
This painting is one of a serie that I realized during a period of a few months in the autumn and winter of 1979 when I painted with Pierrot. I guess we influenced each other quite much even if we never spoke a word of theory.

Here are some thumbnails of other works of that period. Suffice to say that it's always about the observation of reality.
Unfortunately, I have only 4 works in total remaining from that period.
I never sold one painting but I gave quite many away.


In the maelstrom. Autumn 1979. Ellezelles. Oil on wooden panel.


Jacques Vlemincq. Autumn 1979. Ellezelles. Oil on wooden panel.

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