Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Philippe Vandenberg, by Jahaan Mukhi

Philippe Vandenberg, by Jahaan Mukhi

“During my youth, I was forced into a system I didn’t believe in,” Philippe Vandenberg

    The above quote by Phillippe Vanderberg came from an interview with fellow artist Ronny Delrue, regarding his upbringing in Belgium.  It stands to illustrate the philosophy behind much of his work and was part of his unyielding spirit that made him a cult favorite among so many. "At the heart of the Philippe Vandenberg's work is a primal poetry, one that emerges both from the images he brought to life and from his formal invention".

    I chose this artist, not only because his art really spoke to me, both stylistically and metaphorically, but because I relate to his ideologies and upbringing. In India, I was raised in a society and school bound heavily in rules, and love the idea of setting free on a canvas, unconstrained by style or theme. Each of his works is unique in that he almost goes out of his way to make sure he isn't conforming to any particular style or practice, and the results are truly spectacular. 


Philippe Vandenberg, De ogen (The Eyes), 1994

"A key aspect of Vanderberg's paintings is his treatment of surface--his emphasis on accretions, accidents, and reworkings--is of equal importance". This is especially seen in the below painting. His work seems to be covered with grubby, muddy strokes, representing the organic process of painting and repainting. This leaves the surface of his paintings almost as rough, primitive and violent as the imagery they represent.

Philippe Vandenberg, La Notte (The Night), 1990.

In this next work, we see the artists signature style of starting with an abstract composition. After which he layers onto it cartoon figures, depicting everything from bizarre acts, like what appears to be a man drilling into another's head or a couple in bed. A key aspect to draw from this shows how unconstrained by themes or styles this artist is, as he seems to go wherever his mind takes him. He could go from depicting cheerful picnics to a lunatic asylum. 

Philippe Vandenberg, detail of No title (From the book Il pleut des bites [It’s Raining Penises]), 2000

Once again we see how this sketch not only refuses to conform to a particular style but also just shows the artists sheer lack of care, regarding the rules or thoughts of others on his work. And although this drawing is different to his previous abstractions It is similar in its attitude and serves to demonstrate that the artist goes wherever his wits taken, unstoppable by anything.




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