Zoom on the Main Section of the Fair
Thé van Bergen – Fred & Ferry
Layers of oil on canvas, lively brush strokes, in some cases thicker, in others more nuanced or almost only hinted at, bright and acid colours in contrast with lighter tones, geometric and figurative shapes that stand out against monochromatic backgrounds. All this and much more is the art of Thé van Berger (1946, Achterveld, NL). A painting technique that evolves: made of layers, made of relationships of visual and mental associations, made of forms that dialogue with other forms or unfinished figures. There is no intention for narrative in his paintings, the use of simple and direct titles guides us towards other themes and new visual universes. Our eyes and our mind go back and forth between objects, subjects, shapes, stories that encourage us to imagine greater things and surpass the edge of the canvas. What happens in the pictorial composition and what happens in our minds? How are images visualized and how can new ones be created? A continuous mental overlap of images that recalls the overlap of painting and repainting towards the creation of new realities.
Jesse Willems – Schönfeld Galerie
Often times, it’s a chair and Don’t tell anybody anything appear as statements, in reality they are the evocative title of the two works by Jesse Willems (1984), both dated 2023. The artist does not express what the title describes, but rather lets our imagination embark on a visual journey. Observing the stratification of shapes and the play of colors that intertwine in the collage composition, a new two-dimensional reality and a fresh temporal dimension are revealed before our eyes. The reference to the geometric foundations of Russian constructivism is strong, but the artist goes further by combining evocation and virtuosity. In his collages he uses old found paper, which has muted color, thickness and materiality, restoring a new graphic gesture and a lively tactility. Willems transforms what was discarded and useless into something beautiful and precious. The delicacy and fragility of the paper and the combination of circular, rectangular and triangular segments guide us towards a journey of visual discoveries that goes beyond any geometric abstraction of shapes.
Laura Nieto – Galerie Schortgen
As a visual story teller, Laura Nieto (1978, Medina del Campo, Spain) guides our gaze to rest on the urban scenarios that we experience every day and which we find pictorially represented in her unfinished paintings. Roads, bridges, stairs, restaurants, bars, shop windows, people gatherings, houses, gardens, trees, flowers, each painted subject reminds us of memories of personal life moments that we have all experienced in an approximately recent past. The ‘non finito’ technique deliberately used by the artist leads us to complete the composition, to imagine something else, something of our own that can be added to the painting and made ours. The brush strokes are fast, in some cases they almost give the impression to be barely hinted at, the shades are lively and force themselves in the composition like spots of color carefully delimited by the contours of the shapes. The composition as a whole certainly recalls the frenzy of the environment that surrounds us, but the artist seems to want us to stop for a moment to look and observe what we think we know, but perhaps we don't yet comprehend. As in a novel where the reader travels with the mind between the author's lines, similarly in Nieto's paintings the spectator works with the imagination and makes that visual experience his/her own.
Mario Picardo – Galerie Romero Paprocki
Dynamic, lively, colourful, joyful, vibrant, Mario Picardo's (1985, Villeneuve Saint Georges, France) massive compositions attract the eye of the viewer who finds himself/herself immersed in a Pop universe reminiscent of the generous forms by Claes Oldenburg. Attentive observer of the urban landscapes that emerge around him, he extrapolates the shapes, details, colours and reworks them on canvases of large formats by mixing acrylic and polyurethane. At first Picardo uses his iPhone, the device on which we are all dependent on and which allows us to immediately record reality at any time and from anywhere; once his digital archive has been created, the artist transcribes it manually onto sketchbooks and then canvases. This is when his creativity begins. Images that remind us of our childhood, of the world of advertising, of sports, of the life that flows around us: a puzzle of familiar images that we visually recreate in our memory. Similar to a dance that comes to life in front of us, Picardo’s canvases fill us with emotions, vitality and exuberance towards an imaginary endless universe.
Victor Siret – Sobering Gallery
Flat images, bright colors, highlighted pixels, at first glance we may think we are looking at an 80s video game. Looking closely, we discover that these works that look like paintings are, on the contrary, sewn onto canvas with the cross-stitch technique. Victor Siret (1998, Saint-Herblain, France) uses an artisanal, domestic activity to represent a collective scenario that rather recalls images of the American popular culture from the 1950s onwards. The artist breaks away from addiction to the digital world to use a slow and meticulous artistic process such as embroidery. Siret overturns reality. The frenzy of the world of Las Vegas, the vice of gambling, the attempt to find the winning combination like in the work Jackpots’ House, are frozen in the static nature of the composition. Like an urban landscape designer, the artist questions the ordinary to restore a more peaceful reality and makes us reflect on the alienation and brutality of the surrounding environment.
Written by Emanuela Mazzonis