...perhaps technical civilization will try the experiment of developing itself to its uttermost limits, till it becomes a diabolical sorcery...
Nicolas Berdyaev, 1933
For me, the Demiurge—the failed god who in earlier gnostic myths created this reality—provides the most useful “metaphor” to describe both the position of the artist and the act of painting. In painting, destruction and construction consist of largely the same operations. Painting comes closest to a sort of meditation on both absence and (sacred) violence. It is the most “gnostic” of arts. It is literally a fight between Light and Matter by means of a limited set of recurring personal and contingent acts. Although the illuminating Light can be blinding at times, and Matter is inherently flawed, we must make do with what we have been given. This continuous “fall into matter” is not just a condemnation of physical reality, but rather an ongoing invitation to recreate the world and better ourselves.
My paintings are a silent celebration of the infinite variety and ultimate unknowability of all that is. There is a profound sense of the passing of time as canvases are reworked over several years and numerous sessions until they finally achieve a life of their own. An artist is a vessel for all that does not have the power to speak in this world. It has been so since the days and nights in the caves. The subconscious, the subliminal, the chaotic, the irrational, the unnamable—these are now more crucial than ever before to come to terms with.
As with most elements in painting, sometimes these are the problem, at other times the solution. Even the most petrified metaphors have their place in art at certain instances. Artistic métier is neither exclusively the enemy nor an automatic validation. Drippings often defy natural gravity by running sideways or upward. Figuration is often achieved through uncontrollable gestures, while the texture of the abstract surfaces might remind one of the more visceral facets of reality. There is no “one size fits all”; works of art must follow their own logic to the end.
At one point, a viewer, when contemplating these works firsthand, will feel their bodies reorient themselves. Where would their place be in such an environment? An environment full of holes, discontinuities, hints of vanishing points, nameless historic references, and little more than its own internal logic. These paintings hold a middle ground between a level from a rudimentary computer game and an early Renaissance fresco.
This is some of the most “base” meta-painting imaginable, a sort of painting less suited to be taken in solely by the eyes, a painting that can be understood in full only by a pre-lingual body. Welcome to the world.
Mil Ceulemans, 2016
RECENT PAINTINGS | 7 x la peinture by Claude Lorent | La Libre | 03.06.2016
7 x painting By devoting his summer exhibition solely to paintings, Roberto Polo affirms the main interest of his gallery, which also stages photography shows. The group exhibition presented this summer reveals work by several artists to whom the gallery intends to devote solo exhibitions in the near future. In all its diversity, this exhibition provides ample proof – to whomever might still doubt this – that the art of painting is, now more than ever, alive and kicking. Painting has lost none of its impact and is developing in a range of quite diverse and decidedly contemporary directions, allowing itself the freedom to become fiercely independent. In this respect, abstraction and figuration join together in demonstrating considerable overall quality. Faithful visitors of the gallery will be happy to encounter a portrait and a series of paintings by Jan Vanriet, in which the strange attitude of the figures and the repetition of the subject unerringly attract attention to their painterly rendering. In the field of figurative painting, Bernard Gaube distinguishes himself with several portraits displaying a graphic and chromatic treatment that insists on the impossibility of capturing physical and psychological identity in just one painting, as each subject is multiple. Vladimir Moszowski’s two large paintings of light effects on water transcend the status of representations by evoking an ephemeral temporality – viewers feel like they are part of the pictorial instant and its unique magic. In the field of abstraction, Bernard Gilbert, whose work is exhibited at the gallery for the first time, shatters all limits between categories and genres by relentlessly exploring techniques, images and materials. Mil Ceulemans pursues his spatial progressions, moving between geometry, construction and lyricism, while Joris Ghekiere exploits the infinite potential of colours with great sensitivity. Werner Mannaers, on the other hand, is a seeker who stops at nothing and whose pictorial solutions catch viewers by surprise with their boundless inventiveness. (C.L.) Recent Paintings. Roberto Polo Gallery, rue Lebeau 8¬12, 1000 Brussels. Until 17 July and from 17 August until 18 September.
Mil Ceulemans | Le vertige de la matière, by Anne Hustache | l'Eventail
PAINTING AFTER POSTMODERNISM BELGIUM - USA Curated by Barbara Rose
9/15/2016 - 11/13/2016
Vanderborght & Cinema Galeries | The Underground
MIL CEULEMANS | SILENT TREATMENT
11/7/2013 - 1/12/2014
Rue Lebeau 8-12
Recent Paintings Ceulemans, Gaube, Gilbert, Ghekiere, Mannaers, Moszowski & Vanriet
5/19/2016 - 9/18/2016
Rue Lebeau 8-12