Description & Technical information

From the work of Boy & Erik Stappaerts it is readily apparent that color and light are the primary drivers of abstract art. And also ‘the basis of a research which serves with its pure structural values, not only as a measuring rod for a new “esthetics”, but in their functional values for a desirable new social order.’ (Moholy-Nagy, Vision in Motion, 1947) With his Pentagronium project, Stappaerts seems to extend the tradition of artists who wished to launch a universal style. The most visible aspect of that project are the
Conflict Paintings, which with their rhythm of horizontal bands lean towards the strict visual language of minimal art. But any kinship is at the same time put into perspective by the non-artistic colors that evoke an atmosphere of indulgent hedonistic weekends without end. Fragments of a flashy disco-world, propelled forward by a drum machine. Stappaerts is no heir to the orthodox painters who with their ‘pure imaging’ wanted to bring rest and harmony to an ‘irrational’ world. The secret of the Conflict Paintings is the precise dosage of references: a color palette that one associates with hip adverts or pop-up projects, the horizontal strips that seem to be snipped from an endless band, and of a format that is just too long for a seascape. The final effect is ambiguous, because the viewer who hopes to repress permanent fears with still more powerful images, realizes that these are mirages. – In releasing these preliminary studies – photographs of the floor of his studio – Stappaerts reveals much about his working method. At first sight no-one associates this bright green lava crust with his work; seemingly, the real rectilinear Stappaerts has taken a sideward’s step, amusing himself with an expressive image trouvée. Nothing is further from the truth – it has to do with an obsessive gesture. Stappaerts gives us a color-sample card of the entire world, and even of a floor that is well beyond cleaning. He well understands that color not only has more impact than form, but also that centuries of culture have contributed to it and that it has exercised a symbolic effect. He leaves suspended the question as to which aspects he gives priority. In this perspective, these brutally illuminated images in cold green create more doubt than certainty, they approach the point of pure detachment where the subject has gone up in smoke. – From a recent text, the artist himself says: ‘For a while now we find ourselves in a pivotal time where all sorts of artisanal and analogue objects are evolving within a digital visual culture. I see my work as a monument to this pivotal period.’

Date:  2013
Period:  21st century
Origin:  Belgium
Medium: Two color photographs
Signature: Each signed

Dimensions: 48.5 x 28 cm (19¹/₈ x 11 inches)
Literature: Ronny Van de Velde, The Mind of the Artist, Knokke, 2013,
Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints