Tom Liekens: Once Upon a Time in the Forest
Annelies Nagels, Jeroen Olyslaegers, Hildegard Van de Velde (Essays)
Cultuurcentrum De Werft, Galerie De Zwarte Panter & Stockmans Art Books, 2023
Belgian artist Tom Liekens (°1977) makes monumental paintings, woodcuts and collages. He is fascinated by the unrealistic way in which fauna and flora are usually presented in paintings, in fairy tales, myths and films.
Tom Liekens’ ‘fairy tales’ take place deep in the forest, far from the civilized world. However, his large woodcuts do not tell children’s stories, but are fairy tales for adults. They are violent or sexual scenes between characters that seem to be somewhere between humans and animals. The spectator feels like a voyeur of a dark dystopian fantasy world that is simultaneously depicted very realistically.
Voyeurism, bestiality, sex, power and violence dominate this magical and mythological world. The fascinating black-and-white paintings by Liekens look both provocative and mysterious.