Tim Volckaert: Wall Flowers (edition of 300 signed and numbered copies)
Tim Volckaert, Hans Theys
Tim Volckaert & Stockmans Art Books, 2020
Here and there Volckaert has painted over a part of a reproduction, thereby revealing the composition. I ask him why he has covered the hands of three ladies with red paint. “They’ve got blood on their hands, if you ask me,” he replies. “In my opinion, the arrogance of these renaissance people is responsible for global warming. When you see them posing like peacocks against a landscape backdrop, which represents land they have conquered or acquired in some other way, I take special pleasure in having them swallowed up by the background or smothered by an invasive landscape. I call these works ‘couple pieces’ because I try to re-couple the figures with their surroundings, with the landscape or with the world. Only I don’t know exactly how I’ll do that yet. Having the landscape flow over doesn’t work. Firstly, because you just end up with a pastoral landscape and lose that captivating confrontation. Secondly, the compositions are so well-balanced that they disintegrate if you simply paint the figure out. It’s difficult to tamper with it and at the same time make a good painting.”
I draw the artist’s attention to the reproduction of a painting in which he successfully allowed the female figure to merge with an exquisitely painted background out of which she occasionally seems to reappear. I would really like to see this work in the flesh.
Volckaert: “Maybe I’m looking for something like that. I don’t want to make punk-like, pamphletary works. Sometimes I think of Matisse’s tablecloth that flows into space and forms a sort of backdrop… Sometimes I’m tempted to abstract certain parts. I love abstract art, but somehow we don’t manage to make abstract art that is totally unrelated to some anecdote or story… Sometimes I work with the shape of a jigsaw puzzle. Perhaps that’s a possibility: piece things together.”
So, here we are standing in front of a consistency sustained over the years, which is impressive both in terms of content and form and which can only make us curious about the new forms this ongoing intimacy with ideas, things, techniques and materials will produce in the future.