Summer 2020

Michaël Borremans
French Painting

4 July – 16 August, 2020

Patricia Vintage, Henegouwenstraat 75, 9000 Ghent
Baltimore Bloemen, Orgelstraat 6, 2000 Antwerp
Café De Smidse, Dorpsstraat 2, 9667 Horebeke

All three locations are closed store fronts.

Complimentary leaflet will be available with one consumption at Horebeekse Boekhandel (Broekestraat 23, 9667 Horebeke) at just a short walk from Café De Smidse. Open Monday 6:30 – 12:30, Tuesday – Friday 6:30 – 12:30 and 14:00 – 18:30, Saturday 7:00 – 12:30 and 14:00 – 18:00.

(c) Karin Borghouts

Even among the crowds of a gallery or a museum, one always enters a Michaël Borremans painting alone. The artist’s haunted settings, never fully revealed, are portals into a private reality. Anonymous and uncanny, each carefully crafted environment becomes a surface for the viewer’s projections, whether fear, melancholy, or a mysterious joke. In the painting, the viewer sees a reflection: a feeling of estrangement in an unspeakable world.The more time one spends within Borremans’s universe, the more one’s eyes adjust to its darkness. From the shadows emerge complexities, depths, and personal hallucinations otherwise obstructed by daylight. 

For the first time in his oeuvre, Borremans exhibits a photographic work, sown with the colors and qualities native to his paintings and drawings. At the intersection of painting and photography, French Painting is a dye-transfer print created by Borremans and crafted of a laborious and precise technique practiced by few masters worldwide. The print exposes the depths and range of what first appears to be a black background and reveals the intricacies of the image’s reds and greens. Invented in the 1940s and among the earliest methods of full-color photographic printmaking —notably favored by photographer William Eggleston — dye-transfer print is a meticulous color composite of separated negatives, so that each photograph is uniquely made by hand. Each print in an edition is a nuanced variant of the others. This kind of print is routinely touched up by paintbrush for the desired effect, confusing its status as a reproduction.

French Painting hangs now in an isolated space devoid of conventional art hall context or people. The artwork changes with the light of day, with each hour. In order to view French Painting, one need not wait for access to be granted. The work is available any time, and the viewer may return to it often — willingly, by chance, or daily routine but typically alone. While always ‘on display,’ French Painting remains removed from the viewer, separated by a barrier of glass, as if life seen through a window. The viewer is witness to this strange world. Again, the viewer is also inhabitant of a world no less strange.

Katya Tylevich