140113: Bawag Contemporary Michaël Borremans – MAGNETICS

Bawag Contemporary Michaël Borremans – MAGNETICS 23.11.2012 -17.02.2013 “A painting is an illusion, it is just paint on canvas” By Patrick Schabus On one occasion he was in his studio in a suit and started to work on a painting. He felt better able to concentrate when he was wearing a suit. Since then, Michael Borremans always paints wearing a suit because it enables him to work more concentrated and precisely. In particular, because of his habit of locking himself up while he is painting, the act of painting has become a sort of ritual. His style can be likened to that of the old masters – and it makes it just that bit more unbelievable that he is self-taught. He demands of his pictures that they permeate the eye like a scalpel. If one of them does not possess this quality, he doesn't exhibit it, doesn't let it be part of his oeuvres. Drawing is like a dialogue to him - he never completes a drawing in one step and it can last months. But with painting, he knows exactly what a picture should look like. And because of this, he paints his pictures in one or two sessions. Earlier, he used photographs that he found as inspiration for his pictures but latterly, he changed to a different method: now, he photographs models in almost the exact poses that he then paints. Because he doesn't want to use old clothes or present-day articles of clothing, he designs their attire. He doesn't portray people as individuals; they resemble dolls or statues. And because of this, the pictures evoke an undefinable, claustrophobic atmosphere. And even if one finds implicit references to artists such as Velasquez or Goya in some of his works, the meaning is still shrouded behind many veils. One could say that these are nihilistic pictures that leave the observer without answers to questions that could have been answered before the viewing. His works, be they films, drawings or paintings, always remain enigmatic. The answers lie with us, each sees something different in the pictures and therefore many of the works exist as pathways that lead one past them. The observer inevitably becomes an accomplice to Borremans. What he shows us is an open wound in ourselves that will not heal. A wound in all of our eyes. The contents of the pictures remain undefined; it's our viewing pattern that wants to define these contents and inevitably fails. When one moves around the spaces in the BAWAG Contemporary, the pictures ensnare you, don't let you go. A quick walk-through is impossible here because every picture develops its own pull and you can only wander slowly from one to the next. It's a pity that there's no film to be seen here that combines all aspects of Borremans' oeuvres. Unfortunately, this otherwise well worth seeing exhibition only encompasses a partial aspect of the artist who poses the same unanswerable questions both in film and in paintings. Bawag Contemporary 1010 Vienna, Franz Josefs Kai 3 http://www.bawagcontemporary.at Opening hours: daily from 14.00 to 20.00 hours

BAWAG P.S.K. Contemporary
1010 Wien, Franz Josefs Kai 3
Öffnungszeiten: täglich 14-20h

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