Walter Swennen exhibits at Xavier Hufkens

Xavier Hufkens presents an exhibition of recent work by Belgian artist Walter Swennen (b. 1946). In his fourth exhibition with the gallery, Swennen continues his playful and experiential journey into the world of language and meaning, appropriation, colour, texture and form. Moving between abstraction and representation, and occasionally executed on found supports, the works explore both the poetic and material aspects of painting.

Swennen takes seemingly random elements — logos, lettering, found images, words and phrases — and transforms them into visually arresting works that tread new ground in terms of composition, colour and technique. As erudite as they are humorous, they often deserve a second look: things are never quite what they seem. Swennen’s approach to painting is intuitive, spontaneous and influenced by everyday life as well as by chance encounters and coincidences.

Swennen’s works are typically devoid of a single perspectival point or compositional framework, such as foreground and background. Nor do they contain any immediately obvious narratives or contexts. Letters, fragments and statements in English, Flemish, French and other languages often infiltrate his canvases: phrases that might either lend significance, form linguistic riddles or possess a double meaning. Free from external anchoring points, the works are self-contained and enigmatic. Yet the more one looks, the more one realises that the act of painting itself — in a physical and material sense — is as important (if not more so) than the objects, images or words themselves. As a result, we invariably start to scrutinise how the works were made: a line of enquiry that speaks volumes about the boundless possibilities of painting.

Walter Swennen 
Un Cœur Pur 
1 March - 13 April 2019
Xavier Hufkens
Rue St-Georges 6,
1050 Brussels

Micha Pycke