Guy Mees at Micheline Szwajcer

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Artist: Guy Mees

Venue: Micheline Szwajcer, Brussels, Belgium

Curated by: Lilou Vidal

Date: September 8 – October 22, 2016

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Micheline Szwajcer

Exhibition curated by Lilou Vidal in conjunction with the project Archives at Bureau des Réalités, Brussels.

Galerie Micheline Szwajcer and Bureau des Réalités are pleased to present a solo project dedicated to Guy Mees (1935-2003) featuring works, documents, photographs and videos dating back to the late 1960’s and leading up to his last watercolours on coated paper.

The exhibition at Galerie Micheline Szwajcer constitutes an attempt to trace the path and follow the gaze of an artist who gave the name « Lost Space » (Verloren Ruimte) to his two largest ensembles: the lace works realized between 1960 and 1966 and the reliefs cut out of colored paper pinned to the wall, which he began in 1983.

The selected works presented in the exhibition shed light on the program and poetics of Guy Mees’ unique approach and allow us to better grasp the unfolding of his oeuvre through time.

Thanks to recent archival research and the uncovering of precious photographic material, a group of works which remained unseen since their initial conception and public presentation in 1970* have been reactivated in the gallery space. This ensemble highlights Mees’ specific and non authoritarian intentions regarding notions of seriality, rationalism and industrial material, which were the order of the day at that time.

Indeed, Mees’ working method was modular in essence, allowing permanent structures to become precarious. Each piece could be moved around the room, indicating or revealing the exhibition space, while the “positive” representation of these same structures faced their “negative” counterparts (the metal bars were mirrored by their soft and fragile white felt protective covers).

This gesture follows on from a series of very particular and sensual aluminium objects named “Verloren Ruimte” (Lost Space), whose minimal, geometric shapes were occasionally lit by a neon and covered in a thin layer of lace. Dating from 1960, these pieces also foreshadow a system where inside and outside are combined.

Mutability, fragility and the impermanence of things have always been tangible in each stage of Guy Mees’ practice. From his structuralist work and his specific conceptual process parodying all hierarchical systems to his first works on paper with colored horizontal stripes; from the free expansion of pattern into space (including the series Imaginary Ballets) through to his last colored paper cutouts, the specificity and intricacy of his work reside in the subtitle relationship between construction and randomness, durability and the ephemeral.

–Lilou Vidal

Galerie Micheline Szwajcer wishes to show gratitude to Lotte Boogh, Jason Poirier dit Caulier, the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen and Dirk Snauwaert.

* archival research undertaken in the context of the project Archives at Bureau des Réalités, Brussels. Those works were originally shown in 1970 at X-One gallery in Antwerp by Marc Poirier dit Caulier.

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Guy Mees, Untitled, 1970
Marker, pencil and b/w photographs on paper, 15 x 29,5 cm

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Guy Mees, Untitled, 1970
Marker on paper, 128 x 82 cm (9 parts)

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Guy Mees, Verloren Ruimte, 1987
Yellow paper, 50 x 211 cm

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Guy Mees, 1X (80 x 900 mm, 80 x 800 mm, 80 x 700 mm, 80 x 600 mm, 80 x 500 mm, 80 x 400 mm, 80 x 300 mm, 80 x 200 mm, 80 x 100 mm), 1968-1970

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Guy Mees, 1X (80 x 900 mm, 80 x 800 mm, 80 x 700 mm, 80 x 600 mm, 80 x 500 mm, 80 x 400 mm, 80 x 300 mm, 80 x 200 mm, 80 x 100 mm), 1968-1970

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Guy Mees, 1X (80 x 900 mm, 80 x 800 mm, 80 x 700 mm, 80 x 600 mm, 80 x 500 mm, 80 x 400 mm, 80 x 300 mm, 80 x 200 mm, 80 x 100 mm), 1968-1970

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Guy Mees, 1X (80 x 900 mm, 80 x 800 mm, 80 x 700 mm, 80 x 600 mm, 80 x 500 mm, 80 x 400 mm, 80 x 300 mm, 80 x 200 mm, 80 x 100 mm), 1968-1970

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Guy Mees, 1X (80 x 900 mm, 80 x 800 mm, 80 x 700 mm, 80 x 600 mm, 80 x 500 mm, 80 x 400 mm, 80 x 300 mm, 80 x 200 mm, 80 x 100 mm), 1968-1970

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Guy Mees, 1X (80 x 900 mm, 80 x 800 mm, 80 x 700 mm, 80 x 600 mm, 80 x 500 mm, 80 x 400 mm, 80 x 300 mm, 80 x 200 mm, 80 x 100 mm), 1968-1970

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Guy Mees, 1X (80 x 900 mm, 80 x 800 mm, 80 x 700 mm, 80 x 600 mm, 80 x 500 mm, 80 x 400 mm, 80 x 300 mm, 80 x 200 mm, 80 x 100 mm), 1968-1970

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Guy Mees, 31X (60x60x6 mm) plexiglass, 31X (60x60x6 mm) chome, 1968-1970
Chrome, plexiglass

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Guy Mees, 31X (60x60x6 mm) plexiglass, 31X (60x60x6 mm) chome, 1968-1970
Chrome, plexiglass

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Guy Mees, 31X (60x60x6 mm) plexiglass, 31X (60x60x6 mm) chome, 1968-1970
Chrome, plexiglass

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Guy Mees, 31X (60x60x6 mm) plexiglass, 31X (60x60x6 mm) chome, 1968-1970
Chrome, plexiglass

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Guy Mees, 4X (100x1250x10 mm), 1968-1970
Polished aluminium

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Guy Mees, Verloren Ruimte, 1965
Lace, neon, wood, 73,5 x 50,5 x 10 cm

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Guy Mees, Verloren Ruimte, 1965
Lace, neon, wood, 73,5 x 50,5 x 10 cm

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Guy Mees, Verloren Ruimte, 1965
Lace, neon, wood, 73,5 x 50,5 x 10 cm

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Guy Mees, Untitled, 1978-1979
Pastel on paper
, 232 x 169 cm

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Guy Mees, Untitled, 1978-1979 (detail)
Pastel on paper
, 232 x 169 cm

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Guy Mees, Untitled, 1978-1979 (detail)
Pastel on paper
, 232 x 169 cm

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Guy Mees, Untitled, 1983
Pastel on paper
, 210 x 153 cm

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Guy Mees, Untitled, 1983 (detail)
Pastel on paper
, 210 x 153 cm

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Guy Mees, Untitled, 1983 (detail)
Pastel on paper
, 210 x 153 cm

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Guy Mees, Untitled “het weer is rustig, koel en zacht”, 1976-1979
Pastel on paper
, 126 x 324 cm

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Guy Mees, Untitled “het weer is rustig, koel en zacht”, 1976-1979 (detail)
Pastel on paper
, 126 x 324 cm

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Guy Mees, Untitled “het weer is rustig, koel en zacht”, 1976-1979 (detail)
Pastel on paper
, 126 x 324 cm

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Guy Mees, Verloren Ruimte, 1989
Orange red paper, 182 x 20 cm

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Guy Mees, Verloren Ruimte, 1989
Orange red paper, 182 x 20 cm

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Guy Mees, Verloren Ruimte, 1989 (detail)
Orange red paper, 182 x 20 cm

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Guy Mees, Verloren Ruimte, 1989 (detail)
Orange red paper, 182 x 20 cm

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Guy Mees, Verloren Ruimte, 1989 (detail)
Orange red paper, 182 x 20 cm

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Guy Mees, Watercolors on crystal papers, 1998-2001; Imaginair Ballet, 1998

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Guy Mees, Watercolors on crystal papers, 1998-2001; Imaginair Ballet, 1998

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