Artist: Denie Put
Exhibition title: Fortune Tellers
Venue: Base-Alpha, Antwerp, Belgium
Date: July 23 – August 29, 2020
Photography: We Document Art, all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Base-Alpha, Antwerp
Denie Put describes his own paintings as ‘labyrinths of layers’. This is not exaggerated. On the canvas, he is guided by what his materials offer him. He experiments with a variety of them, ranging from oil paint and acrylic to ballpoint pen, pencils, and paint rollers. More recently, he explores the qualities of ink, which brings a new aspect of fluidity to some of his works. Little ‘mistakes’ and coincidences inspire him to new shapes or ideas. Most of his paintings show an underlying relief or texture, created by many layers of previous attempts and experiments on the canvas.
Recurring elements resembling stone, wooden or metal structures bring a sculptural – sometimes even architectural – character to the paintings. These stable constructions are a focal point in an otherwise open landscape. His play of shadows and illusionistic perspective of fore- and background seem reminiscent of typically surrealistic out-of-place, assembled figures in a dramatically lighted and mysterious landscape. The artist admits being very inspired by surrealists such as Salvador Dalí and Max Ernst, yet also the colourful works by French modernist Fernand Léger are an influence.
Throughout a plethora of influences, Denie creates a unique and contemporary visual language. His works have a general familiar feel to them; they might vaguely remind you of images you have seen before. However, they are open to a very personal experience: depending on your own associations and interpretations, they will carry a new meaning.
Denie is always looking to discover what paint can mean beyond the canvas: for example, by experimenting with painted bell jars, or by adding a mural in the exhibition space. Whether it be canvasses, sculptures, or wall paintings, his entire oeuvre is a continued exploration of the paint – where will it guide him next?
-Tamara Beheydt, 2020