Vincent Geyskens at M – Museum Leuven

Artist: Vincent Geyskens

Curated by: Eva Wittocx

Venue: M – Museum Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Date: May 28 – September 5, 2021

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and M – Museum Leuven. Photos by Lieven Herreman

Starting 28 May 2021 M Leuven is presenting a new exhibition by Belgian artist Vincent Geyskens.

What is the power and relevance of the image in our contemporary society? That is the central question in the art practice of Vincent Geyskens. In his oeuvre, Geyskens approaches the image from various painterly perspectives, with the aim of sharpening the spectator’s expectations and patterns of observation.

When we look at an image, we see more than just the image itself. Consciously or unconsciously, we place it within a context, we link it to things we are already familiar with. Our interpretation of an image is based on recognition, but also on memories or designations. In painting, Vincent Geyskens has found the perfect vehicle to investigate and question this mode of observation.

In order to question the power of the image, Geyskens makes use of almost all facets of the art of painting. His work ranges from abstraction, in which the materiality and physicality of painting occupy a central position, to figuration, in which Geyskens plays with the recognizability of images.

Vincent Geyskens’ exhibition at M Leuven brings together various series and types of works from the past ten years, supplemented by a number of older reference works. M presents both collages, sketches, paintings on canvas and painted series of frames and thus establishes links between different approaches to painting.

A common thread throughout the exhibition is the frame series: abstract polyptychs of painted frames that call attention to the connections between the image, the carrier and the surroundings. Through the succession of frames, Geyskens creates a certain rhythm. The artist applies large areas of color alternated with empty segments that provide a view of the wall behind.

For his collages, Geyskens’ starting point is existing images that have a clear function as advertisements and campaign images. The erotic or political images that he tears out aim to convince, to excite. By brutally cutting up and folding the image, he makes it his own and creates a distance to the original image. They become new compositions that change our first impression of those images and pictures.
The exhibition also includes a selection from Vincent Geyskens’ numerous drawing books full of quick sketches of nature made during his many walks. These landscape drawings show how he tries to visualize his observations with just a few pencil strokes. Finally, Geyskens’ most recent series of still lifes approaches the image and the juxtaposition of objects from a sober, contemplative perspective.

The exhibition in M presents an overview of Vincent Geyskens’ versatile painting practice. Works and series from different periods are combined and confronted with each other. This allows for an open dialogue between the works, bringing unexpected relationships to the fore.

New monograph

On the occasion of the exhibition, a new publication is published by M Leuven and Mercatorfonds, in a design by Kim Beirnaert. The book contains essays by Dominic van den Boogerd and Eduardo Lamas and a conversation between Eva Wittocx and Vincent Geyskens.