October 1, 2016 - S.M.A.K. - These Strangers... Painting and People
October 1, 2016

S.M.A.K.

Alice Neel, Richard in the Era of Corporation, 1978–79. Oil on canvas, 152 x 114 cm. Estate of Alice Neel.

These Strangers... Painting and People
October 1, 2016–January 8, 2017

S.M.A.K.
Jan Hoetplein 1
9000 Ghent
Belgium
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm

T +32 9 240 76 01
info@smak.be

smak.be
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These Strangers... Painting and People
October 1, 2016–January 8, 2017

S.M.A.K.
Jan Hoetplein 1
9000 Ghent
Belgium
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm

T +32 9 240 76 01
info@smak.be

smak.be
Facebook

"These Strangers, in a Foreign World,
Protection asked of me –
Befriend them, lest Yourself in Heaven
Be found a Refugee"
–Emily Dickinson

These Strangers… Painting and People presents the human figure in the Western painting of the last 40 years. The exhibition is not a survey, but explores the oeuvres of nine artists of different generations who so far have had little or no work shown in Belgian museums. Each of these artists starts out from the tradition of the portrait and has developed her or his own unique vision of how to represent people. This results in portraits that are embedded in the personal, societal, political and cultural environment and the period in which the artists live and work.

In the course of art history, painting has evolved from the application of paint to a support, from a subjective act into a complex and many-branched domain where the personal and the mass produced meet. Nowadays, painters combine handwork with industrial techniques and supplement pure imagination with images appropriated from the media and art.

The painted portrait has developed in a comparable way. It was originally intended to give a true-to-life portrayal of the subject, but it later played a crucial part in the rise of individualism and its expression. A traditional portrait shows a specific person whom the artist has actually met. It is a rendering of someone’s outward appearance, but it also says something about what the person is like and how the artist saw him or her. Portraits enable us to look at and get a sense of others, but our own ideas are reflected too. Portraits express something deep and fundamental that transcends the ordinary and momentary.

In the present network culture, where the self-image is moulded and shaped through the views of others, the internet and social media, portraits are not necessarily the result of real encounters. Artists now have unlimited access to the abundant archives of art history and the visual media on which they can draw and then manipulate, recombine and set these images in new contexts. They no longer sketch the human figure as an individual, but as a metaphor for human existence in our complex globalised world. At the same time, they ask pertinent questions about such concepts as originality, identity, gender, subjectivity and consciousness (of the self).

With works by Nicole Eisenman, Victor Man, Alice Neel, Paulina Olowska, Nicolas Party, Elizabeth Peyton, Avery Singer, Henry Taylor and Katharina Wulff.

Catalogue
On the occasion of the exhibition, a book is being published in collaboration with Roma Publications, Amsterdam. It contains contributions by Bianca Baroni, Kirsty Bell, Iwona Blazwick, Helga Christoffersen, Martin Herbert, Ann Hoste, Jeremy Lewison, Yael Lipschutz, Paulina Pobocha and Monika Szewczyk. The book is designed by Roger Willems.

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