This painting is part of a series of twenty paintings completed mainly between 2005 and 2008. These paintings are part of a series of preparatory studies in view of a larger piece that I am presently working on. Working overtime allows me to gradually introduce new elements from other researches that structure the work within the frame of a more global exploratory approach.
This tribute, as others, is first of all a sign of appreciation towards an artist. But it is
also the slow evaporation of Painting (with its references, its history) which, little by little discloses the core influences that appear in their full complexity.
Philippe Guérin, 2016
In my work, references are numerous but never straightforward. References are being dragged in a long production process, from which they surface changed, shifted and added with other experiences. The work of the unconscious plays its part; and passionate -and sometimes meticulous- observation in museums completes it. Then happens a sort of slow evaporation of the Painting just beneath the surface, both obvious and intangible.
Thus, the discovery in 1985 of a small pièta from Rogier Van Der Weyden at the Oldmasters Museum of Bruxelles, had aroused my admiration before the daring of a shortened cross and the fineness of the spatial arrangement of the characters' feet and hands. Paying tribute to this painting in my exhibition at ULB required a long preparation work and led me to see or see again many of Rogier Van Der Weyen's paintings, preserved in Northern Europe museums.
However, this tribute to Rogier Van Der Weyen untitled “Mollusks and Vertebrates”, evokes the model's life, a thirty three years old man suffering AIDS. It is not the Flanders of former/ancient Netherlands that my painting reveals most but more my teenager emotion in front of the scenes of The Scio Massacres of Eugène Delacroix, the delicateness of a foot painted by Botticelli, or remembrance of a glazed paper children book, often browsed to discover seafloor wonders.
Painting starts with a background, ends with a surface and in between, I compress time.
Philippe Guérin, 2002
Exhibited at the ULB, this tribute to a Rogier Van Der Weyen's pièta was to reveal afterward other influences which would come to the surface like as many psychoanalytical pictorial processes.