Forever Today

Reality is not what we see

As soon as we enter the exhibition, the general tone is established, along with the elements required to interpret each of the works. “I’m not what I appear to be”, Djos Janssens proclaims pictorially, forcing the visitor into an effort of perception, as the text painted in acrylic on the white canvas is scarcely legible. Scrupulous attention is a must, imperatively, and not just visually. It is not an oratory precaution, merely a warning to remind us that appearances are deceptive. Always.

The twenty or so paintings brought together for this exhibition, consisting for the most part of new, unseen works, take us through a field of research into printed photographic images that have been revisited by additional text and colour. The framing has also been adjusted so that it strictly defines the subject. If perspicacity is combined with attentive observation, we might also identify one or two artful tricks of positioning.

In this approach, the recourse to photography is the anchor point for what our sight and habits call reality. These paintings of a rare craftsmanship, these photo-paintings, these mirror prints, these mixed techniques or acrylic on canvas are not in fact merely here to be seen. They are to be reflected upon. They arise from our everyday, humdrum, social and architectural environment. Often they are details which go unnoticed and unidentified, part of the spaces which we inhabit and use. Their selection and pictorial treatment, in an aesthetic context which is not devoid of critical appreciation or pointed humour, aims above all to be revelatory and to incite questioning. These appealing images, like bait, truly open our eyes, making us question, revise and re-view. Like poetic engagements, these paintings awaken our tired or sleepy neurones, our stereotypical gazes and our thoughts that have been lazily distracted by the run-of-the-mill. They reinvigorate and reactivate our senses, aroused by a sort of calm irreverence.

Claude Lorent  (exhibition curator)