Paintings by the East Belgian artist Yann Freichels are on show in Berlin for the first time. The Saarländische Galerie, in cooperation with the representation in Berlin of East Belgium, is presenting them at its premises from June 14 to July 30, 2022.
Image above: Yann Freichels, 2022, Untitled, Oil on canvas, 2022, 211,5 x 170 cm, © Y. Freichels
Yann Freichel’s paintings initially appear to transport us to a familiar, recognizable world: they show human figures often so large as to seem crammed into the spaces portrayed, filling the format. On closer inspection, everyday objects, words, sentences, and puzzling, somewhat irritating compositions come to light. Yann Freichel’s paintings are complex, collage-like compositions, inspiration for which he finds in the history of East Belgium – a country delimited by three international borders – as well as in literature, language, the stuff of daily life, and current events. Stylistically, the pictorial spaces packed to capacity and the elongated limbs of the figures in his work evoke expressionist gestures, such as are to be found in the paintings of Otto Dix or Max Beckmann. But Freichels also cites Kippenberger, Courbet, and the contemporary artist Claire Tabouret as sources of influence.
“My works are provoked by everyday scenes that unfold either in my native country (a predominantly German-speaking and forested rural region, enclosed by three countries), in Liège (the city where I live), or in any other place where I meet people or discover stories.YANN FREICHELS
In my paintings, people, objects, landscapes and words either occupy space or disappear … I ‘erase’ them or paint over them, so traces remain under the material and the paint. To my mind, these traces, places, objects and people are the outlines of a shared civilization and common heritage.
For me, objects and elements are like the tales people pass on about their movements, about the history of ordinary people and not just History with a big H; tales of a thought, a flag, bottles and cigarettes … take on symbolic value. The various figures and objects that I personally remember or am told about spin a ‘guiding thread’, a source of creative tension between me and the work at hand.
Be it a painting or a drawing, I try to preserve in my work the plastic and concrete reflections, emotions and thoughts that led me to gradually construct it.
My works to date are each a very particular means of pursuing social or historical research shaped by my own experience or by the quotidian scenes and traditions, fact or fiction, that are handed down to us. Hoards of old magazines, photographs, objects and records likewise support me in my research.The works are essays about today’s society and its history, and about the background to that history.”
Opening: Tuesday, 14. June 2022, from 7:00 pm
Exhibitiondates: Wednesday, 15. June to Saturday, 30. July 2022
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 2 – 6 pm
Saarländische Galerie – Europäisches Kunstforum