Yves Zurstrassen presents his new works at Baronian Xippas in Brussels
Baronian Xippas in Brussels is presenting a solo exhibition of Belgian artist Yves Zurstrassen (b. 1956, lives and works in Brussels) starting September 9th. It’s the first presentation of Zurstrassen's work in Brussels after his solo exhibition Free at BOZAR in 2019.
The exhibition at Baronian Xippas, titled 4 Colors, brings together a new series of works across the two spaces of the Brussels’ gallery. Whereas the main space presents monumental paintings alongside smaller works, the smaller gallery across the street also shows tapestry works for the first time. Zurstrassen presents three smaller tapestry works, but the eye-catcher is an enormous hand-woven tapestry painting measuring 2 meters by 2 meters - which took a year to complete. This new and time-consuming technique provides a surprising translation of the works of this painter, who also previously produced frescoes.
The title of the exhibition refers to the four colors present in the exhibited works: blue, red, yellow and black. Although these are primary, luminous colours, they are incredibly deep and intense, and immediately absorb the viewer into the work.
Zurstrassen's paintings are multi-layered and carefully constructed. He combines collage, decollage and contemporary techniques and thus seeks to achieve the right choreography of form, color and object. He interrogates the material that fascinates him, searching in the movement of his brush, in the plains of roughly sketched shapes and unpolished black to metaphysics in his essential need of painting. Stencils of blank newsprint, produced by a cutting machine connected to a computer, are meticulously and intimately disposed directly onto the fresh, wet paint of the background. The stencil motifs in these "abstract" canvases can come from reality or photographs, but they can also be lyrical and expressive forms drawn from earlier paintings.
This technique results in works that are enigmatically sensual and rhythmically and formally reminiscent of free jazz. The paradoxical effect is that what seems to stand out in the foreground is actually in the background. The memory of the past resurfaces. We recognise volatile floral motifs, but we also encounter abstract forms and amorphous, unrecognisable surfaces.
”Sometimes it feels like I'm not the one painting. It's the painting that determines the path. I just have to determine when we get to the destination."
— Yves Zurstrassen
Yves Zurstrassen was born in Liege in 1956. After studying graphic arts in the late 1970s, Zurstrassen began painting as a self-taught artist. His practice was initially refined and shaped by his visits to artists' studios and exhibitions of painters he looked up to, such as Fernand Léger, Stuart Davis, Willem De Kooning and Mark Tobey. Although Yves Zurstrassen's painting has evolved over the years, a guiding focus runs through his oeuvre: the desire to combine the expressive, painterly gesture, which is intuitive and free, with calculated, precise, mathematical forms.
Numerous solo exhibitions have been devoted to Yves Zurstrassen, notably at Bozar (Brussels, Belgium) and at the Museo de Santa Cruz (Toledo, Spain) in 2019, at the Antonio Perez Foundation (Cuenca, Spain) in 2011, at the Abao Vetus & Ars Nova Museum (Turku, Finland) in 2008, at the MAMAC (Liège, Belgium)... His work has also been shown in group exhibitions, including at the Museum Kurhaus in Kleve (Germany), Musée André Malraux in Le Havre (France), at the Espace Hélène et Édouard Leclerc in Landerneau (France).
9 September - 13 November 2021
Rue Isidore Verheyden 2
& Rue de la Concorde 33